Deer versus vehicle crashes in Iowa have risen 30 percent in the past three years according to the insurance industry. Bob Skow, a spokesman for the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa, says Iowans are racking up huge repair bills from accidents caused by deer. Insurance companies estimate they paid out about 60 million dollars for collision repair from deer/vehicle accidents last year. Skow yesterday (Tuesday) asked legislators to do what they can to help reduce the deer population in Iowa. “We believe that something needs to be done to make Iowa safer,” Skow says. Accident reports show deer accidents are occurring at all times of the day in Iowa, not just at dawn and dusk as used to be the case. Skow says the insurance industry supports the Department of Natural Resources’ plan to reduce Iowa’s deer herd by 25 percent. Jeff Vonk, director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says there’s no doubt the number of deer in Iowa has increased. Vonk says in the next couple of years, the D-N-R will get to the goal of reducing the number of deer by 25 percent. He asked legislators on the House Natural Resources Committee to be patient. For the past two years, the state has increased the number of deer hunting licenses for hunters who’ll shoot does — the female deer. Vonk says state officials want to work with legislators, sportsmens groups and others to figure out a way to encourage Iowa hunters to kill more deer. Vonk asked legislators to consider tacking a dime fee onto every Iowa auto insurance policy to raise money for the D-N-R’s program that lets hunters donate deer meat to feed the needy. But legislators are reluctant to endorse that kind of a surcharge on auto insurance policies.
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