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Pheasant Hunting in Iowa is Part of Thanksgiving Tradition
Posted: November 23, 2004

DES MOINES - The Thanksgiving tradition means more than just a big meal with family. In many homes, it means heading out to hunt Iowa's number one game - the ringneck pheasant.

"Thanksgiving is the second busiest weekend for pheasant hunting and we will have a lot of hunters going out for the first time," said Rod Slings, recreation safety program supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). "These hunters need to know the new blaze orange requirement for hunting upland game birds - pheasants, ruffed grouse, quail, Hungarian partridge and woodcock."

Hunters can fulfill the new blaze orange requirement by wearing a hat, cap, vest coat, jacket, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls that are at least 50 percent solid blaze orange. Slings encouraged hunters to talk about safety while sitting around and discussing the hunt.

"The goal of every hunt is to enjoy the experience with your fellow hunters and to return home safely at the end of the day. Think about who you hunt with. It's your friends and family. Hunting in a safe manner should be at the top of the pre-hunt checklist," Slings said. "Make a hunting plan outlining everyone's role, where you will be hunting, and when you will return. Plan the hunt, and hunt the plan."

Slings said shooting outside the zone of fire and swinging on a flushing rooster are two major sources of pheasant hunting injuries.

"It can be pretty exciting when a rooster bursts out with their cackle. It is an exciting time, but hunters need to keep their emotions in check," he said.

So far, the DNR has investigated one hunting related injury during the 2004 pheasant season.

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