Currently, the deer herd is estimated to be about 400,000 after the hunting season, and reported harvests have exceeded 100,000 in recent years.
Management consists of carefully regulating the harvest, since hunting provides the only major source of mortality for deer today. Unchecked, Iowa’s deer herd could grow at a rate of 20% to 40% each year.
Deer are normally associated with forested areas and will utilize many different types of habitat as long as the area provides adequate cover. Examples include brushy draws and fence lines, marshes, and grassy areas.
Standing corn also provides ideal habitat for part of the year since it provides food, cover and easy travel lanes. Deer utilize almost all plants for food at one time or another during the year. Deer feeding habits can best be described as being erratically selective as deer will sample many plants while feeding but often utilize a single source of food for the majority of their diet.
The white-tail’s ability to thrive in Iowa is likely the result of an abundant, reliable food source and a winter climate where snow depths rarely exceed 12″ for a prolonged length of time.
Bagging a whitetail is a memorable experience since hunters are pitting their skill against an animal that has a n acute knowledge of his surroundings and a keen instinct for survival.