Iowa Recap: The Land of GSPs, Labs, and Fast-Flying Pheasants

  • 10/31/2013
Pheasants Forever’s Rooster Road Trip teamed up with Iowa’s Northern Polk and Iowa Capitol PF chapters to profile their public land habitat work. Photo by Anthony Hauck / Pheasants Forever

The fourth state on PF’s Rooster Road Trip 2013 was Iowa, a state with a reputation. Some may call us crazy for hunting in Iowa just 20 minutes North of Des Moines, the most densely populated city in Iowa, but that’s where Pheasants Forever Regional Representative Jared Wiklund was confident we would find birds.
Find birds we did. This was not the 100 bird bouquet of pheasants flushing out of the end of a field, but instead it was a constant stream of birds that would flush in singles or pairs over the three fields we hunted. Speaking with Jared, I mentioned this was the type of hunting I liked because it is best for the dog, as it makes us both keep on our “A Game” while producing enough birds to keep our attention.
We pushed up about 30 pheasants between the three road trippers and five Northern Polk and Iowa Capitol Pheasants Forever chapter members with six birds ending up in the bag – a solid two hours on public land in any state. On the way to Minnesota and the last day of the Rooster Road Trip, I got a call from Jared and it turns out the last piece they hunted after we headed out produced 40 flushes on a 30 minute walk.
Jared, who is not only the PF Regional Representative but a dedicated chapter member with Northern Polk County Pheasants Forever, and the chapter have been working on the fields we hunted to ensure the highest-quality habitat for public land ringnecks in a state where approximately 99 percent of the land is in private ownership. It’s a strong chapter that is willing to put in the hours to keep the pheasant populations up in this area of Iowa.
Later in the day, we hunted with Brooks VanDerBeek, 19, a sophomore at Iowa State University in Ames and his friend Nolan Benzing, 20. Both are studying natural resources and they serve as president and vice president, respectively, of the Iowa State University Pheasants Forever chapter, which was the first college PF chapter to form in the country. While no birds were put in the bag, we did have a great time getting to know the future generation of Pheasants Forever chapter leadership.
Dogs today consisted of German shorthairs and labs. Iowa seems to be the exception to running pointers and flushers together, because as we cut the dogs loose, somehow the dogs all understood the strengths and weaknesses of the others and all six dogs seemed to work as one efficient group. The labs flushed in the cattails when needed, and the GSPs pointed cagey birds in thinner cover when needed.
I’ll be driving through next week to visit family in Kansas City, and given our luck today, I may have to take another two hours for a Rooster Road Trip Iowa – Part Two!
Low Brass is written by Rehan Nana, Pheasants Forever’s Public Relations Specialist. Email Rehan at and follow him on Twitter at @RehanNanaQF.