New Survey Asks Bowhunters for Help

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is asking a select group of Iowa bowhunters count the number of deer and furbearers they see while hunting as part of a survey to help with population estimates and promote better management of the deer herd. About 9,000 bowhunters will be contacted about the survey.

The survey asks bowhunters when and where they hunted, how many hours they hunted and the number of animals they see. The list of species includes deer, bobcats, coyotes, red and gray foxes, raccoons, opossums, skunks, badgers, house cats and river otters. Bowhunters are asked to record this information for each bow hunting trip.

The survey will only be sent to a randomly selected group of bowhunters who have purchased a bow hunting license each year from 2001 to 2003. The survey will be mailed out in late September.

"Bowhunters are the most suitable for this type of survey because the methods they use while hunting are ideal for viewing not only deer, but also furbearers," said Steve Roberts, wildlife biologist with the DNR's Boone Research Station.

Roberts is hopeful that the survey data will help fill in the gaps from the 20-year decline in the number of trappers. Other states, like Wisconsin, Ohio, New York, Missouri and Virginia are using similar surveys to estimated deer and furbearer population trends.

A summary of the 2004 survey and the survey results will be posted on the Iowa DNR's website at