The peak period for prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido pinnatus) in Iowa was about 1880 when 69% of the state was in farms. They were found in prairie areas throughout the state. Hunters found this grouse ideal game and bags of 25 to 50 per day were easily taken. Market hunters frequently killed 200 or more per day. Farmers trapped and shot the birds to sell or to eat. As long as marginal prairie areas were only lightly disturbed by agriculture, the prairie chickens held on, but when intensive farming began, the birds nested in hayfields or in over-grazed pastures where brooding was unsuccessful. By 1900, 90% of the state was in farms and birds were vanishing. A few remained until 1954 in a poorly drained portion of Appanoose County. Since then only occasional strays have been reported.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
© Copyright 1961 by the Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Stempel, M. E. and Rodgers, Sam Jr.
"History of Prairie Chickens in Iowa,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science: Vol. 68:
, Article 48.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol68/iss1/48