For eight years now, the number of deer harvested in Iowa has dropped.
In 2006, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported their highest number of deer harvested at 153,000. Since then it has steadily dropped. All the way down to 99,400 deer this past season.
But what’s the reason?
Ben Bergman is a DNR Conservation Officer.
He told us, “If you go back to 2006, that was the peak of our harvest, the peak of our license sales we really liberalized antler-less sales at the time and hunters hit and harvest those does real hard at that time.”
Since then, 50% of does have been harvested every year, decreasing the herd.
The herd isn’t the only thing that’s decreased, license sales are also way down.
“This year we’re down 5% compared to last year which equates to about 19,000 licenses and you know you look at it when you have the herd reduced the opportunity available for deer as last our antlerless quotas our last so the opportunity to get licenses for antler less deer is less and being as cold as it was you know who wants to be out and about in the stuff,” said Bergman.
That’s another factor, it has been one of the coldest winters on record, and some hunters chose to stay inside.
Cindy Roberts is a local hunter and owner of the archery shop, “Gismos and Gadgets” in Mason City.
She was deterred by the cold at times and has seen deer numbers drop. But she says business is as good as ever.
“The population being down there’s going to be less deer taken but as for the sport itself, there’s a lot of people still coming in and buying archery,” said Roberts.
As for the sport of hunting, Bergman says it will stabilize itself in the years to come, and Roberts plans to carry on as usual.