Pella Chronicle

October 29, 2012

Ask the Corps

Sherri Duey
Operations Manager Lake Red Rock

Pella — The Lake Red Rock area offers great hunting opportunities!  Hunters can access about 25,000 acres of forest, prairie, upland and lowland habitats.  Agricultural leased ground on government property is also open to hunting, and farmers are required to leave some standing crop as a wildlife food source.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) estimates upland game populations through the following surveys:

Roadside Counts: Every year, the DNR conducts roadside counts during the first 15 days of August.  At least one 30-mile route is run in each county during the first 1 ½ to 2 hours of the day.  The routes are the same as those run since the 1960s. Wildlife surveyed during the counts includes pheasant and other species such as quail and rabbits.  Casey Trine, DNR Natural Resource Technician at the Red Rock Wildlife Unit reported, “The number of pheasant counted during this year’s survey increased 35-40% over the previous year; however, even though numbers are up, the counts are still low.  Farmers are seeing more birds, but we need more mild winters and dry, warmer springs.”

Turkey brood surveys:  Brood surveys take place in July and August each year.  A postcard survey is mailed to wildlife professionals and hunters to collect information on area sightings.   Trine said, “Preliminary numbers show turkey counts are up.  They had a good hatch, and weather conditions were right.”    

Deer Harvest Numbers and Surveys: Deer population is determined through winter aerial surveys, springtime spotlight surveys, and tracking road killed deer salvaged and removed from the state's highways.   Aerial surveys are completed annually after a fresh snowfall event (and with a base of snow already on the ground). Two DNR Wildlife staff travel with a pilot along established routes called transects. These same transects have been used for about 30 years in order to record data as consistently as possible. Pilots fly as low and slow as legally possible in order to count deer. The animals show up easily against the white background of the snow. Wild turkeys are also counted during the surveys.   In the spring, spotlight surveys are completed before leaf-out. Established 25-mile routes are used each year for consistency; however, routes may be periodically added or phased out over time.  The agency reports that deer populations are good in Marion County, and hunters should have good opportunities to be successful this season.

The Corps Title 36 Code of Federal Regulations and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources game laws apply to all of Lake Red Rock’s areas.  Copies of both sets of regulations are available at the Corps office and Red Rock Visitor Center on the south side of the dam.  

All recreation areas and two state wildlife refuges at the lake are closed to hunting.  It is the hunters’ responsibility to know where they are and be able to identify hunting areas from closed areas.  For a map showing public hunting (and trapping) areas, visit the Corps website at .  Hard copies of the map are also available at the Corps office and Red Rock Visitor Center on the south side of the dam.  For more information, contact the Corps office at Ph. (641) 828-7522 or (641) 628-8690 or via email at