Anyone who’s hit — or almost hit — a deer with their car in recent weeks may be encouraged to hear the latest report from the D-N-R. Willy Suchy (SOO-kee), a wildlife biologist in the Chariton office, says aerial surveys of Iowa’s deer population are showing a DECREASE of ten-to-12 percent from a year ago. About half of the statewide survey is complete and the numbers are consistent, Suchy says, showing deer populations are declining statewide, falling the fastest in northern Iowa. The state has been gradually increasing the number of hunters who are allowed to harvest deer, which he says is having the desired effect. The goal is to decrease the deer population 25-percent from a year ago, so with an apparent ten-to-12 percent decline so far, Suchy says in another year, the population should be about where they want it to be. He say performing the aerial surveys is a very challenging task. The spotters fly fixed-wing aircraft with high wings that provide good downward visibility. Traveling at 60-to-80 miles an hour, there’s not a lot of time to do very close counts from 400 feet up, but they do their best. Several counties that had large deer populations are seeing noticable decreases, including: Allamakee, Winneshiek, Linn and Benton. Increases in populations are reported in Johnson and Cedar counties. The statewide count estimates are expected to be complete in a few months.