Roadside Survey

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Wow, still no comments from you Iowegians or IA hunters on the Roadside Survey? Either you're playing them real close to the vest, or nobody plans to hunt IA this year. Maybe I will!!
 

Matt D

Active member
Wow, still no comments from you Iowegians or IA hunters on the Roadside Survey? Either you're playing them real close to the vest, or nobody plans to hunt IA this year. Maybe I will!!

Looks like the old saying of “go west young man” applies to IA and pheasant hunting with an addition of north thrown in. Based on the weather I thought the report read pretty good. Got me thinking maybe worth a stop for a few days on the way to SD???
 

A5 Sweet 16

Well-known member
Looks like the old saying of “go west young man” applies to IA and pheasant hunting with an addition of north thrown in. Based on the weather I thought the report read pretty good. Got me thinking maybe worth a stop for a few days on the way to SD???
Hell, it looks pretty good. Just stay in Iowa! :p
 

bellahunts

New member
I took a scouting trip from IL 3 weeks ago to the Northwest area and it seemed like I was seeing more birds than the last 3 or 4 years. Survey seems to confirm that. If the harvest comes out early opening weekend should be a lot of fun.
 

watermen

Member
Looks like the ice storm on top of the snow did a typical number on my area. It was bad for awhile, evidently too long.
 

Matt D

Active member
I took a scouting trip from IL 3 weeks ago to the Northwest area and it seemed like I was seeing more birds than the last 3 or 4 years. Survey seems to confirm that. If the harvest comes out early opening weekend should be a lot of fun.

Talked to a buddy that is an ag lender today in NC/NW Iowa and he is pretty sure harvest will be pretty much wrapped up by the opener unless the rains start and keep the combines out of the fields.
 

nastymcnarf

New member
Iowa had the highest harvest last year than it has in the last decade...a bit over 500K. They are coming back. I lived there for a lot of years after college in the 90's. Had access to some pretty good private land. My Springer at the time was an ace, and I killed a LOT of roosters. Then in the early 2000's tons of CRP came out. One figure I read said the amount of CRP that came out in a 3 year period was enough to make an 8 mile wide stretch of CRP across Iowa from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River. Then ice storm winters of 2001, 2003,...then we had three years in a row (can't remember specifically off hand the span) where we averaged 30 inches of snowfall per winter. It was like turning off a faucet. I would walk all day for a or a couple shots...maybe. I went entire season without shooting a limit one year.

Now...several years ago I moved back to my home state of SD and life is good again. BUT!...as is my luck...my buddies still in NE Iowa have been sending me pics the last couple years of "easy limits". The birds aren't back to one million plus harvests levels of the 90's...when Iowa and SD were always neck and neck. But they might be sooner than later. Either way...it's been getting harder to convince them make the 6 hour drive to my house in SD. They get their birds most of the time in Iowa. AND...the OOS hunters haven't really figured out Iowa is coming around. Also...Iowa has started to rent out private land IHAP (Iowa hunting access program) like a lot of the programs SD has now...CREP areas, Walk In Areas.

Just sayin'...I'd take a look. I'd take fewer flushes to get my 3 birds with almost no pressure.
 

525 featherlite

New member
I myself hunt alone with three dogs I run two at a time either a wire hair and a springer or a short hair and a springer I’m a traveler I’ve hunted iowa pheasants since the seventies I never go in on other hunters in an area but as the bird numbers rise so does the rudeness of fellow hunters I myself is a die hard I’ll be out there when the cattails are froze and full of snow with temps well below zero because to me it all about the dog work I will shoot some because the dogs need the finding and retrieving work but I don’t need a limit to enjoy the hunt I enjoy walking the habitat with my dogs all day long so if the numbers are down that weeds out a lot of rudeness
 

nastymcnarf

New member
I myself hunt alone with three dogs I run two at a time either a wire hair and a springer or a short hair and a springer I’m a traveler I’ve hunted iowa pheasants since the seventies I never go in on other hunters in an area but as the bird numbers rise so does the rudeness of fellow hunters I myself is a die hard I’ll be out there when the cattails are froze and full of snow with temps well below zero because to me it all about the dog work I will shoot some because the dogs need the finding and retrieving work but I don’t need a limit to enjoy the hunt I enjoy walking the habitat with my dogs all day long so if the numbers are down that weeds out a lot of rudeness
Yeah...I understand the "rudeness" perfectly. But still...still like to feel the gun kick my shoulder a couple times a day. Otherwise...I'd just take a walk.
 

nastymcnarf

New member
This might be a typo. Iowa didn’t even kill 300k birds last year. Now, that’s probably the highest it’s been in a decade but it’s not exactly 1995
Hmmmmm...you're right. The DNR site states clearly "about 300,000"

Strange...I have another source (and I'd have to dig it up) that said the 500K mark. Also...two weeks ago I was watching "The Flush" hunt Iowa and they also claimed the 500K mark so I guess I may have drank a bit of Cool-aide. Now of course...one of these sources is a TV show sponsored with Iowa tourism $$ so they might be taking a few liberties. I'll certainly give you that.

An no...not 1995 to be sure. My best year in Iowa was 1997. My Springer and I took down 68 roosters. After that year you could just watch the decline in count on my calendars. Next year in the 50's...a couple in the low 40's. Then 2001 after massive CRP loss and awful ice storms...21 birds. My NE Iowa harvest declines over 60% in 5 years. Places like WC Iowa faired better.

So I fully agree...not 1995...but gawd it's not 2001.
 

s.davis

Active member
North Dakota, Iowa and Kansas (in that order) were all neck around 300K birds last year. Which says a lot about how bad Kansas and North Dakota are right now, and how much better Iowa is than it has been in a long time. I know younger hunters who have no idea that Iowa used to be a mecca and South Dakota was the second fiddle pheasant destination.
 

nastymcnarf

New member
Yep...Especially in the 70's early 80's. I was just a kid but the horrible blizzards we had in South Dakota...awful. I remember my dad being able to walk from the top of a snow drift to the roof of our garage after one storm. I read a lot of 'Field and Stream' back then and would dream of hunting Iowa fields. I had an older cousin in med. school at U of M. He was a pheasant addict. He never came back home to South Dakota to hunt back then. He got on I-35 out of the Twin Cities and went straight south to N. Iowa. The pictures he showed me left me simply green with envy.

When I got out of college in the 90's, my first job took me to a small town in NE Iowa. The only reason I went back home to hunt South Dakota was to meet up with my college buddies still in the area. Drank a lot of beer and complained about their shotguns being too loud the next day. 🤪 Day before Iowa opener all the local hotels were packed during those years. It could be a zoo. I remember one opener where I was out at 8:00 shooting time. I then had my three birds and was on the road to see my brother play ball by 10:00. It was grand.

Strictly speaking...I'm not sure Iowa will ever fully recover to its glory days unless some form of CRP or similar program returns. The ethanol craze destroyed A LOT of habitat. When corn was at record prices all kinds of marginal cover, patches, creek buffer strips, even fence rows were ripped out just so an extra 5 rows of corn could be planted. AND...the last couple years I lived in Iowa I never saw so much tile being put in fields...more cover lost. Thick fence rows will not be coming back soon nor will any of that other stuff. It's gone.

Iowa is better...buuuuut it will take time and some help to get back to full glory.
 

McFarmer

Active member
Iowa declined a lot when the growing of oats lost favor. Planted in early April, not touched until early August, it really benefited wildlife.
 
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