The Department of Natural Resources denied Iowa City’s request to sharpshoot deer and recommended bow hunting. No surprise.
The DNR benefits financially from the sale of hunting licenses, tags, and new hunting opportunities. Hunters represent only 5 percent of Iowa’s population, and probably a smaller percent of Iowa City’s population.
Bow hunting means unsupervised hunters, many from out of town, roaming neighborhoods on foot. Bow hunt rules are lax. Four to five months each year, a hunter can sit in a stand, a short distance from your house, 30 minutes before dawn to 30 minutes after dusk. A hunter can enter your property anytime to retrieve, or finish killing, deer. These are privacy and safety concerns.
The “proficiency” test is a stationary target that is not predictive of ability to accurately hit a moving deer in the lethal lung/heart area. Any other shot only wounds a deer who will suffer and wander neighborhoods for weeks or months before dying from infection.
Hunters kill larger deer, leaving smaller, weaker deer to reproduce.
If a city approves bow hunting, it delegates all future deer management decisions to the DNR. Bow hunting will be an annual occurrence.
I am not a fan of killing animals whose habitat we’ve taken for roads and other development. However, if the city decides to kill deer, it should be the city’s prerogative to hire sharpshooters.