Hunter success in Iowa's 2012 pheasant season opener followed what the roadside survey predicted. Better bird numbers were in northwest Iowa and few birds were seen in southern Iowa, but by and large, conservation officers found hunters were encouraged, but not satisfied, with their opening weekend hunt.
"The general consensus is that the opener was good compared to the past few years," said Mark Gulick, northwest Iowa district wildlife supervisor for the DNR. "Pressure on public land was moderate to extremely high on Saturday and considerably lower on Sunday. Harvest was fair to good; many groups reported about one bird per person with several groups reporting limits, some by mid morning."
Success was not as good in southeast Iowa.
"We had more hunters out than in recent years but bird numbers did not meet expectations," said Bill Ohde, southeast Iowa district supervisor for the DNR. Other reports from southeast Iowa hunters found a slight improvement in some counties but closer to Missouri there were fewer birds.
In central Iowa, more hunters were on public wildlife areas and most were pleased with the numbers of pheasants they saw over last year, said Rick Trine, central Iowa district wildlife supervisor for the DNR.
"Most groups had shot a few birds with about an average of one bird per hunter. A couple groups did have limits. Overall, I think most were happy with the weather and the opportunity to get out and work the dog and see some pheasants," Trine said.
Iowa's pheasant season continues through Jan. 10, 2013.