While pheasant, dove and deer hunting get a lot of attention in the state, thousands of hunters are out seeking the animals called furbearers. D.N.R. wetlands biologist, Vince Evelsizer, says some 14,000 people are expected to seek the animals in the season that opened November 5th.
Evelsizer says the most popular species people go after are raccoons and muskrats. He says the raccoon and muskrat numbers are well above most other species. He says there were around 236,000 raccoons harvested last year and the number for muskrats was about the same. There’s also an otter and bobcat season underway.
Evelsizer says the populations of both animals are doing well, and they do have quotas on the number that can be taken. The river otter quota is 650, while the bobcat quota is 350 for the hunting zone across southern Iowa. Those seasons close as soon as the quotas are reached. There is a limit of one bobcat for each hunter and three otters.
Evelsizer says many of the hunters do so for sport, but there is also a market for the fur of the animals. Evelsizer says the cost paid for the pelts varies depending on their quality, with bobcats pulling in the top dollar, followed by otters. He says it varies but a bobcat could bring in $100 or more, while an otter can bring in around $65.
Hunters are required to report the animals they harvest. For more information you can check the D.N.R. website at: www.iowadnr.gov.