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Carroll, IA 51401

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Deer Management in Iowa

Deer Management in Iowa

After several years of increasing deer numbers and the problems, those numbers caused for crops and natural vegetation, the first deer management hunt was conducted in Guthrie County at the Springbrook State Park. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources implemented an intensive study on the impact of the deer herds around the area.


In addition, surrounding communities had expressed their concerns about the number of deer and how they were damaging plants and gardens, along with an increase in the number of deer/vehicle collisions.


Waterloo, Iowa was the first community to institute a controlled hunt within city limits. It was limited to bow hunters and proved to be a success in reducing the number of deer in the area and keeping that number at a manageable level. The number of deer-related complaints subsequentially dropped.


DMZ in Iowa

As of January 2017, there were 18 communities and 25 county and state parks with some type of controlled hunting in Iowa. Some of the zones include:

  • deer management, urban huntsAmana
  • Ames
  • Bettendorf
  • Cedar Rapids
  • Clinton
  • Coralville/Johnson County
  • Davenport
  • Dubuque
  • Iowa Falls
  • Polk County
  • Marshalltown
  • Muscatine
  • Oskaloosa
  • Ottumwa


For a full list of zones, including season dates, the number of licenses available, type of hunting, and more click here for a list from the Iowa DNR. Some hunts are archery or muzzleloader only, while others include firearms, also. Please make sure you have the correct information before beginning a hunt.

Deer Management Hunt Process

There is a long process to having an urban deer management zone hunt approved. If you feel that your area could benefit from a hunt, please follow the procedure listed here. You'll first have to work with your community representatives to have all the information you need to proceed. Next, you'll have to have city council approval of ordinances. Next, you'll have to provide the request to depredation biologists in your area. Once that is completed, you'll need to submit a letter of intent to the bureau chief of the DNR. After that, you will have to wait for approval from the department commissioners. The entire process can take over a year to complete.


Deer Disease and Deer Management

In addition to the destruction that large numbers of deer can achieve, there are other reasons for having a deer management hunt. There are several diseases that the Iowa DNR monitors, with the main ones being Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), Hemorrhagic Disease/Bluetongue (HD), and Bovine Tuberculosis (TB).


CWD is a disease that attacks the brain of infected deer and elk. The animals lose weight, lose bodily functions, and show abnormal behavior. Signs you may see while observing an infected animal includes excessive salivation, listlessness, and drooping ears and head. This disease is always fatal and the Center for Disease Control recommends that hunters avoid eating meat, brain, eyeballs, or spinal cords of an infected deer and to make sure that protective gloves are worn when field dressing an animal. Deer management hunts have been used to help control the spread of the disease by isolating infected areas and reducing deer populations.


Also known as bluetongue, HD is a disease that is spread by a midge, causing high fever in deer and causing the cell walls of the heart, diaphragm, and lungs of an infected animal to burst. Most infected deer die within one to four days of being exposed to HD. Deer management hunts do not have an influence on this disease, as it depends on the number of infected midges in the area.


Bovine Tuberculosis affects the respiratory system, just like the human version. The DNR reports that, as of this writing, there are no reports of TB in Iowa. This disease is monitored, due to its ability to be transferred to livestock. Deer management hunts can help with this disease.


If you choose to take part in a deer management hunt, contact Wendl's Weapons for assistance in the right firearm and ammunition. We can also assist you with getting the correct information regarding the hunts and will help you have a successful time out in the field. We look forward to hearing from you for your deer hunting needs and questions. Contact us today.


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Inventory Updated 5/19/2022

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