The first statewide pheasant increase in more than six years is forecast for this year according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Mild weather is credited for the expected increase.
“This is the best combination of winter and spring weather we’ve seen for ground nesting birds since 2003. Over the last 50 years we’ve seen similar weather conditions to this past winter and spring about six times and the average increase in pheasant populations those years was 42 percent,” said DNR wildlife biologist Todd Bogenschutz.
Bogenschutz says that model is correct about 80 percent of the time.
The expected increase follows five severe winters that have depleted habitats in some grassland areas.
“The favorable spring will allow upland bird populations to expand and reoccupy available grassland habitats where they have been depleted over the last five severe winters,” said Bogenschutz.
The DNR will post updated pheasant numbers to its website around September 15 at www.iowadnr.gov.