Why is One of America’s Top Deer Hunting Destinations Seeing Declines?

For the first time since the mid-1990s, Iowa’s deer harvest for an entire season has dropped below 100,000 deer reported to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Kamryn Vogel was one of more than 99,000 hunters who reported killing a buck in Iowa during the 2013 season.

Kamryn Vogel was one of more than 99,000 hunters who reported killing a buck in Iowa during the 2013 season.

Hunters reported 99,406 deer during the 2013 season. That is a decline of 14 percent from 2012, and 34 percent from its high in 2006. The 2012 reported deer harvest was 115,606.

“Hunters responded when we asked them to reduce the size of the herd, but now we are encouraging them to work with landowners and base their harvest decisions on local herd conditions,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of Wildlife for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

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

Deer hunters purchased 359,956 licenses, also a decline from the previous year. The 2013 purchase total is nearly 18,500 fewer than in 2012.

Deer hunting in Iowa provides 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.

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