Wildlife Damage Management Overview

The DNR is responsible for managing Iowa’s wildlife, and thus has a duty to provide Iowa landowners with assistance when dealing with property damage from wildlife. Landowners faced with significant damage should explore the following options:

1. Seek Professional Consultation
- A wildlife biologist can provide guidance on how to better utilize fencing, repellants, and other deterrents to keep the animals from continuing to damage the property and/or crops.

2. Increase Hunting Pressure
- Iowa law allows the DNR to issue additional hunting licenses and permits to individuals that endure, or are likely to endure, excessive damage from deer. Landowners may want to work with neighbors to coordinate “block hunts” to more effectively solve the problem.

Block hunt - provides a remedy for landowners experiencing substantial damage from wildlife that spend a majority of time on a neighboring lot.

Depreciation Management Plans

Interested landowners or tenants will need to meeting with a depredation biologist to evaluate the amount and type of damage done by the wild animals.

- If a landowner or tenant can show substantial damage (at least $1,000) they can enter into a depredation management agreement with the DNR. These plans are written for a 3 year term, but should be reviewed annually. The ultimate goal is to reduce the deer population to a point at which damage is no longer substantial and the population can be controlled with normal hunting pressure.

Substantial Damage - must be harm to agricultural crops or high-value horticultural crops within a single growing season. Can be proven by past, present, or even anticipated losses.

Depredation plans allow the DNR to issue the following:

Depredation Licenses
- Issued to individual hunters (including landowner or tenant) with permission to hunt on the damaged lands and/or the immediately adjacent lands
- Sold at regular antlerless deer license fee
- One license= valid for only one season
- Only valid for antlerless deer (does)
- Hunter may keep the deer once they are tagged and reported

Shooting Permits
- Issued to landowners or tenants at no cost, but $2 fee if permit is used
- Only valid for taking deer outside of the regular hunting seasons
- All deer killed must be recovered and processed for human consumption (can be kept to eat or donated to HUSH)
- Any antlers must be turned over to conservation officer within 48 hours

* Harvest limits for both will be set by the department biologist and outlined in the written plan.
** Obtaining either will have no effect on one’s eligibility for other hunting licenses and/or permits.

More info on the DNR website:  Click here to view the .PDF file. 

Disclaimer: This document is intended for general informational purposes only and is not meant to provide legal advice for your specific situation or to infer an attorney-client relationship. Please contact your legal representative with any questions regarding your rights and available options. This document was last updated March 20, 2014 and may not reflect the most recent changes in the law. For additional information, contact your county Farm Bureau office.