“We really are not seeing any changes, we’re looking at a status quo type season compared to last year. And I think that reflects that we have a herd population that is stabilizing over a great part of the state,” Baskins says. While he says the population is stabilizing, it’s not uniform across the state.
“We still have parts of the state that have an abundance of deer, and the anterless quotas we have that we have reflect that,” Baskins says. “We still see an area of northwest Iowa where we’ve probably gone a little too far in terms of reducing deer. Up there we still have some buck only restrictions for some of those counties during the early muzzleloader season and the first shotgun season.”
Baskins says the DNR has a variety of different ways to keep track of the deer population. “We do it through surveying our hunters, through looking at road kills, and also right now we are still kind of wrapping up some of our spotlight surveys where we go out at night and run some routes to determine what we are seeing out on the countryside,” Baskins says.
He says they also talk with landowners about any damage that may be done to crops by deer. Baskins says they have a deer task force that helps set up the hunting “That includes people who are deer hunters, obviously the agricultural production groups, and also insurance companies,” Baskins says. “And one of the goals that was established by that task force was to get kind of to where we were in the 1990s when everything seemed to be in balance in terms of not having too many complaints from any of those three groups.”
There is a hearing on the proposed seasons on June 1st. You can send written comments to the Department of Natural Resources, Dale Garner, Wildlife Bureau Chief, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; by e-mail at Dale.Garner@dnr.iowa.gov or by Fax at 515-725-8201.
The Natural Resources Commission will take a final vote following the hearing and public comment.
You can see the full proposal on the Iowa DNR’s website at: www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.
Here are the proposed dates for the deer hunting seasons.
Regular Gun 1 Dec. 3-7
Regular Gun 2 Dec. 10-18
Bow Oct. 1-Dec. 2 and Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Early Muzzleloader Oct. 15-23
Muzzleloader Dec. 19-Jan. 10, 2017
Youth Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Disabled Hunter Sept. 17-Oct. 2
Holiday Antlerless-Only Dec. 24-Jan. 2