Hunters and trappers across the state will get a chance later this week to weigh in on possible new regulations for this fall. Willy Suchy, Wildlife Research Supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says a new process in being used this year as public meetings are taking place before any rule changes are proposed.
“In the past, we’ve had it after we’ve gotten initial recommendations,” Suchy says. “Now we’re being asked to try to involve stakeholders as much as possible prior to coming up regulation changes.”
The Iowa DNR will host public meetings over the Iowa Communications Network on Thursday (March 7) from 6 to 9 p.m. Suchy expects hunters will have a few concerns.
“Number one is the number of deer and where we’re at,” Suchy says. “Are we shooting too many? Are we shooting too few?” Deer numbers in some parts of Iowa are at their lowest point in a decade.
DNR staff members will facilitate a discussion at each meeting site and Suchy the topics covered will be up to those who attend. “It’s up to whoever wants to come and talk to us. We’re there to record the comments and then we’ll use that, plus our harvest survey information, to come up with some good recommendations to take to the Natural Resource Commission,” Suchy said.
Any rule changes must be approved by the Natural Resource Commission and then go back to the public for further comment before taking effect next fall.
The ICN meetings this Thursday night will be held in Boone, Calmar, Cedar Falls, Chariton, Clinton, Council Bluffs, Creston, Dubuque, Fort Dodge, Johnston, Marshalltown, Mason City, Ottumwa, Sac City, Sergeant Bluff, Sheldon, Spencer, Tiffin and West Burlington.
Complete ICN locations are available online at: www.iowadnr.gov/hunting.