Hunters reported harvesting 121,407 deer in Iowa during the 2011-12 seasons, which is 4.5 percent lower than the 127,094 deer reported in 2010-11. To date, Iowa’s deer population has been reduced by 30 percent from its peak in 2006, and is still declining.
“Deer numbers in many areas are near or below the department’s objective,” said Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau. “We are hearing complaints from hunters that they are not seeing the number of deer that they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far.”
The DNR will review the harvest and population surveys this spring and make proposals to reduce the deer kill and stabilize deer where deer numbers are at or below the goal. Current data indicates that it will be necessary to adjust the antlerless quota and season structure to stabilize declining deer numbers.
In areas where deer numbers have not reached the department’s goal, hunters will still have the option to kill extra does. Many of these areas are near cities and towns where hunting is restricted due to safety or in southern Iowa where hunting pressure is lower.
There were 392,930 deer licenses issued during 2011-12, down slightly from the previous year’s total of 394,298. Does were the majority (52 percent) of the reported harvest for the seventh consecutive year.