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Effort to Curb Illegal Activities Results in Arrests at Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area

IOWA CITY – A year-long effort to curtail illegal activities at the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area in Johnson County has resulted in multiple charges being filed over the weekend by law enforcement officers for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Some of the charges included driving off the roadway, possession of drug paraphernalia, littering, OWI, and prohibited destructive acts. In addition, three individuals were charged and arrested on Sunday for indecent exposure.

“One of the most distressing activities we are seeing out here is people altering and destroying natural habitat by cutting trees and mowing grass,” said Shawn Meier, a DNR law enforcement supervisor.

At over 13,000 acres, the Hawkeye Wildlife Management Area is one of the largest and most important complexes for wildlife in the entire state.

“It is important for people to understand that this is an area where the primary purpose is to provide wildlife habitat. It is not meant to be a park. We cannot allow having the destruction of habitat either by removal of vegetation or operation of motor vehicles off of designated roads to occur,” Meier said.

Hawkeye Wildlife Area has seen increased illegal activities in recent years including hunting and fishing violations, driving off the roadway, littering, indecent exposure, drug and alcohol violations, vandalism, destruction of plant life and habitat, destructive bonfires, under-age alcohol consumption, and general misuse of the wildlife area. In response to many public complaints, wildlife and law enforcement staff implemented a law enforcement action plan followed by a wildlife management plan in an effort to curb these ongoing issues. 

Due to expected high usage of the area during the upcoming hunting seasons, DNR officers will continue enforcement efforts to help maintain public safety as well as ensure proper use and protection of the wildlife area.

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