Iowa wildlife officials say the pheasant population is high ahead of hunting season.
The state Department of Natural Resources says the annual August roadside pheasant count recorded the highest number of birds since 2008. That's a statewide average of about 17 birds per 30 miles.
A record low 40,000 hunters pursued pheasants last year. The latest roadside index indicates hunters could harvest more than 250,000 birds.
The department says it is working to enhance the state's habitats for pheasant and quail. That includes grant funding and a partnership with the Pheasants Forever group.
The regular pheasant season is Oct. 25 through Jan. 10. The state's youth pheasant season is set for Oct. 18 and Oct. 19.