Birds in Iowa, We Just Couldn’t Get ‘Em
If one had to guess which of the three states so far on Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip – Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa – has produced the most flushes, most would guess Kansas or Nebraska, right? But it was Iowa today that yielded the best aerial show so far.
The day began in Lyon County at the Venenga Wildlife Area near Little Rock, which was actually the first donated property Pheasants Forever ever received in Iowa. A beautiful parcel, but no birds today.
With a tip and a little man and dog power boost from Jared Elbert, Pheasants Forever’s area Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist, and Ann Byers, the local Resource Conservationist for the Natural Resources Conservation Service – both avid pheasant hunters – we headed east to try a few public wildlife areas in Osceola County.
What we found was great public grassland habitat, interspersed with food plots provided by the local Osceola County Pheasants Forever chapter, and more ringnecks than we expected. A lot more.
Unfortunately for us, it was one of those afternoons that drive dogs wild and pheasant hunters mad. With a 30 mile per hour wind and the home habitat advantage, these pheasants made herding cats look like a more worthwhile endeavor. Birds poured out of thickets, they poured out of the food plots and they poured out of the grass all at safe, check that, extremely safe distances.
After a couple hours of being put through the ringneck ringer, we headed back to the truck. With the northwest wind pounding our backs on the mile walk back to the truck, we’d put our proverbial tales between our legs. And wouldn’t you figure, that’s when the last rooster put his tail in the path of Andrew and Jared’s guns.
While Iowa has seen very unkind weather for pheasants the last five years, where exceptional habitat still exists, birds can be found…distances, however, may vary.
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