After a dozen deer that were harvested during last year’s hunting season in Iowa tested positive for chronic wasting disease, officials with the state’s Department of Natural Resources are cutting available tags.
“At the end of the day our goal is to maintain as healthy a herd as we can for the public, as a public resource,” Chris Ensminger, a wildlife supervisor for the DNR told the Des Moines Register.
In an effort to better contain the fatal disease, officials are changing quotas across 22 counties across Iowa, which will decrease available tags to 72,100, down from last year’s 74,500 tags. That said, Iowa ended up in a surplus position with deer tags last year, as hunters left about 10,000 tags on the table. Officials are still expecting to operate in a surplus in 2017, even with the proposed reductions.
The plan is to ultimately cut deer tag quotas in certain counties and add those tags to others in a strategic move to contain the disease.
Chronic wasting disease in the state of Iowa is mainly concentrated in the northeast portion of the state and there are two affected counties in particular that will have significant increases in available tags to combat infection.
Iowa boasts a very healthy deer herd, with over 100,000 reported kills last season and looks to be getting ahead of the disease by taking proactive measures such as this one.