Hunters shot 4,100 more deer this year than were taken the year before. Iowa Department of Natural Resources spokesman Tyler Harms says a total of 105,554 deer were shot with bows, shotguns, pistols and muzzleloaders.
“The important thing is that we are hovering right around that 100,000 mark — which is what we aim for in terms of a harvest goal and a population goal,” Harms says. Harms says the 4% increase in the number of deer taken comes with fewer hunters seeking a chance to shoot them.
“We did see a little bit of a drop in the license sales for both the shotgun seasons, despite seeing an increase in harvest,” Harms says. “So, what that tells me is hunters were able to spend more time in the field to ensure a successful harvest. And if you think about the weather during those seasons in early December — the weather was very favorable.” He says good weather was a bonus.
“It was easy for hunters to spend a lot of time in the field.” Hunters shot more than 57,522 does and 47,992 bucks by the time the final deer season ended January 10th. Harms says those numbers help keep the population in balance.
“The population is right where we’d like to see it. Like I said before, our goal from a harvest standpoint is to hover right around 100,00 to120,00,” according Harms. “We are kind of at the bottom of that range, but still within an acceptable population level at least from out standpoint and related to our goal.” He says they get a lot of feedback from hunters when it comes to population.
“Not surprisingly we do hear from hunters all over the state every year. Some areas of the state we hear that populations might be a little bit below what hunters would like to see. Other areas of the state hunters seem to be pretty pleased with the population,” Harm says. “And that’s not unexpected, we do expect to see regional differences, even local differences in population numbers.” Harms says that’s why they’ve gone to a more local approach in tracking the deer population numbers.
Tissue samples were taken during the deer season to test the animals for Chronic Wasting Disease. Harms says they are still waiting to get those results back.