Deer hunters reported harvesting 101,397 deer during the 2016 Iowa deer hunting season, which is about 3,000 fewer than were reported in 2015, but nearly identical to the 2014 harvest.
“This harvest is consistent with our management goals and is indicative of a stable deer population in Iowa,” said Tyler Harms, wildlife researcher with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters participating in the early deer seasons battled unseasonably warm weather, a significant factor that likely contributed to the lower overall harvest. Hunters in the early muzzleloader season reported 600 fewer deer and youth hunters reported 400 fewer deer than the 2015 season.
The Iowa DNR has a goal to manage for a deer population that can provide a harvest of between 100,000 and 120,000 deer each year, based on the recommendations agreed upon by the state deer task force.
In 2005, the DNR working in collective agreement with the Legislature and stakeholders to develop a plan to reduce the deer herd to the levels found in the middle 1990s. This state deer task force continues to meet annually prior to any deer season or license quota recommendations are proposed.
“We will continue to monitor Iowa’s deer population and may adjust management efforts locally in response to varying conditions in different areas of the state,” Harms said.