State wildlife officials say hunters in Iowa have sufficiently thinned down the deer herds, so they plan to scale back the number of hunting licenses that will be issued to stabilize the population. Iowa Department of Natural Resources director Chuck Gipp says all signs indicate the statewide deer population declined between 2006 and 2013.
“Reported harvest is down by 33 percent. Number of road kills of deer hit by vehicles is down by 39 percent,” Gipp says. “The number of deer that are observed by bow hunters, which is a good way because they’re up in the tree individually, is down by 22 percent.”
Some parts of Iowa are still overrun by deer, what are considered “hot spots,” while the animals are very scarce in other areas. Gipp says striking a balance with hunters isn’t easy. “We’re getting shot at from both sides, some people are saying there’s not enough deer and others say there’s too many depending on where you sit on this issue,” Gipp says, “We feel very comfortable where the deer herd is and we still have to work on those hot spots.”
He says the DNR may expand the number of so-called depredation licenses issued which allow landowners to kill animals that cause property damage. The DNR plans to scale back the number of “antlerless” deer licenses, which were designed to thin herds by targeting female deer.