Public meetings tonight (Tuesday) to discuss hunting/trapping changes

Ag/Outdoor, News, Sports

March 6th, 2012 by Ric Hanson

Iowans have a chance tonight (Tuesday) to express their opinions about several proposed changes in hunting and trapping regulations for next fall. Perhaps the biggest change would apply to deer hunters. Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner says some areas of the state have too many deer, but other areas have dropped below or near department goals. “We would like to reduce the antlerless tags to stabilize the herd,” Garner said.

The proposed changes involve shortening the length of the January deer hunting season, eliminating the November antlerless season altogether and changing the early muzzleloader season to reduce the harvest in the antlerless portion of the deer herd. The proposals are meant to satisfy the concerns of hunters who believe deer reduction efforts have gone too far. The DNR estimates deer numbers in Iowa are down 30% compared to a high mark in 2006. Iowa hunters, during the recent 2011-12 deer hunting seasons, killed 121,407 deer — down 4.5% from the previous year. Changes are proposed for waterfowl hunting and trapping as well.

“We’re looking to potentially increase quotas for both otters and bobcats,” Garner said. “For migratory birds, we have an opportunity to possibly add a (third) zone to the state, which will impact us for four years, so this is a chance for people to think about what that might do.” The possible changes will be discussed during public meetings tonight from 6 to 9 p.m. at 18 locations across the state. The list of possible changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Portals/idnr/uploads/Hunting/proposed_changes2012.pdf

In our area, the public meetings will be held in: Carroll, at the Carroll High School; in Council Bluffs, at Abraham Lincoln High School; in Creston, at the Creston High School, and in Onawa, at the Onawa-West Monona Junior/Senior High School.

(Pat Curtis/Radio Iowa & Ric Hanson/KJAN)