Pheasant hunting opens this weekend across the state, and area hunters will likely learn quickly where the birds are – or most likely where they aren’t. State Conservation Officer John Mertz tells KNIA/KRLS he fears it may be a poor season based on the counts conducted by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“[It’s] going to be hard to find them, but there are pheasants out there – and you might find some pockets out there where there might be some pheasants – but overall in Marion County I think it’s going to be a pretty poor opener,” Mertz said.
Mertz adds that multiple years of cold winters and wet summer, along with a reduction of habitat for pheasants has contributed heavily to lower populations.
“So it’s not only the hard winters, but we’re also losing a lot more CRP ground out there in Marion County,” adds Mertz. “So you’ve got habitat and weather, and it’s very devastating to the pheasant population.”
Pheasant season runs from Saturday through January 10th, 2010. Shooting Hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. with a daily bag limit of three rooster pheasants.