Glad you had a good time. Not trying to be a downer at all here, but with a 3:1 rooster:hen ratio, it seems to me you were most likely seeing primarily pen-raised birds. If you expected wild birds (and assuming you guys & your dogs know what you're doing), it sounds like their wild bird numbers aren't good. But....at least you had some shooting & got over 1/2 way to your limits (which wouldn't be bad for this time of year, in Iowa, on wild birds). Now, if you paid for preserve hunting, I'd think you ought to at least be able to fairly easily SEE a limit's worth of roosters. Sounds like you only saw about 40 total. If you'd shot 30 wild birds, you'd have seen way more than 10 out of range this time of year. Again, not trying to make light of your experience, just offering my thoughts. I'm sure it was fun either way. You know what they say about the worst day pheasant hunting.
I'm no expert on when preserve &/or pay-to-play operators release birds, but if they've got many hunters coming through there, my guess would be the majority had been released quite recently. Yes, I believe the outfitter is the one releasing them, as to my knowledge the IDNR doesn't do that, particularly on private land. According to PnM's website, they do offer preserve hunting, so I'm sure that by law they have to release at least as many birds as get shot as part of "preserve" hunts. At least that's what South Dakota law is. I'm sure Iowa is similar.So A5 if these are pen raised birds, in your opinion, when would they have been released? Early in season or a day or two prior to our arrival? Also do you believe the "outfitter" is the one releasing them, or is this something the DNR is doing? We have never encountered pen raised so just trying to get a handle on everything. Thanks for your input....and yes it still was fun
Or, they "supplemented" their wild stock - heavily. Again, in early/mid December, whether in IA or SD, there's simply no way to shoot 30 roosters, only see 10 others missed or out of range, and only 13 hens. Unless, of course, most of the roosters were released.If you paid for a wild bird hunt they were wild birds.