Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hunters Equal Money for Iowa

Iowa has hosed 30,000 to 50,000 nonresidents in years past. They stayed for days in small town hotels, ate in cafés down the street and bought supplies from local stores; a multi-million dollar revenue stream that Iowa no long has. Who were these 30,000 to 50,000 people coming to Iowa? These were the out of state pheasant hunters coming to what use to be known as "Pheasant Capital of North America." In the past few years the decline of the pheasant population has led to the loss of a multi-million dollar business for the state. The solution to this problem may seem simple: bring the pheasant population back will bring back the hunters. However bring the pheasant population back up is easier said than done.

There are two major components to maintaining or growing the pheasant population, weather and habitat. We have no control over Mother Nature which makes the first part of the equation impossible for us to improve. In the "2011 IOWA AUGUST ROADSIDE SURVEY" prepared by Tom Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist, Mark McInroy, upland wildlife research technician, and Lile Kruger, administrative assistant, states "This marks the 5th consecutive winter in a row Iowa has received ~ 30 inches or more of snowfall. In the 50 yrs of standardized roadside counts Iowa has never seen 5 consecutive winters of this severity." It continues on to talk about the wet springs Iowa has seen, "The spring of 2011 did not offer any reprieve from the past 4 years with April and May both seeing above normal rainfall and below normal temperatures." Spring, being the nesting period for pheasants, needs to be warm and dry for chicks to have a successful survival rate.

As the first part of the pheasant equations is uncontrollable, the second part, habitat, is very controllable. As we have seen pheasant numbers fall over the years there has been a direct correlation with loss of habitat for them as well. An article put out by the Iowa DNR in October 2011 states, "From 1990 to 2005, Iowa lost 2,500 square miles of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), hay and small grain lands. That equals an eight-mile strip across Iowa from Davenport to Omaha." Loss of habitat, be it public land or private land, is never good for wildlife.

You may find yourself asking well how much money can actually be in hunting? Well according to an article in the Gazette, a Cedar Rapids Iowa newspaper, the sale of hunting license went from 189,137 in 2002 to 172,230 by 2010. With a hunting license cost for residents of Iowa of $19 a person, that is $3,593,603 down to $3,272,370, a loss of $321,233 for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. This does not include any extra fees to hunt game such as migratory birds, deer, turkey, or fur bearing animals. Add on all the extra fees that are missing from the missing hunters and your loss of profit continues to go up.

So lets look back at the multi-million dollar business of nonresident hunters. The license for them before extra fees is $112. This is a loss of $3 million to $5 million in license alone. Think about how much money is not being spent anymore in the small towns, at the local cafes, in the hotels, and at the local supply shop. Bring back the pheasant populations with better habitat, hope for better winters and dryer springs, and bring back the out of state hunters.


  1. Good first paragraph. You used a very effective top down structure. You linked in five sources. The only errors I caught were a few spelling and gramatical errors. It read very well, I found it very interesting.

  2. Good way of opening your topic in the first paragraph. I also think you did a good job of transitioning from the two points about bringing the pheasant population back up. I really like your closing and how it makes me think of supporting local economies. The only thing I would recommend, is there are a lot of numbers in the fourth paragraph. Maybe instead of listing out the revenues, just list the loss of revenue.

  3. THis is very well written. You transitioned well and had very good resources to back up your statements. As a new hunter myself this article kept my attention. Double check spellings. Other than that, great job.

  4. This is pretty well done. The first paragraph really brings you into the article, and the last line of the first paragraph is a strong signpost to the second paragraph. Look at that last line and change "bring" to "bringing."

    The next two paragraphs are solid, but I might make a subtitle, as your leading sentence of that 2nd paragraph talks about the topic of 2 paragraphs, while the paragraph that it's in only covers half of the subjects listed in that opening sentence. First line of second paragraph change the comma to a full colon. (you can leave the 2 listed items lower case.)

    I'll second the comment about too much explanatory math in the 4th paragraph. Give us the shocking numbers, and be detailed in listing areas of economy impacted by this loss. Go ahead and be speculative if you like.

    Overall, I liked your journalistic style. Very well done.

  5. Great headline and topic. Very relevant and interesting. One thing you might reconsider is starting your opening sentence with "hosed" it may come off a bit juvenile if published in certain sources. However it shows your true feelings on the subject. Great research and lots of facts to back you up. Well done.

  6. I like your topic. It is interesting to read the problem from a different point of view. Usually, you hear more from people trying to save the pheasants. The only thing I would say would be to double check some spelling and some grammar.