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Iowa Senate bill would aim to thin deer herd

IARN — A bill in the Iowa Senate would alter deer hunting regulations and require a new study of deer population in the state.

Senate File 464 was introduced by Republican State Senator Ken Rozenboom of Oskaloosa. The proposal, which cleared a subcommittee on Wednesday, would change a number of deer hunting regulations and would require the DNR to study deer populations and environmental impacts in each county.

Rozenboom says the bill would allow the state to establish a special antlerless season for each county where there are unsold deer tags after the close of the late muzzleloader season in January. The extra season would allow hunters to use high-powered rifles to fill antlerless tags.

“In Appanoose County — one of my counties — the DNR’s target was to have 2,700 deer taken this past year, but only 2,200 were taken,” said Rozenboom. “So, that’s 500 deer that are out there. We know that we have to control those antlerless deer to ultimately control the population.”

Another provision of the bill would lower the cost of a deer depredation permit, which allows landowners or hunters with landowner permission to get tags for deer that are deemed a nuisance to a property. Matthew Steinfeldt lobbied on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau. He says they are in support of a smaller overall deer herd in Iowa.

“Our members believe that Iowa should pursue a smaller overall deer population,” said Steinfeldt. “In particular, we appreciate the improvements to the deer depredation program. We believe that this bill will help Iowa’s landowners and farmers better be able to protect their property from deer damage.”

Democratic State Senator Bill Dotzler of Waterloo voted against the measure in subcommittee and said he objects to the use of high-powered rifles for the added antlerless season. The bill is also opposed by the Iowa Conservation Alliance.

The bill now heads to the full Senate Ways and Means Committee for consideration.

Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network

Photo by Daniel Johnston/Flickr

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