ehd buck

Yikes! Iowa is Cutting Deer Tag Numbers

Even Iowa, the deer hunting Mecca of the Midwest, is being forced to reduce tag numbers due to disease.

The Holy Grail, Mecca, the land of giants, God's Country. Whatever you call it, Iowa is known far as wide as having some of the best, if not the best, deer hunting of anywhere in the world. But just because you're the best, doesn't mean you're immune to disease.

Officials from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently announced they would be reducing the number of tags available for the 2017 deer hunting season. Antlerless tag numbers will likely remain steady. However, the number of buck tags available may be changing for your favorite county.

The changes come as part of the state's efforts to respond to diseases such as EHD and CWD. Chris Ensminger, wildlife supervisor for the DNR, suggests, "our goal is to maintain as healthy a herd as we can for the public, as a public resource."

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Officials have decided to move tag availability around the state based on site-specific disease presence. What does that mean? 22 counties will see their tag numbers changed, either reduced or increased. Overall the move will lower the number of tags available from 74,500 to 72,100. Hunters reported harvesting over 100,000 deer in Iowa last year.

Experts and hunters alike are applauding the move. The state's approach uses individual data points to tailor a plan for each area. Many states are taking a different approach and applying a reduction of tags across the board.

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