The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says this year’s late shotgun and muzzleloader seasons have seen a 7 to 10-percent decline in the number of licenses issued. DNR state deer biologist, Willie Suchy attributes part of the drop in licenses to declining deer populations. “We’re just losing a few hunters every year because as we knock deer numbers down, opportunity goes down,” Suchy says.

He says the drop in hunter numbers follows a trend that began in 2006 as the DNR has sought to reduce the deer herd. The state is again testing samples from hunters for Chronic Wasting Disease in deer and Suchy says so far nothing has turned up. “The stuff collected earlier in the fall, everything has come back negative. We’ll continue to be submitting samples and monitoring, and we’ll hopefully continue to not see CWD in the wild herd,” according to Suchy.

Suchy says the DNR is waiting on results from samples collected during the more recent shotgun seasons. He estimates around 100,000 deer will be taken this year, about 10,000 fewer than last year.