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2021-2022 Deer Management Annual Report 2021 - 2022 CITY OF IOWA CITY DEER MANAGEMENT ANNUAL REPORT The Iowa City City Council adopted a Deer Management Plan in 2019. This plan was developed in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and local public input and was approved through the Iowa Natural Resource Commission. The Plan includes one year of professional sharpshooting, four years of urban bow hunts, and ongoing public education. To learn more please visit www.icgov.org/deerprogram. CONTENTS • Executive Summary • Deer Collisions + Complaints • Non-Lethal Deer Management • Depredation & Urban Bow Hunt Results • DNR Aerial Survey Results (Attached) 2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Iowa City’s Deer Management Plan was formed in response to resident concerns about deer in urban and suburban areas. A deer count survey conducted in 2018 revealed the urban deer population had tripled since the City ceased its deer management program in 2010. After coordinating with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and soliciting public input, the City Council adopted a Deer Management Plan in 2019. This plan was submitted to the Iowa Natural Resource Commission (NRC) and included one year of professional sharpshooting, four years of urban bow hunts, and ongoing public education. A full timeline and history of the City’s deer management response is available at www.icgov.org/deerprogram. Public Input In 2018, a deer committee was formed of both City staff and community members. On August 14, 2018, approximately 60 community members attended a public input meeting held to discuss deer population management. Staff offered additional opportunities for providing input for those unable to attend the public forum. In August 2020, City staff met with members of the Iowa City Deer Friends to receive feedback and incorporate their input into the rules for the 2020-2021 urban bow hunt. Members of the public also addressed the City Council during four City Council meetings at which the urban bow hunt rules and deer feeding ordinance were on the agendas. Members of the public are invited to provide ongoing input on the City’s deer management activities by contacting City staff or City Council members. Typically, this correspondence occurs when a property owner experiences a deer-related issue and wishes to share suggestions for managing the deer population. The City will report annually to City Council on deer management and population estimates for the remainder of the long-term deer management plan. Residents are invited to provide comments during this time or may address councilors during the public comment period at any regular City Council meeting. State Collaboration The City maintains close collaboration with staff from the DNR regarding implementation of the Long-Term Deer Management Plan. The City has sought input from DNR staff before and after each of the last two urban bow hunts and have incorporated many of their suggestions. On March 9, 2022, City staff met with the regional Wildlife/Depredation and Wildlife Management Biologists and statewide Conservation and Recreation Division Administrator to discuss the City’s deer management efforts, progress to-date, and possible strategies to pursue going forward. Following this meeting, City and DNR staff planned to conduct joint data analysis to identify top areas of concern where the City could explore targeting specific property owners to participate in deer culling activities. Additionally, City staff will be available to present to the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) on the City’s efforts, successes, and challenges. Both City and DNR staff recognize that shifting social and political comfort levels with the program in Iowa City is a work in progress. Staff intend to continue refining the urban bow hunt program in collaboration with the DNR and NRC. However, the City may need to explore sharpshooting in targeted areas to help manage growing deer levels while the Urban Bow Hunt program continues to be improved and gain traction as a more reliable deer management tool. 3 DEER COLLISIONS & COMPLAINTS Vehicle & Deer Collisions Between January 1, 2021 and December 31, 2021, the Iowa City Police Department received 36 calls for service involving vehicular collisions with deer. An interactive map showing locations of vehicle-deer collisions over the years is available at www.icgov.org/deerprogram. 2021 Vehicle-Deer Collisions (Iowa City Police Department) Date Location of Deer Collision Total Estimated Damage 1/19/2021 N Scott Blvd and Lower West Branch Rd $1,500 2/19/2021 Rochester Ave $2,000 2/26/2021 State 1/N. Dodge St $1,000 2/27/2021 N Dubuque St $2,000 3/9/2021 HWY 6 W $500 3/16/2021 N Dubuque St $3,000 3/17/2021 US 6 $5,000 3/19/2021 E Court St $500 4/4/2021 Interstate 80 eb, mm 245 $3,000 4/6/2021 US 6 $1,000 4/28/2021 US 218 $10,000 4/29/2021 N Scott Blvd $4,500 5/1/2021 W066/Dubuque St $2,500 5/10/2021 US 218 $5,000 5/13/2021 Evans St and E Jefferson St $1,000 5/14/2021 US 218 $5,000 5/30/2021 US 218 $5,000 6/6/2021 State 1/N Dodge St $5,000 7/5/2021 Rochester Ave and Teton Cir $10,000 9/7/2021 US 218 $1,500 9/5/2021 US 218 $3,000 9/26/2021 I-80 $3,000 10/19/2021 US 218 $2,000 4 10/18/2021 Rochester Ave $5,000 10/26/2021 I-80 $10,000 11/2/2021 US 218 $20,000 11/4/2021 N Dodge St $4,000 11/5/2021 Highway 1 W $4,500 11/5/2021 Highway 6 $4,000 10/29/2021 2208 N Dodge $2,000 11/8/2021 Dubuque St/Park Rd $2,500 11/10/2021 US 218 (93mm) $5,000 11/13/2021 Scott Blvd $5,000 11/14/2021 Highway 6 $1,500 12/5/2021 McCollister/Sycamore St $10,000 12/18/2021 Highway 6 $3,000 51 54 58 57 14 36 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 Number of Deer-Vehicle Collisions in Iowa City 5 Deer-Related Calls and Complaints Animal Services reported receiving three calls from residents regarding deer in 2021. Two complaints were related to intentional deer feeding and one was to express dissatisfaction regarding the results of the City’s urban bow hunt. The City Manager’s Office and City Council received 10 complaints regarding deer in 2021 (seven more complaints than 2020). Complaints ranged from reports of deer presence on private property or in roadways, reports of deer browsing plants, and requests for the City to take action to control the deer. Throughout the year, other City departments and divisions also receive deer-related complaints which may not be included. NON-LETHAL DEER MANAGEMENT Iowa City’s Long-Term Deer Management Plan includes a series of activities for the City to provide, consider, or develop. Non-lethal management actions taken to date include: • Publishing of a comprehensive set of deer management related webpages at www.icgov.org/deerprogram. Content includes background information, FAQs, non-lethal management tips, links to resources, a map of deer-vehicle collisions, and other content referenced in the Long-Term Deer Management Plan. • Passing an ordinance which prohibits the feeding of deer and issued communications notifying residents. • Issuing a utility-bill insert advising residents on how to minimize deer damage using non-lethal methods. Currently, there are four Deer Crossing signs installed within Iowa City limits. These are located at Dubuque Street, north of Kimball Avenue; Dubuque Street, south of the I-80 bridge; Rochester Avenue, east of First Avenue; and Rochester Avenue, west of Scott Boulevard. In effort to deter deer from browsing on City-maintained plantings, the City has adopted a practicing of planting allium species in place of more deer-friendly vegetation, such as hostas. DEER DEPREDATION RESULTS The Long-Term Deer Management Plan adopted by City Council and submitted to the Iowa NRC, included one year of professional sharpshooting and a bow hunt in years 2020 – 2024. 2019 – 2020 Professional Sharpshooting The City contracted with White Buffalo Inc., a wildlife management organization, to conduct the 2019-2020 professional sharpshooting deer cull. White Buffalo Inc. provided a full report of the cull results in March 2020. Approximately 500 deer were harvested through the sharpshoot. The meat from the deer (estimated to be approximately 30,000 pounds) was tested for safety by the Iowa DNR and then processed and donated to local food banks. 6 2020 – 2021 Urban Bow Hunt A total of 14 tags were purchased between the five approved hunters. Of those tags, three deer were harvested during the 2020-2021 urban bow hunt. All the deer were harvested on private property per the hunt rules. Please visit www.icgov.org/deerprogram for more information. 2021 – 2022 Urban Bow Hunt Following the 2020-2021 season, the regional Wildlife/Depredation Biologist from the DNR reviewed the hunt results and determined the amount harvested would not be sufficient to maintain deer population management goals in Iowa City. Recommendations to improve effectiveness of Iowa City’s bow hunt program were provided and the City adopted the following changes for the 2021-2022 Urban Bow Hunt: • Lengthening the application period by approximately two months. • Opening the bow hunt season approximately two weeks earlier, to align with the state and Deer Management Zones (DMZs) across Iowa. • Increasing the quota from 75 deer to 200 deer, recognizing the quota increases tags but tags do not guarantee a harvest (a 30-50% success rate is typical throughout Iowa DMZs), to demonstrate consistency in the City’s stated population control goals of the Deer Management Plan and the actual implementation of the Plan. The DNR also recommended the City consider allowing hunting in public areas, such as parks and cemeteries. The City did not pursue this recommendation based on previous discussions with City Council. The City’s 2021- 2022 bow hunt season began on September 18, 2021 and ended on January 10, 2022. The City of Iowa City accepted applications for bow hunters until November 5, 2021. Five hunters applied and were accepted for the hunt. All hunters held a valid DNR hunting License, completed the required qualifications at Fin & Feather, and submitted the appropriate paperwork with the City regarding their hunt locations. A total of 15 tags were purchased between the five approved hunters. Of those tags, four deer were harvested during the 2021-2022 bow hunt. All the deer were harvested on private property per the hunt rules. There were no complaints received regarding the deer hunt. DNR # Doe Button Buck Total Harvest 1269596 0 670120278 0 4465621 3 3 1738095 0 2672145-455268 1 1 Total deer harvested in 2021-2022 Iowa City urban bow hunt: 4 No reporting violations occurred. One incentive buck tag was earned in Iowa City during this hunt. There were no complaints received regarding the deer hunt and no injuries reported. 7 AERIAL DEER SURVEY & DENSITY ESTIMATES On February 25, 2022, the Iowa DNR conducted an aerial deer survey in Iowa City. The estimated average deer density is 37.11 deer per square mile in 2022. The average deer density is 2021 was 14.04 deer/sq. mile, representing a 164% increase in the estimates from 2021 to 2022. The estimated deer density was 80 deer per square mile in 2018, based on a study conducted by White Buffalo Inc. The highest estimated deer density per square mile of all areas surveyed in 2022 was 82.40 deer/sq. mile (Zone A). The DNR advises that aerial surveys provide a snapshot of levels but that a variety of factors influence the day-to-day movement of deer throughout the area. Iowa City Aerial Surveys and Deer Observed Zone Acres Sq Miles 1997 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2007 2008 2021 2022 A 1,398 2.18 37 60 74 64 29 76 71 170 80 15 180 B 669 1.05 69 154 81 33 30 30 19 5 2 3 20 C 808 1.26 78 90 99 39 36 60 43 46 33 30 87 D 1,489 2.33 65 127 140 38 25 100 88 65 36 103 130 E 958 1.50 0 0 7 12 0 12 9 41 19 21 79 F 1,594 2.49 11 15 48 42 15 74 65 80 32 19 66 G 993 1.55 3 0 4 0 0 0 5 43 35 13 4 H 1,187 1.85 6 31 48 24 23 42 6 53 26 20 24 I 1,239 1.94 49 79 197 99 43 169 109 101 39 15 25 Total 318 556 698 351 201 563 415 604 302 239 615 Note: Professional sharpshooting to manage deer occurred in 2000 – 2009 and ceased in 2010. One year of professional sharpshooting was again completed in 2020 and culled approximately 500 deer. 318 556 698 351 201 563 415 604 302 239 615 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 800 1997 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2007 2008 2021 2022Total # Deer ObservedYear of Aerial Survey Iowa City Deer Observed by Year of Aerial Survey (all zones) 8 Iowa City Aerial Surveys Estimated Deer Density for Survey Zones Zone Acres Sq Miles 1997 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2005 2007 2008 2021 2022 A 1,398 2.18 16.94 27.47 33.88 29.30 13.28 34.79 32.50 77.83 36.62 6.87 82.40 B 669 1.05 66.01 147.32 77.49 31.57 28.70 28.70 18.18 4.78 1.91 2.87 19.13 C 808 1.26 61.78 71.29 78.42 30.89 28.51 47.52 34.06 36.44 26.14 23.76 68.91 D 1,489 2.33 27.94 54.59 60.17 16.33 10.75 42.98 37.82 27.94 15.47 44.27 55.88 E 958 1.50 0.00 0.00 4.68 8.02 0.00 8.02 6.01 27.39 12.69 14.03 52.78 F 1,594 2.49 4.42 6.02 19.27 16.86 6.02 29.71 26.10 32.12 12.85 7.63 26.50 G 993 1.55 1.93 0.00 2.58 0.00 0.00 0.00 3.22 27.71 22.56 8.38 2.58 H 1,187 1.85 3.24 16.71 25.88 12.94 12.40 22.65 3.24 28.58 14.02 10.78 12.94 I 1,239 1.94 25.31 40.81 101.76 51.14 22.21 87.30 56.30 52.17 20.15 7.75 12.91 Average 23.06 40.47 44.90 21.89 13.54 33.52 24.16 34.99 18.05 14.04 37.11 Zone Acres/Zone Habitat Acres*/Zone % City in Zone A 1,398 1,175 34% B 669 551 100% C 808 638 100% D 1,489 1,251 100% E 958 636 50% F 1,594 1,189 41% G 993 652 100% H 1,187 732 99% I 1,239 1,047 86% *Habitat based on 2002 aerials 9 Iowa City Aerial Survey Map