The 2013 deer harvest in Iowa decreased for the eighth consecutive year. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Research Supervisor Willie Suchy says hunters killed fewer than 100,000 deer for the first time since the mid-1990s. “Deer hunters (harvested) 99,406 deer for the 2013 season, which is 14-percent lower than 2012 and 34-percent lower than our peak back in 2006,” Suchy says.
Back in 2006, hunters killed around 153,000 deer in Iowa. The deer harvest in 2013 was lower than expected, but Suchy says he’s not too surprised considering the bitterly cold weather. “The weekends in December when the shotgun deer hunting season was going on, particularly the first weekend and the last weekend, we were down close to zero. That just makes it harder for hunters to stay out in the field,” Suchy said.
The harvest data will be used as a consideration when the DNR begins the process of discussing hunting seasons later this winter.
“We’re guessing that, yes, we’re at a position where deer numbers are as low as we were hoping to get them. Now, we need to stabilize the herd and maybe in some places that would allow us to bounce back a little,” Suchy said.
In 2013, deer hunters purchased 359,956 licenses, nearly 18,500 fewer than in 2012.