Is Iowa Deer Hunting In Trouble?

Iowa’s deer harvest declined for the seventh straight year, by about five percent compard to last season, as hunters adjust to the smaller herd and fewer antlerless tags.

Hunters reported 115,606 deer to the harvest reporting system for the 2012 season, a decline of nearly 5 percent. The total is down 23 percent from its high in 2006.

Deer hunters purchased 378,447 licenses, nearly 14,500 fewer than in 2011, due to the elimination of the three-day November antlerless season, a shortening of the January antlerless season, and reduced antlerless license quotas in some counties.

“Hunters are doing their part to help us manage the deer herd by judiciously using available antlerless tags in counties were we would like to reduce the population, and by working with landowners to be more selective in other areas,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of Wildlife for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Deer hunting seasons stretch from September to middle January, providing different types of hunting opportunities to Iowa hunters.

Deer hunting is also big business in Iowa, providing an economic impact of nearly $214 million, paying more than $15 million in federal taxes and nearly $15 million in state taxes. It supports more than 2,800 jobs, and provides more than $67 million in earnings.

The harvest data will be used as a consideration when the DNR begins the process of discussing hunting seasons later this winter.