CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa Iowa drivers are hitting fewer deer these days. Iowa DNR officials said hunters have thinned the herd.
It was prompted by the state legislature, who 10 years ago thought deer numbers were getting out of hand. They tapped the DNR to solve the problem and in response officials offered Iowa hunters more antlerless tags and extra hunting seasons. It worked.
"We were told to get the deer populations down to where they were in the mid-90s. We're at that number now in just about every county in the state," said DNR spokesperson Joe Wilkinson.
Drivers are benefiting, big time. Fewer deer mean fewer collisions. In '04, for every billion miles driven by Iowans 803 deer were killed. In 2012, that number dropped to 554.
In Cedar Rapids, officials said their numbers are even better.
"Since 2005, we've seen nearly a 57% reduction in car/deer accidents," said Captain Jason Andrews with the Cedar Rapids Fire Department.
Andrews said the area owes their drop to the Urban Deer Hunt program, which since '05 has allowed hunters to harvest deer with bows on private property in city limits.
"We saw back in the early 2000s that we had a marked number of auto/deer accidents that were causing a safety risk to the citizens. This hunt has been greatly successful," said Andrews.
When it comes to deer safety on the roads the DNR said basics haven't changed. Deer are moving mostly at dawn and dusk, so keep alert and take it slow. Also, like in years past, officials said "don't veer for deer." Instead, stay in your lane of traffic.