Winter weather continued to be a problem this past weekend during a special extended deer hunting season. The extended season was added after harvest numbers were down when bad weather hit during the first shotgun seasons.
Willie Suchy of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says some hunters did find success in the extended season. He says despite the poor weather, hunters still killed over 5,000 deer, including over 3,600 does. "So it was a positive step forward."
Suchy says better conditions could’ve improved the hunt, but it did help cut the deer population. Suchy says they would have loved to have seen more deer taken, but with the poor weather and the Christmas holiday, it was "totally uncharted waters" to have an extra deer season, but a "good step."
The state was behind in trying to keep the deer population in check, but Suchy says the extra hunt helps. He says it made up about 40% of the deficit they had for the number of does killed, and he says thinning the number of does is the most important factor. Suchy says the deer population could drop even more.
Suchy says there are still plenty of opportunities to hunt, with a late muzzleloader season that was extended three days because of the extended shotgun season. There’s also the two-week January antlerless season coming up. He says the have about 19-thousand tags left for antlerless deer in 25 counties.
Suchy, the wildlife research supervisor for the D-N-R, says there were around 380,000 deer in Iowa at the end of the last deer hunting season. The goal has been to reduce that population to somewhere in the range between 250,000 and 300,000.