ROCHESTER - Minn. - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources expects a decline in pheasant populations because of the snow. Under the thick layers of snow, pheasants are having a difficult time accessing their food sources. "This deep snow cover has buried all food for quail and most of it for pheasants," said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Areas with good winter cover adjacent to food plots are likely the spots where we'll see better survival. Landowners managing for pheasant and quail should include food plots as part of their strategy."
A lower pheasant population is bad news for pheasant hunters like Jeff Minske at Minskie and Dickie's Custom Fishing Rods in Rochester. He thinks the weather over the next week or two will make or break this year's population. He's hopeful it will turn around. "We were driving the other day and we saw a hen pheasant along the side of the road, so that's something. We still have a chance and we have to hope for that chance."
Pheasant hunting season runs between October and January in Minnesota and Iowa.