This has always been my favorite time of the year. Fall is perfect in many ways, one of them being because it combines 2 amazing outdoor activities, hiking and shooting. 

Young hunter with dog at sunset
Credit: juliazara

According to a press release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa’s pheasant season is set to start tomorrow, October 29th, and run through January 10th of 2023. Shooting hours will run each day from 8am to 4:30pm. Hunters have a daily bag limit of three rooster pheasants, with a possession limit of 12. Hunters must have a valid hunting license and habitat fee to hunt.

Credit: Jupiterimages

According to the report, the annual August roadside survey found Iowa’s statewide pheasant population was essentially unchanged from 2021 at slightly under 20 birds per 30-mile route.

Based on the survey results, Iowa hunters can expect to harvest 300,000 to 400,000 roosters this year, which is similar to last year, when the harvest was the highest in more than a decade.

The pheasant harvest depends on hunter turnout, the past two years have had big turnouts. An estimated 63,000 hunters in 2021, which was a slight increase over 2020.

Female Ruffed Grouse standing on the forest floor on a frosty fall morning
Credit: SteveOehlenschlager
Female Ruffed Grouse

I always liked hunting for birds. My uncle Kenny had a wonderful pointer (bird dog) named Sadie that I grew up hunting around/with. My father and I would often walk the fence rows and CRPs at home in the fall, scaring up "cubby" quail, doves, and pheasants. This year I look forward to walking a new area outside of Cascade with my oldest daughter and wife on the search for some "ringnecks." If your kids want to go, take them; time spent together, is time well spent.

Common pheasant, Phasianus colchicus
Credit: MikeLane45

Which reminds me; SAFETY FIRST!

Hunters are required to wear at least one article of external clothing with at least 50 percent of its surface area solid blaze orange: hat, cap, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, shirt or coveralls. The same blaze orange rule applies while hunting quail, gray partridge and ruffed grouse.

If hunting on public land, you must always use nontoxic shot/load. And as always, Hunters are encouraged to plan ahead. Make sure to pick up shells/cartridges well in advance. While the supply isn’t as limited as it was for dove loads, it still isn’t overly abundant.

Credit: Jupiterimages
Credit: Jupiterimages

Now that we're geared up check out the Iowa DNR's handy-dandy online hunting atlas. This is the perfect tool to find more than 680,000 acres of public hunting land that is owned by the state, county, or federal governments. This tool also allows hunters to see which zone the public area is in, type of shot allowed, wildlife likely to be found and a chance to get an overhead look at the terrain. The mobile version of the atlas can show hunter location on the area if allowed the necessary permissions.

attachment-Tom Drake Outro

States with the most registered hunters

Stacker analyzed data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to determine which states have the most registered hunters. Read on to see how your state ranks on Stacker’s list.

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