Iowa – Much Needed Break in Winter Leads to 63% Increase

Forecast: Iowa finally saw a break in the harsh winter weather pattern seen in recent years with only 17” of snowfall during the 2011/12 winter, which is 31% below average. The mild winter and early spring warmth should have brought quail, pheasants, partridge and cottontails through the winter in excellent condition with little overwinter mortality, reports Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologists for the Iowa DNR.

Approximately 9,436 quail hunters harvested 4,539 quail during the 2011-12 quail hunting season. Roadside counts showed quail numbers had declined 3% over 2012 estimates. This was by the severe winter of 2010-11 across Iowa’s southern quail range, as such the decline in hunter harvest was expected.

This year’s statewide bobwhite quail numbers from roadside surveys increased 63% over 2011 counts and averaged 0.4 quail/survey route. This year’s index is above the 2010 count and identical to the 2002 count, a year before the boom of 2003. This count is just below the 10 year average of 0.6 birds per route.

The premiere quail hunting areas of Iowa can be found across the south-central region of Iowa. A distribution map of quail hunting prospects can be found on the Iowa DNR’s website.

Season Dates: October 27, 2012 through January 31, 2013
Daily Bag Limit: 8
Possession Limit: 16
Field Notes: Iowa Pheasants Forever (PF) and Quail Forever (QF)’s 105 chapters recently launched a statewide partnership with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to reverse Iowa’s pheasant and quail population declines. PF and QF chapters, PF and DNR employees and private landowners will utilize a blend of public and private land initiatives to create the quality habitat necessary to accelerate population rebounds during times of ideal weather conditions and mitigate significant population declines during times of habitat loss and severe weather conditions. Find out more HERE.

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