Iowa hunters, during the recent 2011-12 deer hunting seasons, killed 121,407 deer. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports that’s down 4.5% from the previous year. D.N.R. wildlife biologist Willy Suchy says deer numbers in Iowa hit their high mark six years ago.
“It peaked in about 2006-07 and the best indication is we’re now about 30% below that,” Suchy said. Deer numbers in some areas of the state, especially in eastern Iowa, are considered near or below the D.N.R.’s objective. Some hunters are voicing concerns to deer reduction efforts have gone too far.
“I think hunters are, in some instances, frustrated. I think there’s concern out there and they’d like to see us cut back (on deer reduction efforts),” Suchy said. “We proposed to cut back last year, but we were not allowed to do that.”
Suchy said the governor’s staff rejected a D.N.R. plan last year to reduce the kill and stabilize deer where the numbers are at or below the goal. The D.N.R. will review the harvest and population surveys this spring and schedule a public hearing before making a recommendation on what direction to take with the deer population.