IOWA – Pheasant hunters in Iowa were a happy bunch in 2021, thanks to the best hunting in more than a decade.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said survey results confirmed 375,000 roosters were taken by hunters in Iowa in 2021. That’s the highest number seen since 2008.

“We had a slight increase in the number of hunters, but a 25 percent increase in the harvest, which tells me that the birds were there and hunters did really well,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist with the Iowa DNR.

The DNR is also encouraged that similar results could be seen in 2022 because of the nesting outlook.

“This year, the weather model is predicting pheasant populations to be stable to slightly increasing for the fall 2022 season, with some regional fluctuations,” said Bogenschutz.

The annual roadside survey, done in August, will give the Iowa DNR an even better idea of populations for pheasants, quail, rabbits, and partridge.