Deer harvest experiences 16 percent drop
Hunting in southeast Iowa dropped.
The first deer statewide hunting season harvest — which started Dec. 7 and went until the 11th — was down 16 percent for the first season. The second shotgun season runs from Dec. 14-22.
The current season numbers were not available at press time.
“Those seasons are what we call the gun seasons for deer,” said Bill Ohde, Southeast District Wildlife supervisor. “We go up with slug guns and muzzleloaders, which are legal too.”
A huge contributing factor for the drop in hunting was the lack of people hunting deer.
“Part of that was because license sales were down,” Ohde said. “That accounted for some of that.”
The drop in number of licenses was influenced by the drop in deer.
“That has basically been by design,” Ohde said. “Our antler licenses are designed to reduce the deer population, and they have been doing that.”
He said with fewer deer the number of hunters is likely to go down.
Hunters are required to buy a new deer license every year.
Most deer never get weighed, so there was no number available for the heaviest kill.
“We have got a number of seasons,” Ohde said. “We still have an antlerless season in some counties and a later muzzleloader opens up on Monday. That runs through Jan. 10. We have an antlerless season in January.”
The muzzleloader gun is a popular weapon for game. It is well-known for its pristine accuracy.
“It is considered a primitive weapon,” Ohde said. “It is shot with black powder. People would typically think of them as muskets like during the Civil War. They are loaded through the muzzle of the gun.”
The gun’s strength could also be considered its weakness because it only allows you to shoot rounds one at a time.
“Yes, it is (a popular weapon),” said. “They are very accurate. The big thing is you can only shoot one bullet at a time. Shotguns you might have three to five in a clip.”
There are special seasons for muzzleloaders that shortens the field of hunters during that time, according to Ohde.
The epizootic hemorrhagic disease has killed off some of the deer.
“We had a disease e.h.d., that was in southeast Iowa, that was late summer, so that threw an unknown in there,” Ohde said. “We lost some deer but don’t know exactly how many. It took a toll.”