Park Hunt Plans Proceed

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Plans for proposed deer hunts will move ahead after state park and wildlife bureau staff from the Department of Natural Resources heard from residents around Lake Macbride and Palisades-Kepler State Parks, Monday evening in Solon. A crowd of 40 heard DNR depredation biologist Greg Harris and district park supervisors Tom Basten and Jerry Reisinger provide an outline for a restricted bow hunt at Macbride, near Solon, and Palisades-Kepler, near Mount Vernon.

They cited vegetation damage in the parks; particularly deer 'browse lines' indicating the disappearance of understory plants. Research by the USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service indicates virtually no regrowth of white oak trees at Macbride, despite it being the dominant tree species.

Most in the crowd generally approved the idea of bow hunters, though a couple speakers questioned the safety of other park users during hunting periods. Several also suggested considering shotgun hunters at Palisades-Kepler, especially as Iowa's December shotgun season was underway. "We had a lot of comments from people with different perspectives; hunters, nonhunters, landowners," noted Basten. "From here, we can review those comments and concerns before we make our proposal to the Natural Resource Commission. The Commission will determine whether the hunts would be approved."

In the 2004-05 Iowa deer seasons, 28 special hunts were held in state and county parks, urban areas and rural areas near cities where high deer counts had been documented.