Information gathered by more than 2,000 bowhunters during the 2009 Iowa deer season indicates hunters are seeing fewer deer from their tree stands over much of the state. Of the nine climate zones, only in the south central region have observations remained steady over the past six years. In the other eight regions, the number of deer observed has declined.
In addition to recording information on deer, 11 other species were observed include badger, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, house cat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, striped skunk, and wild turkey.
The 2,027 bowhunters who voluntarily participated in the sixth annual Iowa Bowhunter Observation Survey contributed information from 31,102 hunting trips, covering 105,287.5 hours of observation time. Information gathered from the survey will be combined with other data to provide biologists with a clearer picture of trends in Iowa's wildlife populations.
The survey was conducted from Oct. 1 through Dec. 4.
"Iowa's bowhunters are the best group of volunteers to provide this observational information, and their participation in this survey will play a major role in the conservation of these wildlife species in the future," said Steve Roberts, biometrician for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Bureau.
"The volume of information they provided could never be duplicated by our biologists, technicians and conservation officers. I can't thank them enough," Roberts added.
Bowhunters were selected because the methods they use while bowhunting deer are also ideal for viewing most wildlife species in their natural environment.
The DNR sent the survey to 8,991 bow hunters who had purchased a bow license to hunt deer in each of the previous three years. The survey results are available online at www.iowadnr.gov/wildlife/ under "Bowhunter Survey".