IOWA — A census of Iowa’s game population shows the bird hunting should be good this fall, if you’re a good enough shot to bag your limit. The Iowa DNR on Tuesday reported the results of their annual August roadside survey and the news is good for hunters: if you had good hunting last fall you should again this year as well.
The surveys are conducted each August on cool, dewy mornings. Birds dislike the wet conditions and will bring their broods to roadsides to dry off, according to the DNR. Staff drive at 10-15 mph down more than 200 different 30-mile gravel routes – counting the birds they see as they pass.
This year’s survey found the ring-necked pheasant population statistically unchanged (down 4%) from last year. Hunters reported one of the biggest harvest of birds in years in 2021, so logic follows that a similar count this year will lead to similar hunting. The biggest gains in pheasant population were seen in southeastern and east-central Iowa, according to the report.
There was also a major increase in the quail population. “Pheasant hunters should have good to excelling hunting this fall given the 2022 counts are similar to last year and given the success hunters reported last year, while quail hunting should be much improved from last year,” the report summizes.
The surveyors looks for ring-necked pheasants, bobwhite quail, gray partridge, cottontail rabbits, and white-tailed jackrabbits.
Rooster pheasant season and Bobwhite quail season both begin on October 29th in Iowa. The Iowa DNR’s website has more details on season, tags, licenses and safety requirements.