Tomorrow, Oct. 28th at 8am is the opening of Iowa’s 2017 pheasant hunting season.
“Hunters can expect to find similar bird numbers to last year, but the October rain has our harvest running behind schedule so opening weekend may not be as successful as years past,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “However, a late harvest could lead to success later in the season.”
According to the Iowa DNR Results from the statewide August roadside survey indicate higher pheasant numbers were found in a line of counties stretching from northwest to southeast, but birds are available everywhere quality habitat is found. Bogenschutz said he expects almost a repeat of 2016 pheasant season, where hunters harvested about 250,000 roosters.
WHERE TO HUNT
The Iowa DNR’s online hunting atlas lists nearly 700,000 acres of public hunting land, including more than 20,000 acres of land enrolled in the popular Iowa Habitat for Access Program (IHAP) allowing hunter access to private land.
Each area on the atlas includes a link to a map with property boundaries, the size of the area, habitat type, species of wildlife likely found, if nontoxic shot is required and more. The map is available as a downloadable pdf that can be printed or saved to a smartphone.
To view the atlas, go to www.iowadnr.gov/hunting and click on Places to Hunt and Shoot in the left column.
RULES FOR HUNTING
There are no new regulations this year.
- Shooting hours are 8-4:30 daily. Hunters are required to wear one piece of blaze orange of which at least 50 percent must be solid color.
- Hunters may harvest three rooster pheasants each day with a possession limit of 12.
- Hunters may harvest eight quail of either sex each day with a possession limit of 16.
- When transporting pheasants, either a fully feathered head, fully feathered wing or foot must remain attached for identification purposes.
SAFE HUNTING TIPS
Hunters heading to the field for the opening weekend of pheasant season are encouraged to review safe hunting practices before they head out.
- Iowa law requires hunters to wear at least one of the following articles of visible, external apparel with at least 50 percent of its surface area solid blaze orange: hat, cap, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, shirt or coveralls.
- Hunters should stay in communication with each other and stay in a straight line while pushing a field.
- Discuss the hunting plan that spells out how the hunt will take place, each person’s role in the hunt and where each person will be at all times.
- Know exactly where standers will be located, especially when hunting standing corn or tall switch grass to avoid having the standers get shot by the pushers as they near the end of the field and the birds begin to flush.
- Make sure to unload the gun when crossing a fence or other obstacle to avoid it accidentally discharging.
- Properly identify the target and what is beyond it especially if hunting in fields that still have standing corn.
- If hunting with a dog, never lay a loaded gun against a fence. Hunting dogs are usually excited to be in the field and could knock the gun over causing it to discharge.
- Share the hunt. Take someone new along to help keep Iowa’s great hunting tradition alive.
Thank you to the Iowa DNR for the valuable resources and information on hunting season. For more information you can check out their website here.
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