This Iowa quail hunting article is relative to Mid-America Hunting Association and assumes the reader is well acquainted with Iowa upland bird hunting as well as wild Bobwhite Quail hunting.
Bobwhite Quail, in this case what some describe as a "bob" or male Bobwhite Quail, as we captured in picture walking down an Iowa road one late summer day. The rest of the covey was scattered about.
Iowa Bobwhite Quail hunting is for those wild Bobwhite Quail hunters that prefer crop edge habitat and less pheasants.
Our Iowa quail hunting is a bonus for those quail hunters from the northern and eastern states seeking a shorter ride for wild quail hunting stopping off in Iowa on their way farther west for more Kansas pheasants or south into Missouri for quail only hunts.
The shorter drive makes Iowa all the more attractive as a stop over place or as a break while on the way to Kansas or Missouri. Comparatively the hunter will be well pleased with the easy to walk fields and more frequent blue sky shooting as well.
While the flushing and retriever hunters pass on quail in favor of the pheasant, the pointing bird dog hunters enjoy a full day of both. Those with the bird dog power to cast along the miles of drains for quail as well as the point stand off required for pheasant will find these 100% wild birds a great hunt superior to any planted bird plantation or club.
The chance to work a single dog on both wild pheasant and quail while on the same hunt, the same day on the same habitat as well as every day of the hunt will make it more enjoyable to continue the hunt until both bags are achieved or the day ends.
Our Iowa quail hunts while a surprise to some has rivaled that of Missouri in some years. And as weather environmental limiting factors change, our Iowa region allows for good or bad year flexibility of where to hunt.
Iowa has a split ending for its upland bird season ending the pheasant season in early January when its seasonal upland bird license expires while allowing quail hunts until January 31. What occurs is that most do not hunt the quail only middle to late January period.
This time period, in our most northern of the three states of leases, typically allows for colder dog friendly weather and plenty of tree covered drainage's to block any wind making for a higher probability of better hunting conditions. This may be contrasted to the big open of Kansas even with its greater abundance of pheasants and greater probability of higher wind speeds. And, very few hunters hunt during this period as most by this point of the three month season have walked and hunted plenty and their hunt intensity has waned. An additional motivational degradation is the psychological block of having to buy another license at the season's end even though it is good for the subsequent fall as well.
For those that truly want to chase bobwhites and do so when seeing another hunter is at its least probability this 20+/- day period is the time to be hunting.
Iowa Bobwhite Quail Habitat
Some of Iowa's prime upland bird habitat. The one above is opening day. Notice the standing corn that makes for some tough hunts. The bright sun was as warm as it looks and typically so that by noon most are through with their hunts. By mid winter all these adverse effects have changed and more reliably colder weather and concentrated habitat exists to a better degree than our southern Kansas leases that remain warmer later in the year.
Iowa does have some tall grass and while not prime quail habitat this field did in fact have a covey that flushed from the tree line at the left into the grass making for some great singles action.
Our southern Iowa leases and that of north Missouri are similar with their large grain crop fields of corn and beans cut by the mostly dry drainage's.
Another view of a must hunt spot. There is more cover habitat just barley visible separating the near and far field with the farm's property line the far tree line.
Iowa quail hunting is largely in the grassed waterways and soft edge of the many drains that cross the farm fields. That is the key to this south central and southwest region.
This region is on the upper fringe of the Grand River watershed that makes the second largest surface area sub-basin of the lower Missouri River Basin. It covers most of the northern center and half of Missouri extending north past the Iowa state line making for enough rolling terrain and many dry drains that provides bobwhite cover habitat.
As many will agree it is the right quail habitat that makes for the better hunts and game of choice densities. in this case the key factor is the watershed and the secondary effect of the non agricultural areas the watershed creates. This exemplifies as well as our other lease land locations why we have land in some very specific locations and no lease land in larger areas elsewhere.
For the traveling quail hunter the question is often asked why pay for the entire season when most travel to quail hunt a week or more typically two during the entire season. This argument continues that our approach is great for the local quail hunter and the traveling hunter seems to miss out.
A contrary idea is that most that travel to quail hunt do so as they can accomplish in one short trip far more than they can the entire season in their home state. And, in terms of the local hunter yes he does hunt the entire season typically at a two day weekend at a time rate spread across three months with two family oriented holidays taking away from that time. If he did hunt at least one half the available weekend days each of the three months that would make for 12 hunt days. The similarity is strong and it continues.
One other view point about our local hunters is that many of them also travel elsewhere to bird hunt, grouse, huns, chukar, blues as well as other quail and on and on as well. They too travel to hunt more of one bird type on a short trip than they can accomplish in their home state even with local good upland bird hunts.
We have done the research since 1965 to know where to lease land and where not to to get the best return for our dollars spent. Iowa leases came after a long experience in Kansas and Missouri quail hunting.
That best return is measured by membership renewals as we know that hunters will only renew their membership if they have a good quail hunt. To have a good quail hunt requires the right habitat. To have the right habitat in this region of the country is to know the difference between what a watershed provides compared to that of hill country. A nuance lost on many and greatly appreciated by those that enjoy our better Iowa quail hunting as well as the rest of what we provide.
The value to our Iowa quail hunting members is they will be in the right Iowa locality that allows for the best opportunity to be on wild Bobwhite Quail. What that hunter does with that quail hunting opportunity we do not attempt to control. We stick to our mission of securing the best habitat we can and have the organization fixed to allow all members to hunt on their own.
Land does not stand still.
Land is sold, landowners die and land use practices change. We do not stand still either. We are always looking to replace the not so good habitat with better leases. Our service may be private hunting land access, however the product we provide is the right habitat within the right region of the state that has a history of reproductive power that allows for wild quail hunts.
A sample of what our maps sheets look like (minus the read highlights). This is one of about 200 any given time on our map web site. Having the maps available online is the only means by which all members can have access to all the updated maps as land leasing is a 12 month a year job. As land is added or deleted the maps are updated and posted. When it comes to Iowa quail hunting part of the do it yourself adventure is exploring new leases. under our system the routine of having to quail hunt the same places every trip is avoided.
We have always operated since our beginning in 1965 as a do it yourself quail hunter operation. In fact the original 4 local businessmen that started MAHA were all quail hunters that wanted a more efficient method by which to enjoy their quail hunting. They began in Missouri and later the Association expanded into Iowa. However, as good as all this sounds our quail hunting is not perfect.
One aspect we cannot overcome and probably should not is that every first year member will experience a twinge in his gut the first several times stepping out of his truck and hunting on land that he himself has not personally met with the landowner. There is not anyway around this effect and we have a long time tested method to overcome it.
We use the same county road maps to mark our lease land location as the county sheriff, utility Co-Ops and township road crews use to navigate. They are the most accurate around to include key features as local land marks and road surface quality. These two last features alone are missing from all of the commercially available alternatives we have explored. Trust in the maps we issue as we have been mapping our leases for a long time. Our maps will get all who can read a map to where they need to hunt.
The next thing we do is to post our leases with a unique MAHA sign that gives the hunter confidence he has found the right spot.
After these two aspects there is nothing for the new hunter/member to do except get out there and experience the hunt. That twinge in the gut will attenuate and later disappear entirely with experience.
We provide the private Iowa land to quail hunt, the recommendations to get the new Association hunter started in the right area for what he is after and a lodging listing for every county where we lease land. The hunter hunts on his own, using his own upland bird dogs and skills.
|Iowa Pheasant Hunting
Iowa Upland Birds
|Upland Bird Hunting
Bobwhite Quail Hunting
Kansas Upland Birds
Missouri Upland Birds
Main Upland Bird Section