Hunters in Iowa killed 101,397 deer this past season.
Iowa DNR wildlife researcher Tyler Harms says that’s about 3,000 fewer than in the 2015-16 season, but nearly identical to the harvest from two years ago.
“We’ve been holding right around that 100,000 mark for the last few years, which to us is a good sign – indicative of a stable deer population in Iowa,” Harms says.
A big factor in the lower numbers this past year was unseasonably warm weather early in the season, according to Harms. He admits some hunters are a frustrated they aren’t seeing as many deer as they’d like. “What we’re hearing, overall statewide, is hunters are pretty pleased with the numbers,” Harms says. “Obviously, that’s going to change depending on specific areas in the state.”
The deer population in southeast Iowa, for example, has decreased. That’s due in large part to a disease outbreak known as EHD. “That area was hit pretty hard with epizootic hemorrhagic disease a couple years ago, which can have some pretty drastic impacts on local population,” Harms says.
The Iowa DNR has a goal to manage for a deer population that can provide a harvest of between 100,000 and 120,000 deer each year, based on the recommendations agreed upon by a state deer task force.
Around 170,000 hunters took part in the latest deer season. Harms says deer hunting license sales have been “stable” over the last 5 to 6 years.