Proposed hunting and trapping changes available for public comment
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is accepting public comments on proposals for five hunting and trapping seasons through May 23.
The proposed changes to furbearer, resident deer hunting, waterfowl and pigeon seasons and to the wildlife refuge list were approved during the April meeting of the Natural Resource Commission.
Proposed changes to the furbearer season include adding Audubon, Crawford, Dallas, Iowa, Muscatine and Poweshiek counties to the list of open areas for bobcats; removing the statewide quotas for bobcats and river otters; removing the 24-hour reporting requirement for bobcat and river otters and reducing the bag limit for river otters from three to two to prevent too many river otters from being taken in any one area.
Population surveys show bobcats and river otters are at a level that will sustain this additional harvest and allow Iowa’s hunters and trappers additional opportunities and flexibility.
Proposed changes to resident deer hunting seasons include a reduction in the quota of paid antlerless deer licenses by 3,950 in six counties in southwest Iowa, where deer harvest and trend surveys showed the reduction was needed most.
The proposal calls for 800 fewer antlerless licenses in Pottawattamie County, 750 fewer in Cass County, 400 fewer in Mills County, 250 fewer in Montgomery County, 900 fewer in Fremont County and 850 fewer in Page County.
Proposed waterfowl season dates were adjusted to comply with federal regulations, ensures all seasons open on weekends, and removes the bag limit on light geese during the conservation order season. The proposal is based on the assumption that the federal regulations for hunting ducks in 2013 will be the same as they were in 2012, but if population surveys are substantially lower, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service could require more restrictive hunting regulations.
Proposed duck, mergansers and coots seasons dates are Sept. 21-25 for all three zones, Oct. 12-Dec. 5 in the North Zone, Oct. 19-Dec. 12 in the South Zone and Oct. 26-Dec. 19 in the Missouri River Zone. Youth waterfowl dates would be Oct. 5-6 in the North Zone, Oct. 12-13 in the South Zone, and Oct. 19-20 in the Missouri River Zone.
Canada goose hunting season would be Sept. 28-Jan. 3 in the North Zone, Oct. 5-Jan. 10 in the South Zone, and Oct. 12-Jan. 17 in the Missouri River Zone.
The DNR is proposing to remove Three Mile Lake, Union County, and Lake Sugema, Van Buren County, from the list of waterfowl refuges, and add Union Hills Wildlife Management Area to the list.
A small portion of the Union Hills WMA would become a waterfowl refuge with the goal of improving the number of waterfowl that stay in the area during the fall migration. The majority of the area will remain open to hunting.
The DNR is proposing to change pigeon season to being open year round to allow dove hunters the opportunity to take pigeons while dove hunting.
Additional information regarding the proposed changes is available online at http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/HuntingLicensesLaws.aspx
Public comments will be accepted until May 23, when a public hearing will be held to take comments from the public.
The meeting begins at 1 p.m. in the fourth floor conference room of the Wallace State Office Building, in Des Moines.
Written comments may be directed to Wildlife Bureau Chief, Wallace State Office Building, 502 East Ninth Street, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax to 515-281-6794.
Persons wishing to convey their comments orally may contact the Wildlife Bureau by phone at 515-281-5034 or by visiting the fourth floor of the Wallace State Office Building during regular business hours.