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Pheasants Numbers Down, Have a Little Faeth

October 25th kicked off another year of upland bird hunting opportunities as the 2008 pheasant season officially kicked off again here in Iowa.  While Iowa still offers hunters some of the best opportunities in the nation to hunt birds, it’s no secret that the bird population this year will be down.

The Iowa DNR reports that this year’s pheasant numbers will be down by one third from last year’s bird count.  Last year’s cold, icy winter and this year’s wet cold spring are to blame as the upland bird population depends on moderate weather to survive and flourish.  Lower numbers mean you will have to cover a lot more ground this year if you plan on bagging your daily limit.

On the other hand there are alternatives available for bird hunters to hunt over fields that are full of birds guaranteeing you the opportunity to watch dogs work and experience the Iowa tradition of pheasant hunting. 

One such facility is Faeth’s Fowl Play,  a hunting preserve located in the SE Iowa’s Fort Madison.  Rob and Randy Faeth are co-owners of this Hunting preserve offering hunters the opportunity to hunt pheasant, quail and chukar on their 715 acres of rolling plains, timber and marsh land.  Established in 2002, Faeth’s Fowl Play offers hunters the chance to go on guided trips with their experienced hunting dogs in either half or full day packages.  They even cater to disabled hunters and offer reduced rates allowing them field transportation, guide service and a dog to hunt over.

A few weeks ago, we made a trip to visit Rob and Randy and I will tell you we weren’t disappointed. From the first moment we walked into Fowl Play we were welcomed like old friends and when we took to the field, we knew we would see birds.  We hunted over experienced dogs (my two favorites were Star a Brittany Spaniel and Woody an English Pointer), and Rob told me stories how these dogs had helped train several other dogs over the past several years.  While there was a small path that was mowed for access for the disabled, the fields were wild allowing adequate bird sanctuary to get through the full season which runs from September 1st until March 31st. When the hunt ended we hung 12 birds between 4 hunters on Faeth’s fence under his pheasant sign for the traditional group picture with the hunting party and the dogs.  It was a great day for new friends enjoying the Iowa outdoors.

So remember although the bird numbers around the state are down, you still have a great opportunity to get out and enjoy a great pheasant hunt where you’re guaranteed to see some birds.  And when you go to Fowl Play be sure and invite a friend or a youth hunter along because it’s more fun spending time in the field with others.  Also remember to hunt safe by wearing blaze orange, know your firing zone, identify your game and always ask landowners permission to hunt if you’re going on private land.  But if you don’t have a place to hunt or take your dogs, give Rob or Randy a call at 319-372-2792 for more information.

Until next time get out and enjoy the outdoors right here In Your Backyard Iowa!

Rob Welch,  In Your Backyard Iowa.

I have been coming to Faeth's Fowl Play for the past 4 years with one of my best customers. Every time has been a great experience! We have always done well with the amount of birds shot, regularly killing anywhere from 15 to 25 birds on a half day hunt. The property itself has a good mix of timber and flat hunting ground. On all of our hunts we have gone with a guide and dogs. It has been truly amazing to watch a well trained hunting dog work. For a good day of hunting and enjoying the outdoors, I would strongly recommend Faeth's Fowl Play.

Todd Dixon,  Bettendorf  Iowa

Rob, I had a great time hunting at Faeth's and I want to come back this year. I really appreciate the dogs which worked very well and just the all around pheasent hunting. That was my christmas present last year and personally it was the best christmas present I ever got. I also got two hats which I wear everywhere and just because I live in California it doesn't stop me from hunting. I still hunt ducks almost every weekend in the fall and love it.
Thanks for a great hunt!!

Jacob Blunt, California

We had the opportunity to enjoy a day of hunting at Fowl Play in late March of 2008. The snow was finally gone from the Iowa fields, but there was still ample cover for that time of year and a day at Fowl Play was a great way to extend the bird season and get more of that all-important time in the field with our Llewellin Setter and hunting companion, Bristol.

The quail hunt was fantastic! We were pleasantly surprised by the strength and liveliness of the birds provided and the dogs' performance in the field was spectacular. When most hunters have put away their shotguns for the season and their dogs are lounging around, here we are out in the beautiful weather enjoying a day of companionship with our friends and dogs. That's what Fowl Play offers. We also have to commend Rob Faeth on the atmosphere and guide work provided for our hunt. He went out of his way to make sure we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. We would recommend Fowl Play at any time during the season, but the preserve offers a chance to extend your hunting time out of normal season from early Fall into late Spring.

Bob and Laura
Hickory Hollow Llewellin Setters
Shellsburg, Iowa

Faeth's Fowl Play

2470 235th Street

Fort Madison, IA  52627


(319) 470-1502



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