State wildlife officials say they're encouraged by a recent survey which shows Iowa pheasant numbers are the highest they've been in more than 6 years. Iowa DNR Biologist Todd Bogenschutz says the annual roadside count recorded a statewide average of 17 birds per 30 mile route compared to just 7 last year.
He says the numbers are surprising given the cool and wet spring, "I've got my fingers crossed, we've got good brood stock and I think think the hunters will be happy."
Bogenschutz says he believes part of the reason for the higher numbers is excess moisture which forces the birds out along the road to dry their feathers. In the past two years, it was extremely dry, so the birds stayed hidden and weren't counted. Numbers of quail, cottontail rabbits and Hungarian partridge are also up.