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Iowa Pheasant Harvest Tips One Million Again
From the Iowa DNR

More than 140,000 hunters harvested 1.08 million pheasants in Iowa last year, which was an increase of 48 percent over the 2002 harvest estimate of 729,000. The numbers are estimates compiled from a survey of licensed small game hunters.

Todd Bogenschutz, wildlife biologist at the DNR's Boone research station, said the forecast of more pheasants last fall was not lost on the hunters.

"We saw a nice increase in the number of pheasant hunters and we also had an increase in the number of non-resident hunters," Bogenschutz said. An estimated 33,000 non-residents hunting pheasant in Iowa last year, mostly from surrounding states. About one third of the pheasant harvest was in northwest and north central Iowa.

The number of Iowa pheasant hunters increased 11 percent and the number of non-resident hunters increased 12 percent. Iowa hunters spent an average of nine days hunting last fall and harvested an average of eight birds. Nonresidents hunted an average of five days and harvested an average of seven birds. Three-quarters of the pheasant harvest happened in the first 31 days of the season.

Most other small game species also showed an increase in the number of hunters and harvest.

Bogenschutz said that nearly 25,000 hunters harvested more than 114,000 quail, which is a 79 percent increase over the 2002 harvest. Most of the quail was harvested in southwest and south central Iowa.

An estimated 4,000 partridge hunters harvested 8,200 partridge, an increase of 60 percent over 2002, but still the sixth lowest partridge harvest in 40 years of keeping records. Hunter numbers were down eight percent from 2002.

The rabbit harvest increased 46 percent over 2002. The 31,600 hunters harvested an estimated 244,000 cottontail rabbits. The number of resident rabbit hunters increased 18 percent, but non-resident hunters declined 35 percent. More than one-third of the rabbit harvest came from central and south central Iowa.

According to the survey, an estimated 326 hunters harvested 738 jackrabbits in 2003. Most of the harvest occurred in northwest Iowa.

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