Conservation and Trapping News

DNR collecting furbearer information
Apr 9, 2022 06:07 ET

[Reprinted from original]


WILDLIFE SURVEY: The Department of Natural Resources is conducting its annual nighttime spring spotlight surveys across the state, collecting information on Iowa’s deer and furbearer populations.

Conducted from mid-March to mid-April in each county, the survey begins an hour after sunset, preferably on nights with low wind, good visibility and high humidity. The routes cover different habitats from river bottoms, to farm fields, prairies, woodlots, pastures and timber stands.

The 50-mile routes — two per county — are driven below 20 mph with staff shining spotlights out of both sides of the vehicle, recording the number of deer and furbearers seen along with the habitat type, at different points along the way. Staff are careful to avoid shining homes and livestock while on the survey and contact the county sheriff ahead of time in case they receive any calls.

“This survey produces really valuable information on our deer and furbearer populations, both locally and at the state level, allowing us to see population trends over time,” said Jace Elliott, DNR deer research specialist.

The survey began in the late 1970s as a way to collect information on the raccoon population, but was expanded to include deer and other furbearers.

The survey report will be posted later this summer at