Deer Population Management Project News

Iowa City has signed a contract with White Buffalo, Inc. to sharpshoot during the winter of 2019/2020 to reduce the growing population of deer within City limits. Below is a summary of what has occurred in 2018 to the present.

In February 2018, City Council directed staff to request permission of the Iowa Natural Resources Commission to allow the City to cull the deer herd this upcoming winter by means of sharpshooting.  The City managed its deer population for approximately 10 years by means of sharp shooting from 2000 to 2010.  The Iowa Natural Resources Commission denied the City’s request in May and suggested that the City seek input from the community.  Staff organized an informal committee consisting of staff members and community members to hear from the community at a public forum and to report back to City Council. 

After the community forum, the committee issued a memo to City Council, which is available below. The City Council then directed staff to make a second request to the Natural Resources Commission for permission to sharpshoot and that letter is also available below under "Documents". The City's request was heard by the Natural Resources Commission at its December 13 meeting and was denied.

After that denial, Iowa City officials received a letter from the NRC Chairperson and communicated with Department of Natural Resources (DNR) staff. From these communications, it is the City's understanding that the NRC will likely approve professionally contracted sharpshooting for one year to decrease the deer population to an NRC-approved density level if some form of public hunt is utilized for the remainder of a five-year plan. This plan would also include public education and annual counts of the deer population.

At the Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019 City Council meeting, the Council approved the five-year plan: one year of sharpshooting by White Buffalo Incorporated, followed by four years of pubic bow hunting. Later that week, the NRC also approved the plan. The exact time and locations of those future bow hunts have yet to be decided. 

Public Input

The community was invited to attend a public input meeting to discuss deer population management  on Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018, at City Hall, 410 E. Washington St.

City staff presented a short history of the City’s deer management, which is included in the document entitled “Council Information Packet:  Urban Wildlife-Deer.” Tony DeNicola of White Buffalo, Inc. presented the study completed last winter on the estimate of the deer population in Iowa City, which is Exhibit B to the document entitled “Letter to Natural Resources Commission.”  The meeting will was then opened up for comments and questions from the public (limited to 3 minutes per person). 

Watch the public input meeting below:


Deer Management Updates: March 2019

Update: April 2019

Update: May 2019

At the City Council meeting on April 23, 2019, Council directed staff to draft a 5-year deer management plan that will call for professional sharpshooting in year one, followed by four years of non-lethal management efforts. The plan tentatively will be presented to the Iowa Natural Resources Commission at its July 11 meeting. The proposed plan will be presented to Council for approval in late June 2019.

Update: June 2019

Update: August 2019