This upland bird article assumes the reader started at our upland bird hunting home page and understands our self guided upland bird hunter approach. If not, this article would be better read after the upland bird home page.
Iowa upland bird hunting is for both pheasant and Bobwhite Quail on private hunting land in south central Iowa for season long self guided hunts.
Iowa upland bird hunting is well known to the pheasant hunter and ignored by the quail hunter for its mixed bag upland bird hunting region of equally good pheasant and quail hunting.
Recognizing that with MAHA's approach to leasing private upland bird land is not restricted to the short driving distance around a lodge. We make all of Iowa available to us. We chose to lease land where we get the most return for our hunters. In terms of Iowa upland bird hunting that best return is from south central Iowa with its overlapping pheasant and quail populations. Or, more upland bird action for the same amount of acreage elsewhere in Iowa.
Iowa county names and acres that we lease for our exclusive member/hunter use. The area shown covers the upper reaches of the Grand River Watershed coming north from Missouri. This region has its crop fields cut heavily by drainage's both brushed in for better pheasant and timbered for quail hunts.
Lodging is by local motel. Even with just this limited hunting land we would recommend to the new member where to park his truck, step out and hunt as a means of ensuring he starts off right and will seek to renew his membership for years to come.
We also seek the upland bird hunter that trains and hunts his own bird dogs for a number of reasons. The foremost reason is that kind of hunter seeks most a great day of dog work on wild birds. This is the kind of hunter that fits our approach to paid private hunting land access, or the one that just requires the access and will take his hunt from there.
We will provide the private land access, a local lodging listing and recommendations for where to park the truck, step out and hunt. After that the hunter makes his own hunt.
Good bird hunts all come down to the right habitat in the right regions of the state that has a history of reproduction well suited for the hunter.
Classic Iowa bird habitat, in this case mostly quail cover that will yield a pheasant or two as well. This year the crops shown in the picture were beans and the pastures left fallow.
Our best pheasant and quail hunting is in the agricultural region of Iowa where 45 - 55% of the land use is in farming. Crop land makes the winter food available for survival leading to reproduction and with the majority of the farms in this part of Iowa corporate single crop type farms there is cover next to these food sources.
This one concept, control of pressure, means more about our upland bird hunting than all else. Hunters seek us out for private upland bird hunting land which means limited hunter pressure. We manage that hunter pressure by a number of means. Most notably a distribution system that allows all member the same access to all land without allowing any of that land to be over hunted.
Pressure includes the number of bird hunters and proximity of field days each unit of land receives within any period of time. No pre season dog work at all. No commercial bird dog activity of any description at any time and on and on. All our efforts keep to the front the only option that we provide and that is wild birds for the do it yourself hunter hunting over his own dogs during the season. That is it, do not ask for anything more.
A big difference is the attitude of our upland bird hunting members with our hunters seeking the quality of the upland bird hunting experience and not the number of birds in the bag. A nuance difference that means a lot.
A quality upland bird hunting experience is one where dogs are not mixed with others. Rare to see another bird hunter in the field. Wild upland birds. Natural terrain/bird habitat. More places to bird hunt than time during the next ten years to cover. All the elements of a fair chase bird hunt.
A collector seeks a trophy be it just a picture of many birds stacked next to a standing hunter. In this case the goal is the most birds in the shortest time and this kind of hunter typically never trained or hunted his own bird dogs. This bird hunter simply will never enjoy that special feeling of tranquility of a dog that is steady to point, wing, shot, drop, breaks on command and retrieves all the while working close to his master finding birds.
Iowa Bobwhite Quail
Bobwhite Quail in grass land between fields as found while scouting that farm for lease consideration.
How fast with a camera must you be to catch a quail in the open grass? The same Bobwhite Quail above and below.
More quail shown below of the same covey as the Bobwhite above. A chance to watch un-pressured birds without a dog in the field only occurs when we are surveying land for possible contracting with the period between spring planting and fall harvest our busiest landowner contact period.
A productive Iowa quail farm.
We encourage all members to send in feedback on their hunts and seasons. We prefer the feedback by email as it is easier to share between the two Johns (the two Association partners) and with the amount of time we spend on the road makes cell phones and note taking more difficult. These two examples are from opening weekend of the Iowa upland bird season, each hunter hunted one day and represent the two extremes of reports for that weekend.
Feedback for the iowa [location deleted] land. - no crops, all grass and wooded draws - flew no birds even though it looked like there should be quail based on the cover - saw one nice buck Dan
Had a good hunt in IA [location deleted] on Saturday. Had the pleasure of meeting [name deleted]. About 1/2 the corn is still out, but they were getting after it pretty good, none of the beans are out of 17, there were about 20 mallards, bunch of teal and 2 hooded mergansers on the pond behind the barn.
Moved 1 covey, 2 roosters, 3 hens, out of 30, moved one covey 3 roosters and 1 hen out of 24. Finished the day with a pheasant limit and 3 bobs, pretty much left the singles alone. Had some pretty decent dog work, but then opening day birds are a lot different than January birds. Pedro
Not all things are perfect with our Iowa upland bird hunting or any of our hunts for that matter and we will never claim our approach to be perfect. Our approach fits a narrow band of upland hunters and those that do not fit that range we politely discourage from applying for membership.
One problem amongst our hunters is they rarely hunt outside of their level of bird dog power. This makes for a lot of single hunters or small family groups of father and sons with similar dog power.
An illustration that amply fits our Iowa upland bird hunting leases is the common difference between pheasant and quail hunters.
A pheasant hunter may have a pointing, flushing or retrieving breed and each are typically hunted within their breed. After dog breed of choice most pheasant hunting pointing dogs are separate from quail pointing dogs simply by what happens after the flush.
It is common for pheasant dog owners to allow their pheasant pointing dogs to break at wing or shot to ensure the dog has as great a chance to be on a downed bird, dead or runner, as soon as possible to ensure capture of the pheasant. It is common for pheasant hunters to hunt but one dog at the most per hunter and typically less.
Quail pointing dog hunters typically hunt two dogs and each will be steady to wing, shot, drop, break on command and retrieve to hand. They will also strongly back another dog's point. This difference in dog power illustrates that those who hunt quail and pheasant do commonly have a difference in the value they have for the hunt itself.
For the most part both the pheasant and quail upland bird hunting dog owner seeks the birds. After the bird is found is when the distinction shows as one seeks the full extent of dog performance and the other the capture of the bird.
Our Iowa upland bird hunting lease land allows for each type of hunter and each may hunt that Iowa land and upland bird of choice without adversely impacting on the other.
Big deal for the previous discussions. What does it have to do with our Iowa upland bird hunting or the Mid-America Hunting Association and the upland bird hunter? It has a lot to do with it. We offer upland bird hunting. After that the hunter makes his own do it yourself bird hunt. If that interests the reader then call us to cover in greater detail the upland bird hunting we offer.
The end result of what we exist for is the execution of the bird hunt. All the preliminary activities have been accomplished by the hunter before bird hunting. We do not guide, train bird dogs, recommend dog breeders or any other of the associated upland bird activities we simply provide the upland bird hunting in its execution phase compliant with all state and federal regulations. It is just about all we can handle.
For those wanting to dig deeper into how we operate and develop decision criteria for applying for membership or not a system told to us over the years by a good number of those that did decide to apply and were accepted followed this process.
The first step is to read the web site information concerning the hunters' primary and secondary hunting discipline.
Next is to read our rules.
Follow up with examining several hunter testimonials to determine what it is they gained the most from their membership.
From those sources develop some 'test questions' that indirectly lead to the information or support the decision criteria that are being developed.
Call us and ask us those questions. If during that telephone conversation we agree we can work together then we will provide a good number of members to be called and asked the same questions. The consistency of answers will give good indication of may be expected.
An alternative to the above process is simply to put your money down and take your chances. In the end no matter what action is taken it always comes down to that for a hunt it must be hunted to know what it is about. For upland bird hunting there is not any way around the requirement for boots on the ground time behind bird dogs.
Iowa Bobwhite Quail
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