The leader of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources gives state lawmakers an upbeat assessment of efforts to control Iowa’s deer population. D.N.R. director, Rich Leopold, told the House Environmental Protection Committee the number of deer is nearing ideal levels after three years of managing the harvest of antlerless deer. Still, he said, more work must be done.
"There are still have too many deer in some parts of the state, and I will admit that," Leopold says, "but all population trends are down. I have not seen any evidence that they are staying at the status quo or increasing. That’s a good thing, it has taken us a long time to get where we’re at."
Leopold credits a new electronic reporting system hunters now use which enables the D.N.R. to know right away how many deer are being taken. He says that enabled officials to extend the shotgun season this year when it was needed.
Leopold says, "We had a nasty December if you remember the first few weekends of shotgun season in December were horrible with rain, snow, sleet, ice, and our take on antlerless deer was down." Leopold says they responded by getting emergency rule to extend the shotgun season. Leopold says the extended season helped the state to have an adequate deer harvest.