Urbandale Plans to Control Deer Population with Special Hunt

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URBANDALE, Iowa - Deer are a growing concern in the city of Urbandale.

In 2014 the Polk County Deer Task Force did an aerial survey and during that survey it showed eighty-five deer per square mile and they recommend 30 so we have quite a bit of deer in the city of Urbandale.

Katherine Howsare lives in Urbandale and understands the problem, but also noted that it's the deer who may have been there first. "We are urban sprawling.  It's our fault.  We knew that when we moved out here, that it was going to be a continuing battle."

But with numbers so large, the deer population is having an impact on car wrecks on city roads.  Officer Dobbins said,"Public works division picked up over thirty deer last year believed to be related to deer accidents as well."

Not only has the growing deer population caused hazards on the roads, home ownwers are going to added lengths to protect the plants in their own yard.  The deer especially love Howsare's strawberry's. "This is the third iteration of our preventative measures."

To combat the issues the Urbandale City Council has once again voted to allow a special controlled bow hunting season from September 19th of 2015-January 10th of 2016 on antler-less deer.
Mayor Bob Andweg said, "We are trying to do a fine balance between the harvesting and hunting of the deer and the safety of our residents ."

The city code in Urbandale requires hunters in a tree stand up to 75 feet high and to be at least 200 feet from residential homes and at least 100 feet from roads or trails. "The areas you can hunt in Urbandale are fairly limited because of the radius restrictions," said Mayor Andeweg.
Some avid bow hunters, like Greg Townsend, say they use the special season to benefit much more than the city of Urbandale.  "Most of us bow hunters will donate the deer to pantries and needy people that need food."

While the idea of hunting within the city limits of a Des Moines suburb can be worrisome, safety is still the city's top priority.
Officer Dobbins said, "We have high safety standards for these guys.  The bows have to be encased to and from the stand."

Quite simply, Mayor Andeweg hopes to keep Urbandale roads safe by limiting the potential of deer related accidents.  He said, "As we have natural areas within the city for the deer it does create a hazard for motorists especially, we want to have an effective program that still protects our residents as they drive.

Hunters must complete an IDNR safety course and pass a proficiency test before they are allowed to hunt within the city.  In the 17 years of the urban hunt, Urbandale has had zero safety incidents.