2017 Iowa Roadside Survey

watermen

New member
Pheasants seem to be in trouble! Nothing severe happened in Iowa to wreck the hatch that I know of. The count almost always sets the precedent for harvest trend. It's very frustrating somewhere we fell off a cliff, big time. If last year and year before are modern peaks in the Midwest, It sucks.
 

IsThisHeaven?

New member
There is talk that drought conditions contributed to the significant declines/low counts but I am skeptical of that. I live in central Iowa. I have been out and about most Saturdays and Sundays early in the morning running the dog all spring and summer. I had heard talk of an increase in bird numbers over last year but that is not what I had seen anywhere in this area. My gut feeling was similar numbers to last year to a slight decrease but who knows anymore. Either way I will be out there hunting the birds that are there.

http://www.iowadnr.gov/About-DNR/DN...easant-hunters-should-expect-a-repeat-of-2016
 

McFarmer

Member
I obviously can't speak for all of NW Iowa but my local area is up over last year. I'll talk to the local guys but I think this area will be up.
 

watermen

New member
I've seen a lot of habitat in Iowa the last few years without any appreciable numbers of birds. I expect birds to be down in KS as well, more empty habitat.
 

IsThisHeaven?

New member
I obviously can't speak for all of NW Iowa but my local area is up over last year. I'll talk to the local guys but I think this area will be up.
That's good news. Where are we meeting on the opener....��

It is good to hear there are pockets of good numbers somewhere in Iowa.
 

UGUIDE

New member
Here's why you got to know more than what the percent decline or increase is in a state survey

ROADSIDE SUMMARY
Statewide, Iowa saw mostly a below average winter and a wetter than normal spring in 2017. Iowa’s
weather model predicted numbers unchanged to slightly down, while this year’s roadside counts showed pheasant
(-30%) and quail (-23%) were both down sharply from last year. This year’s roadside count is in stark contrast to
field staff and landowner reports. In the quail range quail are being reported everywhere, while pheasant broods
sightings are up statewide. Iowa suffered through a mid-summer drought that coincided with this year’s roadside
counts. This created poor dew conditions during the survey and led to an “inaccurate” count this year.
Both pheasant and quail numbers are expected to be similar to or better than 2016. This fall could be the
best quail hunting Iowa hunters have seen in almost 30 years. Pheasant hunters reported very good success last
year and with similar bird numbers hunters should enjoy good success this coming fall.
 

McFarmer

Member
Lack of dew may have kept the birds off the road during the road count
This is a good possibility, I'll ask the local DNR guys.

That's good news. Where are we meeting on the opener....��

It is good to hear there are pockets of good numbers somewhere in Iowa.
Here in the lakes area there is a butt ton of public. Crowding generally isn't a problem.

And, most of mine is in the IHAP program for at least one more year. But then it's out.
 

IA at heart

New member
Let me start by saying I am a huge supporter of the DNR, not a DNR basher at all.

If I recall correctly, last year the roadside counts were down +/- 14% yr over yr. The DNR put out a press release that barely mentioned the decline but instead postured their entire release on "the bird numbers are there, the hunters are not." If we just had more hunters we would be able to bag 300k+ birds.........

This year, the roadside counts are down +/- 30% yr. over yr. and the posture is "not enough dew" for an accurate count.

Three years ago, I believe the counts were up and the press release shouted to the world "the counts are up, the birds are back."

The correlation between the roadside counts and the bird numbers/birds harvested are remarkably tied together over the last 30 years or so; statistically significant and reliable. The DNR has many times stated the reliability of their counts in predicting bird/harvest numbers.

Yet, the last couple of years the "spin" has been put on this report so much so that if you dont read it twice and really dig into the detail, you may not get the full story.

All that said, I will be out hunting this fall regardless. I wont bag a lot of birds, regardless of the counts. But, I will enjoy my time out there, get a rush seeing them and my heart will race like a kid again with a cackle at my feet :) Looking forward to it.
 

joec

New member
I'm not trying to hammer the Iowa DNR but don't you have to look in the mirror and ask yourself is this the best methodology to predict pheasant population. If there is no better way to count? If not then should we use our time and budget in another way to help increase the population.

Based on the weather, the pheasant population should be going up. Over the last decade, the winters have been milder especially in January. The overall snow and ice depth\pack appears to be much less based on the warm January temps. The late March snowfalls we do get only last a day or so. The widespread Iowa floods have decreased in the last 9 years. True there has been localized flooding in parts of the state. I don't believe we have had widespread flooding since 2008. So why are the numbers decreasing? Increased predation, reduced habitate. Is there a smoking gun, so to speak.
 
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