IOWA's Bobwhites

This “biologist ranking information” map, sometimes referred to as a “bobwhite response index” map, identifies the likely response of bobwhites to the investment of habitat management resources in various areas of the state. The NBCI approach is based on the concept of “focal areas,” which are a minimum of 1,500 acres based on research identifying the minimum quantity of habitat required to sustain bobwhite populations over time. Official NBCI-branded focal areas also have specific monitoring requirements for habitat and bird populations. For more on focal areas and the coordinated approach to implementation across the NBCI range click here.

~2016 Quail Count at 30-Year High~

Iowa is on the northern fringe of the bobwhite’s range and, combined with agricultural production patterns in the state, soils, topography and climate, the primary bobwhite habitat management emphasis is in the three-deep southern tier of counties.

With one exception, Iowa has the least amount of public land within its borders of any state. Consequently, the state has a robust private lands program, the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP). Iowa landowners open their land to public hunting and in turn receive funding and expertise for habitat improvements. IHAP has enrolled more than 20,000 acres across 51 counties that are now open for walk-in public hunting from September 1 - May 31 each year. The walk-in program in the southern tier of counties is “tailor-made” for bobwhites, says Todd Bogenschutz.

The state also has numerous public wildlife management areas where some level of bobwhite management (and population) occurs as well, ranging from 54 acres to 15,888 acres. The largest in the three-row southern tier of counties — Iowa’s bobwhite belt — include Rathbun Reservoir (15,888 acres), Sedan Bottoms (4,400 acres), Lake Sugema (3,915 acres),DeKalb (2,170 acres), Sand Creek (3,601 acres), Three Mile Lake (3,350 acres), Ringgold (2,100 acres), Lake Shawtee (1,166 acres). Visit the Iowa Hunting Atlas to view all public and IHAP lands open to hunters.

In 2014, Iowa hosted the annual meeting of the National Bobwhite Technical Committee, which brought biologists and researchers from across the range to view the state's management efforts.

Key Links

Iowa Quail Coordinator

Todd Bogenschutz
1436 255th St.
Boone, IA 50036
(515) 432-2823

Iowa Quail (Small Game) Plan

Iowa DNR Website

Iowa Hunting Atlas

Iowa’s Quail History (Video)

Other Links

NBCI: The Comprehensive Guide to Creating, Improving & Managing Bobwhite Habitat

Bargain Basement Bobwhites: An Affordable DIY Approach to Managing Land for Wild Bobwhite Quail

Bobwhite Basics

Iowa Quail Country

Prescribed fire, above and below, is a key tool in Iowa’s management of early successional habitat for bobwhites and a suite of other wildlife that require it for their survival.