The Iowa DNR released the harvest report for the 2011 deer season. Approximately 250,000 hunters reported tagging nearly 113,000 deer statewide. This harvest number is down about 4% from last year and down 21% from the peak harvest in 2006. The number of hunters has stayed steady since 2006.
In a DNR press release Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau, stated, “The reduced kill is a result of the reduced deer population. Deer numbers in many areas are near the established goal. We continue to hear complaints from hunters that they did not see the number of deer that they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far.”
The DNR has been using the issuing of bonus antlerless only tags to lower the deer populations in certain areas of the state. The quota of bonus tags issued for each county is based on DNR population counts. In counties where the DNR feels the overall population needs reduced they issued more tags.
Most of the hunters I spoke with in Woodbury County are among those who have expressed concerns about the decrease in deer populations. They wondered if the DNR’s issuing of bonus antlerless only tags has gone too far in this area. Bob Farmer of Kingsley comments parallel many of the area deer hunters, “I think those who say there are too many deer aren’t the same ones who are trying to kill one.”
This past season saw the normal amount of personal injury reports. The 2011 deer season saw the DNR investigating 28 incidents. 20 were involving injuries and 8 involving property damage. There were no deaths due to hunting accidents in 2011. This is down from the 1 death in 2010. The 10 year average for incidents is 20-24.