The hunting season for animals that yield fur begins Saturday (November 1) in Iowa. Department of Natural Resources furbearer biologist, Ron Andrews, says raccoons are usually the biggest target in this season.
Andrews says for the past 15 years the state has ranged from 100 to 150,000 raccoons harvested by hunters and trappers. Some might consider the large take of raccoons good news as the animals can be a nuisance in going through garbage cans — or eating sweetcorn.
Andrews says though the season has a benefit for the animals. He says a healthy harvest helps the population as it keeps the disease in the animals down, and he says if the population gets smaller, the animals tend to compensate and have more babies. Andrews says the relatively new river otter trapping and bobcat hunting are also popular in the furbearing season.
Andrews says people like to add those animals to their "life list" of hunting and trapping, and he says the red fox is also a "glamour" species. He says the coyotes are a challenge also sought for their fur and the muskrats are still popular — though their population has become thin. Andrews says money is one of the reasons people seek the furbearing animals.
Andrews says the hunters and trappers do see the dollar signs, but he says there’s also "there’s a certain challenge with getting those animals." He says some people are just interested in the outdoor experience the hunting and trapping provides. Andrews says another issue is that the natural fur is a renewable resource, while the fur made from synthetic materials is non-renewable.
The Iowa D.N.R. says some 12,000 hunters and trappers will participate in the season. Andrews encourages anyone with questions about the furbearing season to call their local D.N.R. conservation officer.