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DNR to host western Iowa deer population meeting in July 18 in Cherokee

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The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is hosting eight meetings in Western Iowa to discuss the status of the region’s deer herd as population levels have fallen in recent years.

Locally, the meeting will be held July 18, at the Community Center Auditorium, in Cherokee, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The meeting is open to the public.

State wildlife experts say there are likely multiple factors that have contributed to the decline in the number of deer on the landscape and it might take a multilevel approach for the herd to recover. 

“With the hindsight we have today, we can look back and realize that too much doe harvest was encouraged for too long in western Iowa. Significant outbreaks of hemorrhagic disease over the last decade have not helped populations recover, and changes in land cover resulting in less habitat makes deer more vulnerable to harvest,” said Jace Elliott, state deer biologist with the Iowa DNR. “This population decline impacts roughly one-fifth of the state so we are encouraging hunters and landowners to come to the meetings and give us their feedback. Every voice counts.”

The goal of these meetings is to move forward with a plan the department can execute and that hunters will support, he said.

“Deer hunting is one of Iowa’s most recreationally and economically important traditions. Our goal is to manage deer numbers at a level that is acceptable to our citizens and that supports a quality hunting experience,” Elliott said.

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