Wednesday, May 31, 2006

IOWA NEWS: 2005 Season A Record Harvest

State wildlife officials said Tuesday that hunters have made a record dent in Iowa's deer population.

A recently compiled deer hunting survey estimates 17,000 more whitetail deer — 210,000 — were killed during the fall and winter deer hunting seasons of 2005-2006 than in the previous season.

"This is one of those times that what we planned to accomplish and what happened were the same thing," said deer biologist Willie Suchy with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

In the last few years, pressure from Iowa legislators prompted natural resources officials to increase the number of antlerless-only deer hunting licenses, targeted mostly at female deer, available. Legislators were responding to complaints from the state's insurance industry and the public because of increased vehicle-deer accidents, and from farmers who said deer were destroying their crops.

State biologists have estimated Iowa's deer kill is up from approximately 193,000 the previous hunting season. As a result, there will be fewer antlerless deer licenses offered for the 2006-2007 seasons.

"The proposal that goes to the Natural Resources Commission next week will reduce antlerless deer quotas in north-central and northwest Iowa," Suchy said. "In southern Iowa, it looks like the harvest started to bring deer numbers down and began to level them off. If we can do that for a couple of years, we will see deer numbers reduced enough in southern Iowa."

Northeast Iowa still has a higher-than-wanted population in some areas, officials said.

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