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Blizzard Covers Iowa Pheasant and Quail Food, Habitat

This news story was published on December 26, 2012.
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From the Iowa DNR.

From the Iowa DNR –

A blizzard was not the way Iowa’s pheasant and quail wanted to start winter.

About half of Iowa received 6 to 12 inches of wet heavy snow that collapsed most “grassy” cover.  The cover that did not collapse was drifted full of snow from the high winds.

“This was a bad storm for upland game birds,” said Todd Bogenschutz, state upland game biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.  “It’s very likely we saw some bird mortality with this blizzard.”

Winter snowfall from December 1 thru March 31 is a good predictor of whether upland bird populations will increase or decrease the following year, and to have upwards of one foot of snow only 20 days into December does not bode well for pheasants, said Bogenschutz.

“Iowa had only 17 inches of snow last winter. Parts of Iowa are close to that total already with this first storm,” he said.

Iowa’s pheasant and quail populations were decimated by five consecutive winters of 30-50 inches of snow from 2007 thru 2011.  The winter of 2011-12 with only 17 inches of snow led to the first increase in pheasant numbers in years.

“Upland bird hunters were hopeful this winter would also be dry and mild to speed a population recovery.  Let’s hope there are no more storms like this for the rest of the winter,” Bogenschutz said.

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2 Responses to Blizzard Covers Iowa Pheasant and Quail Food, Habitat

  1. Avatar

    Bobby G Reply Report comment

    December 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Trying to find somthing to blame the small numbers on. Start with the farmers plowing everything clear up the ditch. And for all the pesticides there using. We have had a lot worse winters before this.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymouse Reply Report comment

    December 26, 2012 at 9:52 pm

    I miss CRP.