Annual Survey of Upland Game Begins In Iowa August 1
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) annual survey of upland game populations will soon be under way with state wildlife biologists and conservation officers driving more than 200, 30-mile routes statewide from August 1-15.
The August Roadside Survey, as it is called, is the DNR’s main tool for determining whether the fall pheasant populations will be up or down from the previous year, says Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the DNR.
Routes start at sunrise on mornings with heavy dew and are run primarily on gravel roads because of their lower traffic volume. A heavy dew causes hen pheasants to move their broods to the gravel roadsides to dry off before feeding, allowing them to be counted easily. Routes are run over the same roads each year so that the information is comparable with previous years.
According to Bogenschutz, this survey is the best indicator of what hunters will find when they take to the field this fall.
“Historically, when the roadside counts are compared to the small game harvest figures, they parallel each other nicely,” said Bogenschutz. However, since the survey depends on heavy dew for consistent results, hot dry weather in August can affect the results. “The birds do not come to the roads as consistently in dry years, which makes the counts more variable,” he said.
Final results of the survey will be compiled in late August and will be posted on the DNR’s website in early September. Small game hunters interested in this year’s counts can log on to the DNR’s webpage http://www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/app/roadside/ and receive an e-mail notification when the roadside results have been posted.