The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting public meetings tonight to discuss possible changes in the hunting and trapping regulations for this fall.
The changes would affect deer and waterfowl hunters as well as hunters and trappers who pursue bobcats and otters. Proposed changes would stabilize deer numbers in some areas, potentially add a third zone for waterfowl and increase the harvest number of otters and bobcats.
The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf 
“These meetings are part of the new process instituted by Governor Branstad last year for making rules in state government,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the wildlife bureau. “Any changes must be discussed with Iowa’s citizens who might be impacted by the changes. The new process helps ensure that rule changes serve the public’s wishes and do not unnecessarily impact Iowa’s economy.
“The regulation changes for deer would allow deer numbers to stabilize in areas of the state where numbers have been reduced to the department’s goal while still allowing hunters to harvest extra does in areas of the state where numbers need to be reduced,” Garner said. “Without these changes deer numbers in some areas of the state will continue to decline and Iowa will lose its standing as one of the best states for hunting whitetail deer. Failure to make these changes could adversely affect rural areas since deer hunters spend nearly $200 million annually.”
The proposed changes for the waterfowl season are due to a change by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which now allow states to have three zones and a split waterfowl season.
“We surveyed waterfowl hunters twice in the past year and there appears to be increased interest in a third zone,” said Garner. “We need to continue these discussions to decide if this is what hunters really want to see for the next four years.”
Meetings will be held March 6, from 6 to 9 p.m. in the following cities: Ames, Burlington, Carroll, Centerville, Clear Lake, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Creston, Decorah, Fort Dodge, Johnston, La Porte City, Marshalltown, Middle Amana, Onawa, Ottumwa, Peosta, Sheldon and Spencer. Complete addresses along with the proposed regulation changes are on the DNR’s website at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting.aspx .
For those who cannot make the meeting, comments can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org .