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Iowa deer harvest falls slightly below 2008 level

From the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

-- The reported Iowa deer harvest is running about 4,000 behind the 2008 numbers, but the remaining deer seasons are likely to shrink that gap, say wildlife experts.

Hunters still have the late muzzleloader season, the nonresident holiday antlerless season and the January antlerless season in which to participate.

"The number of female deer taken is the critical measure and it is only about 2,000 lower. We expect the overall harvest to inch lower since we have fewer deer," said Willie Suchy, supervisor for the DNR's wildlife research section.

Suchy said he has received a few inquiries about the DNR extending the shotgun season, like in 2007, but that scenario will likely never happen again.

"The 2007 shotgun seasons were a unique with severe winter weather impacting hunter participation on the weekends in both seasons and the harvest numbers were well below projections. Our just completed second shotgun season had the highest harvest ever for the last weekend of the season, since reporting started four years ago," he said. "Extending the season like we did in 2007 is less likely to be needed as deer numbers are close to the department's goals in many counties in the state."

Hunters who are looking to harvest a deer can enjoy pursuing Iowa's premier big game through the end of January.

"The late muzzleloader just started and runs through Jan. 10.  After that the January antlerless season begins and runs until the end of January. There are still plenty of antlerless licenses available in many of these counties where the extra harvest is needed," he said.

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