WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Snowy March Hurts IA Pheasants in 2013

Apr 10, 2013

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources had predicted that 2013 might be a year for the state’s low pheasant population to continue recover.

Recent weather makes that prediction unlikely.

In early march the Iowa DNR said that if  snowfall that month was mild, or even average,  pheasant populations would likely rise across the state.

Credit http://www.iowadnr.gov/

This March was the coldest since 1975 and the snowiest since 1998.

Todd Bogenschutz is an upland biologist withe DNR and monitors pheasant populations statewide.

He said there is still a possibility pheasant  numbers could go up, but it’s not likely when looking at total snowfall  for the winter.

"When we have 19 inches or less usually we almost always see the pheasant counts go up, when we have 31 or more they almost always go down. After this march we were right at 31," Bogenshutz said.

Bogenshutz said with a optimal conditions, a warm and dry spring, pheasant numbers may hold steady or have just a slight increase.

Pheasant populations have fallen by 80 percent from the mid 90’s. Bogenshutz says much of that decrease is due to weather, including a string of particularly harsh winters from 2007-2011.