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Heartland Outdoors

Iowa DNR News

Thu, December 07, 2017

DNR looking for deer tissue samples from specific areas as it monitors for chronic wasting disease

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) continues to collect deer tissue samples from willing hunters as part of its effort to monitor for and track the presence of chronic wasting disease.

The Iowa DNR’s wildlife staff has a goal of collecting 5,465 samples. The bulk of Iowa’s deer harvest occurs during the two shotgun seasons which provide an opportunity to collect a significant number of tissue samples. Most samples are obtained by wildlife staff, checking with hunters in the field or at home processing points.

“We’ve had really good cooperation from our hunters so our focus now is collecting samples from some pretty specific areas within our target counties in order to reach our quotas,” said Terry Haindfield, wildlife biologist with the Iowa DNR leading the CWD collection effort.

He said the DNR is looking for samples from deer harvested from the southeast quarter of Allamakee County; the northwest quarter of Clayton County; the northwest quarter of Winneshiek County; and the northeast quarter of Howard County. In western Iowa, the DNR needs samples from each county along the Missouri River.

“Hunters willing to provide a sample should call their local wildlife biologist to see if the county or area where the deer was taken has filled its quota or is still in need of a sample,” he said.

The DNR lists the cell phone numbers for its wildlife biologists on p. 45 of the hunting regulations. Hunters from the targeted areas needing additional help making contact to provide a sample can call Haindfield at 563-380-3422.

All counties have a quota of at least 15 samples, with an increased quota and collection effort in portions of northeast and eastern Iowa near Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, in each county bordering the Missouri River west of I-29, and south-central Iowa near Missouri, where CWD has been detected.

Additional testing is been conducted in Pottawattamie, Cerro Gordo and Davis counties, following positive tests from captive facilities.  The disease has been found in every state around Iowa.

Since testing began in 2002, more than 62,500 tissue samples have been collected and tested looking for the presence of CWD in Iowa’s wild deer herd.

CWD is a neurological disease belonging to the family of diseases known as transmissible spongiform encephalopathies (TSEs) or prion diseases.  It attacks the brain of infected deer and elk causing the animals to lose weight, display abnormal behavior, lose body functions and die. It is always fatal to the infected animal.

The disease first appeared in Iowa’s wild deer herd in 2013 and each year since, the DNR has placed extra emphasis to find the extent to which disease is in the area, and to help slow the spread by removing additional adult deer from the local population.

The Iowa DNR has more information about CWD and other infectious disease online at

Media Contact: Terry Haindfield, Wildlife Management Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 563-380-3422.

Iowa deer harvest ahead of 2016 -

The 2017 Iowa deer harvest is running 4.5 percent ahead of the 2016 totals. So far this fall, 55,793 deer have been reported, compared to 53,191 for the same period last year.

Iowa’s 2017 deer hunting options enters the late stages with the second shotgun season opening Saturday (Dec. 9-17), followed by the late muzzleloader season and archery season, both of which are Dec. 18-Jan. 10, 2018.

Late muzzleloader deer season opens Dec. 18

Iowa’s late muzzleloader deer season begins Dec. 18, which is the final season that any-deer licenses are available.

Nearly 40,000 hunters participated in the late muzzleloader season in 2016 and the DNR expects similar numbers again this year. Archery season also re-opens on Dec. 18 so bow hunters with unfilled tags will likely be heading back to their tree stands as well.

Hunters hunting with firearms are required to wear blaze orange during the late muzzleloader season but party hunting is not allowed. 

Iowa’s second shotgun ends on Dec. 17.

If hunters are seeing fewer deer where they hunt they may want to refrain from harvesting extra does. Hunters should check with landowners to see if deer numbers are at an acceptable level and tailor their harvest accordingly.

Hunters are reminded to report their harvest within 24 hours of recovering their deer. This information is an important part of the data needed to manage Iowa’s deer herd.

Nonresident Holiday Deer Season

The nonresident holiday deer season is Dec. 24-Jan. 2, and is open in counties where the nonresident antlerless deer license quotas have not filled. Licenses for this season are on sale starting Dec. 15.

Antlerless licenses for the nonresident holiday deer season is $78, which is below the regular nonresident antlerless license fee of $228. The season was created to be an affordable option for individuals who come home to Iowa for the holiday to have the opportunity to go hunting while they are back.

Nonresidents must have a valid Iowa hunting license and habitat stamp in addition to the deer license. More information is available online at

2018 hunting, fishing licenses on sale Dec. 15

Iowans can start buying 2018 resident hunting, fishing and other licenses on December 15. Licenses purchased for 2017 expire on Jan. 10.

The menu of license options includes the popular Outdoor Combo annual resident hunting/fishing/habitat combo license for $47; the Angler’s Special three-year fishing license for $53; and the Hunter’s Special three-year hunting license with habitat included for $86.

Also available is the Bonus Line option for $12 letting resident and nonresident anglers to fish with one additional line in addition to the two lines allowed with the regular fishing license.

Hunting and fishing are often enjoyed with family and friends. A fishing or hunting would make a great stocking stuffer. Licenses are available at nearly 900 locations across the state, and on the DNR website at

Nonresidents may begin purchasing 2018 licenses on Jan. 1.



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