Iowa’s pheasants weathering long winter

A rooster is spotted in rural Butler County scrounging for food. MONICA EDEKER/HAMPTON CHRONICLE

Piling snow and heavy winds could have an impact on a key member of Iowa’s wildlife.

Jordan Hansen, Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officer whose jurisdiction includes Franklin County, said that this winter has posed a number of issues to the area’s pheasant population. He said that mortality numbers won’t be known for a few months, but dense snow and farther distances needed to find food sources may have some impact.

While the winter has been long and a few feet of snow is on the ground in some places, Hansen said that quick eye tests and a concentrated effort to introduce more CRP ground to the area shows that the birds are navigating the conditions.

“There’s going to be some impact but the last couple years, one nice thing has been that we’ve had a number of people putting property back into CRP, which is why we’ve seen an increase (in pheasant population),” he said. “We have more habitat, more than we’ve had in the last 10 years, so it won’t be as bad. We’re still seeing some good numbers out there feeding every day and it’s a good sign we’re still seeing birds.”

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