CREATING HABITAT: Iowa’s Doing Something Right

By: Danny Amundson

People have been stressing the importance of creating more habitat lately. And rightly so. It’s a topic that needs to be addressed if we are going to allow future generations to enjoy what we have been privileged to enjoy.

Recently I traveled down to Iowa to attend the Minnesota Golden Gopher football game in Iowa City. Being the outdoorsman that I am, I scanned the numerous fields for deer, geese, and other various forms of wildlife while we were on the road. I may not have seen a whole lot, but what I did notice was how well the land seemed to be managed to support the wildlife.

As we got on our way, the first thing I noticed was how most of the ditches weren’t mowed. The grass had grown up tall enough to be able to hold a rooster or two. This is very different from Minnesota and Wisconsin. I hardly ever see a ditch that hasn’t been mowed up here. Leaving the ditches to grow provides great cover for pheasants and other wildlife.

Another thing I noticed was the cover strips and shelter belts out in the middle of the cut crop fields. More great cover for wildlife. You’ll see this in Minnesota as well, but definitely not as much as I saw down in Iowa. I was very impressed by how common these cover strips were.

Of course, there are the plots of hardwoods in the creek bottoms that are stellar for deer; a great trait of the Iowa landscape. The wonderful cover I saw made me curious as to why their aren’t more pheasants in Iowa. Too much hunting pressure? Too many predators? I don’t know. I don’t spend a whole lot of time down in that part of the country. But in the short time I was there, I was thoroughly impressed on the cover I saw.

Kudos to the farmers and everyone who helps create this cover.

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