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Pheasant season said to be mixed

by Darwin Danielson

Reports say Iowa's biggest hunting season ended with mixed results. Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz says surveys showed the pheasant population was down a bit -- and that led to inconsistent hunting. He says he figured it would be kind of spotty and he says that's the feedback he's gotten. He says some hunters had success, some didn't. Bogenschutz expects the pheasant harvest to be under one-million birds. He says he'd estimated there'd be 800 to 900-thousand roosters harvested, and he says based on the feedback, he thinks it will be around 800-thousand. The D-N-R will conduct a survey in May and June that will give determine if his predictions are correct. He says the snowsnow that hit the state in the last days of the hunting season helped push the birds into the open. He says the snow filled in a lot of cover and he had a lot of calls about birds being out in the open. He says the snow may've killed some birds. Rainy spring weather was on factor cited for the lower bird populations this year. Bogenschutz says the freezing rain that's predicted for the next few days could make a dent in next year's pheasant hunt. He says it "could have a pretty big impact on them." He says the birds can dig down through the snow to get food, but they'd have trouble if we get a quarter to a half inch of ice. The D-N-R won't know how much the weather has impacted the pheasant population until it conducts it's annual roadside survey in the spring.

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