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Deer and Turkey

A Review of Iowa's Deer Management Program, 2009
The issues relating to the state's deer population are discussed as well as recommendations to better manage Iowa's deer resource in balance with Iowans' needs.

Iowa's Chronic Wasting Disease Response Plan
This document identifies, coordinates and assigns all Iowa DNR and Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship activities necessary to respond to an outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease in Iowa.

2023 Iowa Deer Hunter Survey

See also: Population and Harvest Trends
Including Trends in Iowa Wildlife Populations and Harvest, Bowhunter Observation Survey and Spring Spotlight Survey reports.


Pleistocene and ecological effects on continental-scale genetic differential in the bobcat, 2012
Bobcats are one of the most common and broadly distributed species in North America, thriving in a wide range of environments. From 1994 to 2011, 1,700 individuals were sampled for genetic diversity across the entire USA. Ecoregion accounted for the largest portion of genetic variation, followed closely by summer precipitation. Longitude, especially along the Great Plains in the central U.S. showed a pattern of isolation by distance, but not latitude. Distinct patterns to species were observed in eastern, central, and western areas. The Great Lakes region and New England has a signature of reduced genetic diversity, as does the Oregon-Washington bobcat population.

Habitat Modeling Used to Predict Relative Abundance of Bobcats in Iowa, 2011
Bow hunter observation between the years 2004 through 2009 of bobcats were combined with remotely-sensed data to build models describing habitat and relative abundance in the agricultural landscape of Iowa. Coyotes were reported every year in every county, but no bobcats were observed in 34 counties during these years. Those counties may have had forest patches along streams and rivers, but there was no transitional grassland to surrounding row cop agriculture. The research demonstrates that maintaining a diverse landscape of grassland and forested perennial habitat in the corn belt could not only enable the continued recolonization of bobcats in the region, but likely will also benefit other wide-ranging wildlife species.

Fall and Winter Food Habits of Bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Iowa, 2007
The stomach contents of 100 bobcat carcasses (half male and half female) collected in southern Iowa between 2002 and 2006 were examined to determine their food habits. Sixty percent of stomachs contained cottontail rabbits, 20 percent contained mice and voles, and 15 percent contained fox squirrels. The study was not conclusive of frequency of predation by bobcats on nesting birds, due to the time of year the bobcats were collected.

Space Use and Habitat Selection by Bobcats in the Fragmented Landscape of South-Central Iowa, 2007
With enrollment into the Conservation Reserve Program developing about the same time bobcat sightings grew, there was interest in learning the space use of bobcats and the importance of habitat type to bobcat expansion in Iowa. Bobcats were radio-collared from March 2003 to March 27 2006 to track their locations. Females' home range was about one-third of males during the April through Sept. rearing season. Forest ranked as the most important habitat for males and females, with grassland and CRP ranking second and third. Row crop land was not used.

Habitat section and demography of bobcats (Lynx rufus) in Iowa, 2006
Master's thesis of Stephanie Ann Koehler, who assisted in the research above. Conclusions from findings suggest that in more fragmented landscapes, bobcats use more area, and used less in landscapes with less fragmentation. The development of CRP does not appear to be important to the growth of the bobcat population in Iowa. Landscape characteristics appear to be influenced most by availability of preferred prey, quality of escape cover (from predators such as coyotes) and lack of human disturbance. A threshold of density of bobcats is likely to occur based on available forest and grassland habitat connections, and the population is likely to decrease as landscapes become more fragmented by agriculture.

See also: Population and Harvest Trends
Including Trends in Iowa Wildlife Populations and Harvest, Bowhunter Observation Survey and Spring Spotlight Survey reports.

Iowa Invasive Species Risk Assessment

Invasion risk by non-native species under impending risk of climate change is modeled. Species include the round goby benthic fish; the New Zealand aquatic mudsnail; the red swamp crayfish; Asian rock pool mosquito (known to carry West Nile virus and La Crosse virus); and the parrot-feather freshwater herb.

Iowa Invasive Species Risk Assessment, 2011

Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring

The purpose of the Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program (MSIM) is to learn about wildlife community composition, and what species are in Iowa. Lists of properties surveyed each year, species at each property and physical and biological attributes of sample sites are reported.

Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program, 2011 Report
Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program, 2010 Report
Multiple Species Inventory and Monitoring Program, 2008 Report

Non-Game Wildlife

Bald Eagle Nesting in Iowa
Eagles are monitored both opportunistically and sentinelly (since 2010) in Iowa by volunteers. It appears the average young per nest has stayed above one and Iowa has over 400 active eagle territories.

Iowa's Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey
The Bald Eagle Midwinter survey has been conducted since the mid 1990s in Iowa and in many other states across the country. It is conducted during the first two weeks of January each year along standardized routes along the major waterbodies in Iowa. This survey provides trend information on Bald Eagles spending the winter in Iowa.

Iowa's Frog and Toad Survey
Volunteers follow an established 10-stop route, identifying all species by their unique call.

Osprey In Iowa
The osprey restoration program in Iowa began in the 1997 and involved translocating young birds from Minnesota and Wisconsin to strategic locations across Iowa.  The last year that birds were released was 2016 and currently, the objective is to monitor nesting activity.

Peregrine Falcons in Iowa
The peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) restoration program in Iowa began in the 1989 with 23 birds released in Cedar Rapids followed by another 19 released in Des Moines in 1991.   Between 1989 and 2003, a total of 169 birds were released in Iowa feeding into a regional restoration effort that saw 875 birds released across the Midwest.  In 1999, a further milestone was reached in Iowa when the first pair of birds nested on their historic nesting grounds along the Mississippi River bluffs.

Iowa's Motus Wildlife Tracking Network
The Motus Wildlife Tracking System is a coordinated network of radio telemetry receiver stations used to to track long-distance movements of small animals. Iowa's Motus Network was initiated in August 2021 as a way to understand the migrations of birds, bats, and insects across the state.

Ophiogomphus smithi in Northeast Iowa, 2011
Established as a species and named in 2004, a survey of this dragonfly conducted in summer 2011 produced eight additional sites, all found north and east of the Cedar River. Previously, only five sites were known in Iowa.

See also: Population and Harvest Trends
Including Trends in Iowa Wildlife Populations and Harvest, Bowhunter Observation Survey and Spring Spotlight Survey reports.

Upland Wildlife & Grasslands

August Roadside Survey Data
August 1-15 annually, DNR biologists and conservation officers drive 215 30-mile survey routes on days when upland game populations are most likely to bring broods to roadsides.

Small Game Harvest Results
Random survey of licensed hunters to determine the size and distribution of Iowa's small game harvest: ring-necked pheasants, bobwhite quail, cottontail rabbit, squirrels, Hungarian partridge and mourning dove.

Mourning Dove Population Status (
Data sets from annual surveys are summarized in this federal annual report.

Migratory Bird Hunting Activity and Harvest (
Latest estimates from state-reported hunting success from the previous year daily hunting diaries by purchasers of hunting licenses.

Quail Populations and Harvest on Sugema and Kellerton WMA, 2008-11
Quail populations and harvest were monitored in these wildlife management areas for three years to assess risk of overharvesting.

Genetic Diversity and Connectivity of White-tailed Jackrabbit Populations

White-tailed jackrabbits were monitored in 2009-10 to determine how the loss and fragmented habitat (grasslands) has affected movement patterns, space use, population and genetic diversity.

Grassland Bird Response to Enhanced Vegetation Diversity
Grassland bird habitat use, reproductive success, nestling growth rates, nestling baseline corticosterone, and good glucose levels were compared among restored grasslands planted with seed mixes of varying plant species diversity. Also, a conspecific song playback system was tested to attract Henslow's sparrows to previously unoccupied restored habitat.

CP33 Bird Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Report 2009
Adding upland habitat buffers in row-crop systems increased densities of northern bobwhite, as well as dickcissel and field sparrows. Other succession songbirds exhibited variable response to CP33, possibly due to sensitivity to patch size or habitat structure.

Nest Success of Northern Bobwhite on Managed and Unmanaged Landscapes
The Lake Sugema Wildlife Area (LSWA) managed for bobwhite was compared to nesting success in Harrisburg Township (HT) in Van Buren County, an agricultural area located 16 km northeast of LSWA in 2003-05.

Sensitivity analyses of a Population Projection Model of Ring-Necked Pheasants
Data on recruitment and survival was incorporated into a population projection model. By modeling naturally varying weather patterns (based on years 1961-1990), one at a time, in the matrix could help wildlife managers sustain pheasant populations. Early survival of pheasants through reproduction appears to be managed best by securing nesting cover in clusters of large blocks for diverse vegetation for broods and for providing winter cover.

See also: Population and Harvest Trends
Including Trends in Iowa Wildlife Populations and Harvest, Bowhunter Observation Survey and Spring Spotlight Survey reports.

Waterfowl and Wetlands

Annual Process of Developing Waterfowl Hunting Regulations
Migratory game bird regulations are governed by a cooperative process involving Iowa government rules, nationally with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and internationally with Canada under the Migratory Game Bird Treaty. This is a step by step process that begins in January of each year and must be followed in order that the waterfowl seasons are allowed to open each fall.

Giant Canada Goose Population in Iowa, 2000
Giant Canada geese had disappeared from the continental U.S. by the 1930s. In 1964 a restoration program began with 16 pairs of pinioned giant Canada geese in a 14-acre pen. The young were permitted to fly and use surrounding habitats. The program grew until now the highest densities of nesting giant Canada geese are in northwest and north central Iowa.

Conservation Order Light Goose Harvest in Iowa Jan - Apr, 2012
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established a conservation order to increase the harvest of mid-continent light geese (lesser snow and Ross's geese). The Service and the Flyway Councils believed number of these light geese exceeded the carrying capacity of their breeding habitat. The Iowa DNR promulgated roles to permit the taking of light geese in Iowa during that same period. Ninety-nine percent of the light geese harvested in Iowa were taken during that time. The normal Iowa season opened Sept. 24, 2011.

Iowa Canada Goose Management Plan, 2002
Giant Canada geese are long-lived birds with low reproductive rates and high survival rates. Primarily grazers, they prefer the new growth of grasses, sedges, and forbs. A sustainable annual harvest of 60,000 Canada geese from a 100,000 population provides a high level of recreational opportunities. Private landowners may hunt the geese of their properties within closed areas. The DNR is charged with controlling injurious goose activities. Regional and local population estimates gauge the long-term effectiveness of population control programs.

Iowa Waterfowl Hunter Season Preference Survey, 2011
A survey of waterfowl hunters was conducted in Iowa in 2011 to determine how hunters preferred the duck and goose seasons be structured for the next 5 years and when they preferred to hunt ducks and geese. The resulting information was used to formulate a season that is the best fit for all of Iowa’s waterfowlers. Even with 60 days for ducks and 90 days for geese, the resulting season is a compromise amongst all of the varied and competing styles of waterfowling, both traditional and modern.

Iowa Hunter Preference for a special September teal season, 2014
For the first time since 1969, Iowa will be allowed to offer a special September teal hunting season. A special September teal hunting season would be a significant change to Iowa’s waterfowl hunting season structure. Therefore the DNR conducted a survey to quantify hunters’ opinions on a special September teal season.

Waterfowl Hunter Survey Report, 2015

See also: Population and Harvest Trends
Including Trends in Iowa Wildlife Populations and Harvest, Bowhunter Observation Survey and Spring Spotlight Survey reports.