Twenty-Two Counties to See Changes in Antlerless Deer Quotas

The Iowa DNR is proposing that 11 Iowa counties have their antlerless deer quotas increased and 11 have their quotas decreased, in its 2017-2018 resident deer hunting rule.

The rule's Notice of Intended Action was approved in a special conference call with Natural Resource Commission members March 10. The DNR will take public comments through May 2. The NRC is expected to approve the proposal at its May 11 meeting in Des Moines.

The DNR is proposing to increase the county-specific antlerless quotas in 11 mostly northeastern Iowa counties due to concerns Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease and Chronic Wasting Disease, or "...where population numbers have exceeded social and biological tolerance levels [Dallas County]." The DNR proposed to decrease the number of antlerless quotas in 11 other counties, mostly southern, western and central Iowa (see map). Green counties are being increased and the peach counties are being decreased.

The Iowa DNR proposes to increase county antleress deer quotas in the 11 "green" counties and decrease the quotas in 11 "peach" counties.

Antlerless deer tags are the primary deer population control tool.

Counties that sold out antlerless tags last year and that would benefit from more harvest impact are having tags added to their quota, while counties that undersold last year and would benefit from less impact are having tags reduced, the DNR says. The changes are designed to keep Iowa’s white-tailed deer herd at a level consistent with that in the mid-1990’s, which sustains an annual harvest of 100,000-120,000 deer. The harvest last year was 101,397, down 4 percent from the previous year.

"Although these changes will result in a net decrease of 2,425 available deer tags, roughly 10,000 of 2016’s tags were never claimed, so the reduction is actually less than last year’s surplus. In response to this surplus, and due to the need to allocate hunter harvest efforts differently, DNR actually expects these quota changes to result in the sale of approximately 1,793 more tags," the DNR says.

Iowans can comment on the proposal or before May 2. Written comments may be directed to the Department of Natural Resources, Chris Ensminger, Wildlife Bureau, Wallace State Office Building, 502 E. 9th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0034; by e-mail at; or by fax at (515) 725-8201. Persons may also call Ensminger at (515) 725-8499. There will also be a public hearing on May 2 at 11:30 a.m., in the 4W Conference Room of the Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines. The proposed rule is expected to be finalized at the May 11 NRC meeting in Des Moines.

The complete March 10 NRC agenda item can be found at this link.

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