The Iowa Department of Natural Resources says there are fewer deer in the fields than there were in 2011, evidence that efforts to control the deer population are working.
It isn’t necessarily good news for sportsmen who will head to their deer stands in weather better suited for hanging Christmas lights.
At Scheels in West Des Moines, orange apparel and ammunition are flying off the shelves.
“Me, a buddy of mine, and his dad came up from Florida. We’re going hunting tomorrow morning,” said Tom Cushman.
“We’ve got stands up and are exciting about getting out there first thing in the morning before anyone else does,” Ricky Esplande told Channel 13 News.
Hunters are stocking up for shotgun deer season, and Kevin Baskins with the Iowa DNR says that each kill helps control Iowa’s deer population.
“Hunting is the main control we have for controlling the deer herd,” said Baskins.
It’s expected to be a busy season, but Baskins does not expect everyone will be fortunate enough to tag a deer.
“We’re expecting to see about 120,000 hunters statewide and have an anticipated harvest of about 40,000 deer this year.”
That’s one animal for every three hunters and 10% fewer deer in Iowa than in 2011.
Add the camouflage factor of a brown landscape, and hunters had better have a good eye and be a good shot.
“Snow would be something they’d rather have because it makes deer easier to spot,” Baskins told Channel 13 News.
Part of the reason there are fewer deer is a hemorrhaging disease the DNR says claimed more than 3,000 deer.
The disease claimed deer in 63 of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Many of those cases were reported in the central and southwestern part of the state.