Iowa Deer Population: An estimated 445,000 deer in 2020. About the same in 2021, 460,000 in 2019, and 475,000 deer in 2018. A downward deer population trend from 2006, but about stable in 2015 after a mild winter and early spring, and into 2017. Starting in 2014, a reduced number of antlerless licenses were issued to help stabilize the herd. The population peaked at about 650,000 in 2006. Herd analysis at right.
Midwest states vary in how they handle risk of lead in venison donated to food banks June 6, 2022 Iowa, Missouri Independent
... Iowa stands out among Midwestern states in requiring a label warning about the potential hazard of lead ammunition and the fragments it can leave behind in shot-harvested game meat like venison. Donated venison in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska come with no similar warning label...
Fawning season is here, deer are on the move May 31, 2022 Iowa, DNR News
... The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will not be rehabbing or co-mingling fawns with other deer to avoid the potential of spreading chronic wasting disease – or other disease - to new areas..,
Bill to create new deer hunting season, with AR-15s May 24,2022 Iowa, Radio Iowa
... The range that I’m familiar with this type of weapon and round is ... about two and a half miles ... bill also calls on the Iowa Insurance Division, the Iowa DOT, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa State University to complete a study of the state’s deer herd by the fall of 2023...
New Ambassadors Sought to Help Fight Chronic Wasting Disease in Iowa White-tailed Deer May 17, 2022 Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
... Chronic Wasting Disease “ambassadors” will be trained in the science-based management of CWD, both prevention and testing, and how to educate others within their community by wildlife biologists from Iowa State and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Participants can include hunters and non-hunters, community members and anyone interested in wildlife conservation...
State lawmakers vote to lower illegal deer hunting fines April 6, 2022 Iowa, who13.com
... would lower the fine of unlawfully killing an antlerless deer from $1,500 to $500; and creates a statewide antlerless deer hunting season in February ...
Moose seen wandering around northwest Iowa dies March 30, 2022 Iowa, KEYC
... the cow-moose died of natural causes linked to aspiration pneumonia...
Five plead guilty in western Iowa poaching ring March 30, 2022 Iowa, Radio Iowa
... 48 wildlife charges against five people from western Iowa with nearly $83,000 in fines and liquidated damages... recovered many animals that had been taken illegally — including some 70 deer...
CWD, Two Appanoose County deer found to be diseased March 23, 2022 Iowa, Ottumwa Courier\
... Samples from 407 deer in Wayne have been tested as part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) effort to monitor for chronic wasting disease, resulting in 19 confirmed positives from the 2021-2022 hunting season. Two deer in Appanoose County also tested positive..,
Impressive displays at Deer Classic Times March 12, 2022 Iowa, Republican
... Regarding carrying capacity, the biologist noted that Iowa land could support a total population of four times as many deer as we now have ... From high deer population numbers of twenty years ago, the DNR now tries to manage hunters and hunting to keep the post hunt surviving breeding population of deer at about 300,000...
... To test the hypothesis that SARS-CoV-2 is circulating in deer, 283 retropharyngeal lymph node (RPLN) samples collected from 151 freeliving and 132 captive deer in Iowa from April 2020 through January of 2021 were assayed for the presence of SARS-CoV-2 RNA. Ninety-four of the 283 (33.2%) deer samples were positive for SARS-CoV-2 RNA as assessed by RT-PCR. Notably, following the November 2020 peak of human cases in Iowa, and coinciding withthe onset of winter and the peak deer hunting season, SARS-CoV-2 RNA was detected in 80 of 97 (82.5%) RPLN samples collected over a 7-wk period...
A 2018 Iowa population report (p,4) estimates the deer herd "is slightly increasing in 2018." Research published in 2019 estimated these average deer populations for the state for 2013-2017 using three different models. Averaging the three models for each year gives these estimates: 432,534 in 2012, 479,363 in 2013, 421,765 in 2014, 447,941 in 2015, 455,225 in 2016 and 440,356 in 2017. Interpreting graphical information from the state's 2018 report indicates about an 8 percent increase in the pre-fawn deer population, for a 2018 population of about 475,000.
Preliminary harvest data fell by more than 10 percent in 2019, but the spotlight survey for 2019 showed in increase of about 8 percent. Comments from state agents indicate a stable to declining population in 2019 after an outbreak of EHD in central Iowa reduced the herd somewhat. A 3 percent decline is used to reconcile this information for a rough estimate of 460,000 deer in 2019. The state survey shows a 3 percent decline in 2020 for a population of about 445,000 deer.
A downward trend into 2016 from 2006 when state lawmakers instructed the DNR to reduce the deer population. About stable in 2015 after a mild winter and early spring. In 2014, the state issued 10,000 fewer antlerless deer licenses in an effort to stabilize the population, no antlerless licenses in the northwest where deer populations have fallen dramatically. DNR maintained reduced antlerless licenses numbers for 2015, 2016 and 2017 to stabilize the population. The state issued a document around 2017 estimating the after hunt population at 400,000.
A state estimate of 425,000 - 435,000 deer in 2013, the deer herd had been on a planned decline since 2002. The long winter of 2013-14 further reduced the herd into 2014. Drought and EHD accelerated the decline in 2012. An estimate of 470,000 in 2010 and 13,000 in 1953. An estimate of 500,000 in 2009.
Iowa’s deer population peaked at about 650,000 in 2006 (data are all before the hunt). By 2014 the deer population had fallen back to levels of the 1990's. The 2015 population was about 33 percent below the 2009 population. The 2014 harvest was 39 percent below 2006 peak. In 1997 an estimated population of 300,000 deer after the 1996 harvest of over 100,000 deer. In 1990 about 200,000 whitetail deer in the state.
Chronic Wasting Disease A couple of cases in captive herds - one in Davis county in 2012. Later, 284 of the 356 captive deer at the Davis County hunting operation tested positive. The first wild deer tested positive in 2013 in Allamakee County, followed by three in 2014, two in 2015, twelve in 2016, and eight in 2017. In the 2018-19 hunting season, 14 cases. A total of 46 by early fall 2019 with two captive deer farms testing positive in late 2019. For the 2019-2020 hunting season 43 tested positive out of about 7,000 tested. A total of 91 positives by late 2020. For the 2020-21 season, 21 new positives for a total of 111. For the 2021-22 season, 36 positives from some 5,000 deer samples with two new counties, Greene County in central Iowa and Fremont County in southwest Iowa, bringing the total number of counties to 12.
History White-tailed deer were reported to be abundant when European settlers arrived in Iowa in the early 1800's.
Clearing and cultivating of land for agriculture initially improved habitat, but over hunting for food and hides rapidly reduced deer numbers. By 1880 deer were rarely sighted and in 1898 the deer season was closed. Deer had been virtually eliminated from all parts of the state by 1898. The herd was rebuilt by trapping and relocating deer from other states, and by natural immigration. In 1936 there were only 500 to 700 deer in the state. A 1947 survey put the number at 1,650. By 1950, about 10,000 deer. When hunting resumed in 1953 there were around 12,000 to 15,000 deer.