There is concern across many western pheasant strongholds, from South Dakota to Minnesota and, most especially, Iowa. Concern regarding drought and extreme cold; dwindling CRP acreage; and, of course, bird populations in a state of flux.
As Iowa pheasants have declined, predictably so too have Iowa pheasant hunters. However, could the rooster population finally be stabilizing—or even recovering?
Positive signs include Iowa's 2012 roadside pheasant survey, which marked an increase in the population estimate for the first time since 2005. It was a 16-percent boost over 2011's record low index.
More recently (and better yet), Iowa's just-released 2014 roadside survey reveals 17.4 birds/route--an impressive 151-percent increase over the 2013 estimate and the highest index since 2008.
According to Pheasants Forever, based on these numbers Iowa hunters can be expected to harvest 200,000-300,000 pheasants.
What do you think: Is this just a lucky blip or is Iowa's pheasant population back on track?