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2011 Pheasant Harvest Tops 100,000 Roosters

The 2011 Iowa pheasant harvest reflected what the roadside counts had predicted, that the population was down after five winters with above average snowfall followed by five wetter than normal springs.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources estimates that 109,000 roosters were harvested during the 2011 hunting season, the lowest since standardized estimates began in 1962.  Harvest was highest in the northwest region, followed by central and southwest.

The harvest estimate is based on a random survey of hunters. The survey is used by the DNR to estimate the number of hunters pursuing small game, hunter effort by species and harvest.

The survey collects data on quail, cottontail rabbit, squirrel, partridge, and mourning dove, in addition to pheasants.

According to the survey, an estimated 57,285 mourning doves were harvested during Iowa’s inaugural mourning dove hunting season.

Predictions for Iowa’s 2012 pheasant population and season forecast will be issued based on the upcoming August roadside survey that will take place Aug. 1-15, on more than 200, 30-mile routes.

Weather patterns this past winter and spring suggest Iowa will see its first significant increase in pheasant numbers in 6 years.

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