In a recent column by Adam Sullivan some problematic statements were made (“Iowa City locks antlers with state regulators,” March 22). First, the claim that Iowa City has a deer problem is not rooted in fact. The deer population study Sullivan refers to was completed by a company that makes a profit from sharpshooting deer populations, and should not be taken as a rigorous census of the true deer population.
Also, the caption to the included photograph states deer-vehicle crashes throughout the state have increased over the past 20 years. Fair enough since population and interstate traffic has grown as well. Yet testimony from the Iowa City Police Department, given at a Council meeting last year, showed deer-vehicle incidents within Iowa City limits actually decreased from 2017 to 2018.
This is a nuanced issue, with many stakeholders involved with very different viewpoints. Yet if the real heart of the issue is safety of the residents of Iowa City, as the reported quote from City Council member Rockne Cole implies, then a new strategy needs to be created.
Neighboring Coralville has been conducting amateur bow hunts since 1999, with underwhelming results. Deer-vehicle incidents actually increased from 2015 to 2017. After several years of bow hunting in nearby Muscatine, the herd grew by a third. Clearly, this is not the way to control a local herd.
Please read more about non-lethal methods of control at ICDeerFriends.org.