Deer hunters reported harvesting 142,194 deer in Iowa during the 2008-09 hunting seasons, which is 4,020 deer fewer than in the 2007-08 seasons. The majority of the decrease was due to fewer antlered bucks and buck fawns in the reported harvest.
"We are starting to see the harvest reflect what we have been seeing in our deer herd analyses, that the number of deer across the majority of Iowa has declined," said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "Hunters have been great at responding to the need to harvest more does in areas where deer numbers are still above objectives."
Statewide, deer populations have been reduced an estimated 25 percent. In some Wildlife Management Units, populations have been reduced substantially more and deer numbers may even be below desired levels in some localized areas, mainly in northwest and north central Iowa.
For the fourth consecutive year, the reported doe harvest outnumbered the buck harvest, this year by 53 percent to 47 percent. Overall, 74,758 does were taken, compared to 51,710 antlered bucks and 15,726 button bucks.
Litchfield said the deer harvest was actually higher than the reported harvest because the estimated compliance with the reporting requirement was 86 percent, based on calculations from field sampling. Factoring in those non-reported deer, the estimated harvest for 2008-09 is 165,350.
The reported deer harvest is available by county on-line at www.iowadnr.gov , then click on Hunting and Wildlife, then on Harvest by County under the Deer Information section in the navigation bar on the left.