Maintaining a balance

Thursday, October 5, 2006

According to state environmental officials, hunters heading to the woods this fall will find fewer deer than in years past.

Iowa hunters killed an estimated 211,601 deer last year, topping the 200,000 threshold for the first time.

For the third straight year, more does than bucks were killed. That helps reduce the size of the state's deer herd while increasing a hunter's chance of bagging a trophy buck. Last weekend was the opening weekend of the state's bow-hunting season. As many as 30,000 bow hunters were expected to be in the field.

Many farmers who battle the damage caused by deer every year and anyone who has been involved in a vehicle collision with a deer, may find it difficult to see any need to slow down on the harvest of deer, yet a balance does need to be maintained.

There have been many years when the deer were under harvested in Iowa and state environmental officials are not yet sounding any alarms that we have gone too far the other way.

The existence of any deer at all poses potential nuisance problems for farmers and motorists but few would advocate the elimination of them from the state.

Adjustments in hunting season length and the number of any sex licenses need to be based on an evaluation of long term needs rather than the immediate desires of hunters and other citizens.