Tuesday, June 23, 2009

IOWA NEWS: Municipality Allows Public Bow Hunting to Reduce Deer Numbers

Beginning later this summer, qualified Johnston residents concerned about a high deer population in the city will be able to take matters into their own hands.

As in past years, the city of Johnston is making plans to allow bow hunting in the community between September and January. Under regulations that will be established by the City Council, some residents will be able to hunt deer in certain locations inside city limits.

City administrator Jim Sanders said city staff members have been fielding increased concerns this year about the local deer population.

"The primary concerns are damage caused to plants and gardens, and concerns about deer near the traveled portion of roadways," Sanders said.

The specific dates for this year's hunt will be established by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and the council will determine in August or September the areas in which hunting will be allowed, Sanders said.

According to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, deer hunters harvested about 4,000 fewer deer in the most recent season than during the previous season's harvesting of 142,194 statewide.

On its Web site, the Polk County Conservation Board reports deer populations are reaching threatening levels in some parts of the county. When deer populations exceed 20 deer per square mile, overuse of the natural vegetation can lead to destruction of the forest understory, and without a native vegetative habitat, many other species of wildlife may not be able to remain in the area.

In addition to wildlife-related concerns and property damage, deer-vehicle collisions have increased by two-thirds in Polk County during the past 20 years, resulting in greater numbers of personal injuries and higher costs to repair and replace vehicles involved in those collisions, the conservation site said.

Johnston joins Urbandale, West Des Moines, Des Moines, Clive, Pleasant Hill and Polk County in allowing bow hunting in city limits during a designated time frame, Sanders added.

According to permit regulations for last year's hunt, applicants for bow hunting in Johnston must be at least 18 years old and meet the following requirements:

- Possess a valid deer-hunting license from the DNR

- Pass an approved International Bow Hunters' Education Foundation safety education course

- Pass a bow-hunting proficiency test with a score of at least 80 of a total 100 points

- Obtain written permission from the owner of the private property on which he or she wants to hunt. The property must be located within a "deer-management zone" as established by resolution of the City Council.

- Take all bow and arrow shots from an elevated stand and shoot no further than 75 feet

- Refrain from shooting within 300 feet of any street, road, school or electrical facility; within 200 feet of a home or building; or within 100 feet of any recreational trail or bike path.

- Recover and remove all deer carcasses shot

- Follow Iowa DNR hunting guidelines

- Adhere to designated shooting hours, a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset

- Refrain from stalking or driving deer

- Wear a blaze-orange hat when entering and exiting the hunting area, and carry the bow in a case to and from the stand

- Report to the city all deer taken within city limits.

Source: DesMoines Register

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