While Iowa’s pheasant season outlook is still not great, is at least not quite as abysmal as it’s been the past few years. But the ongoing drought combined with an early corn harvest means hunters will probably have to concentrate their efforts in whatever stands of native prarie and edge cover that still remain.

From this story on
“…According to Monday’s crop report from the Iowa Department of Agriculture, 72 percent of the state’s corn crop had reached maturity, compared with a five-year average of 25 percent. At the beginning of the week, 10 percent of the crop already had been harvested, three weeks ahead of normal….”The early harvest means there’s a higher possibility that very few stalks still will be standing come pheasant season, which opens Oct. 27. Pheasants traditionally take cover in the rows, but bare fields mean hunters can anticipate the large majority of this fall’s pheasant population to concentrate in grasslands and prairies earlier in the season, said Tim Thompson, wildlife biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

But it’s not just pheasants. It looks like Iowans will also have to fight for a place to shoot a few ducks this year. According to the story, hunters heading out for the state’s early waterfowl season will likely find dried-up depressions where their favorite potholes used to be, which means ducks will not stick around for long. So that’s Iowa, but really, you could replace “Iowa” with virtually any other mid-western or plains state and the song remains the same. How are the upland and waterfowl conditions in your state right now on a scale of one to ten?