Mostly Trapping

Iowa Spring Spotlight Survey: 2020 Summary (pdf)
Jul 28, 2020 08:09 ET

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources conducts nocturnal spotlight surveys from midMarch to mid-May, annually. The survey was initiated in 1978 to provide population indices for raccoon
and white-tailed deer in Iowa. In 2006, the survey was redesigned to provide a systematic statewide
sample of land cover types available to wildlife and to produce standardized population trends for several
additional species. The objectives of the survey are 1) to produce annual counts for deer, raccoon, and
select furbearer species as independent population indices or as supplements to other survey data and 2)
to monitor the distribution and relative abundance of select species for population management and
conservation efforts. Spotlight surveys are conducted in all 99 Iowa counties and total ~4,790 mi (𝑥 = ~50
mi/county) of surveyed rural roads. In 2020, a total of 21,585 observations were recorded, with deer (n =
16,466), raccoon (n = 4,454), opossum (n = 179), striped skunk (n = 173), and house cat (n = 161) being the
most frequent species observed. Observations for deer, raccoon, skunk, and badger were relatively stable,
whereas observations decreased for red fox and increased for opossum.