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Annual spring wildlife survey underway in Iowa

This news story was published on April 3, 2018.
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CLEAR LAKE – The Iowa Department of Natural Resources annual spring spotlight survey is underway with Wildlife and Law Enforcement staff conducting nighttime counts of all forbearing animals and white-tailed deer, the Iowa DNR said today.

The survey begins in early spring an hour after sunset, preferably on a night with a clear sky, low wind and high humidity. Each county has a preselected route covering 50 miles of varying habitat. Surveyors will follow the route driving below 20 miles per hour, shining spotlights from both sides of the vehicle.

But step one for the survey is to alert the local county sheriff of the activity, in case they get any suspicious vehicle calls.

“This is a big effort,” said Tyler Harms, wildlife researcher with the Iowa DNR who collects the data from all of the routes. “This survey is the primary way we count deer and a major source of population data for our skunks, badgers, opossum, red fox, coyotes and other furbearers.”

The survey routes were designed to include all types of habitats found on the Iowa landscape in an effort to not skew the number of animals counted in either way.

“We include river bottoms, prairie habitat, farm fields, pastures, timber stands and acreages on our routes, so we can collect information on which habitat types these species prefer most,” said Harms.

The spring spotlight survey began in the late 1970s as a raccoon-only survey to determine if there was any impact of increased harvest on the population during a time of high pelt prices. Over time, it transitioned to include all furbearers and deer.

“Data collected from this survey are used as one factor to estimate deer populations and provide valuable information for making management decisions for our furbearer species,” Harms said.

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One Response to Annual spring wildlife survey underway in Iowa

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    April 3, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    yes please comment to any suspicious activity
    (Sure as HELL the DNR doesn’t check on anything )