Urban bow hunting season approaching

The urban deer bow hunting season opens Sept. 21 and 100 licenses will be issued for anyone with a special urban bow hunting permit.

Urban bow hunting licenses can be purchased at The General Store, located on 116 E. Church Street, for anyone with an urban bow hunting permit. Urban bow hunting permits are available at the Parks and Recreation Department for $10.

The urban bow hunting program is an effort between Marshalltown and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), to manage the deer population in the city limits.

Terry Gray, director of Marshalltown Parks and Recreation, said the program has helped the deer population.

“We feel it’s been a great success,” Gray said. “The number of doe that are harvested are usually around 20 to 24, depending on the year.”

Gray said last season there were 20 hunters and 15-20 does were harvested.

Garry Brandenburg, retired Marshall County Conservation Board director, said biological, scientific studies determined there were too many deer per square mile in Marshalltown.

“Five years ago, even before that, some of the neighbors that were affected got together and started conversation with council members,” Brandenburg said. “They said, ‘we have to many deer, we plant certain types of plants and the deer come and eat them.'”

Gray said an urban deer management task force began meeting and discussed ways to deter deer and ways to urban hunt.

Brandenburg said urban bow hunting helps the community by reducing the population.

“Wildlife management requires that if you don’t manage the population, the population can escalate out of control and get really high,” Brandenburg said. “Instead of getting a few complaints, you get a lot of complaints. Then next year, a lot of complaints are a lot more.”

Gray said that’s why an urban deer hunting program was implemented.

“We’ve had fly overs done and deer counts done by the DNR,” Gray said. “We have seen a decrease. We think the urban deer hunt program is one of those factors in reducing the deer herd.”

The Iowa DNR did a 12 square mile area survey. In 2009 there were 388 deer observed, 267 in 2011 and 289 in 2013.

Gray said a lot of the deer that has been harvested are on the west side of Marshalltown, the Riverview park area and a few are in the southwest quadrant. Gray said some urban bow hunters are looking for places to hunt this season.

“If anybody in the community has property they would be willing to let hunters hunt on during this urban season they can call Parks and Recreation and leave their name and we can try and match up hunters with areas that need to be hunted,” Gray said.

Brandenburg said he has been bow hunting since 1966. He said he averages about two deer a season and every time he bow hunts, something happens.

“Something always happens, whether it involves a deer or not,” Brandenburg said. “Sometimes you’ll see deer, but they are to far away and they’re not going to come close, but you have squirrels playing underneath you and have birds migrating through the forrest or snow is starting to fall and all you hear is the sound of that.”

The urban bow hunting season ends on Jan. 19, 2014.