Well, I decided to do it. After over two years of watching the deer population in our area and many parts of the state decline, I decided to write to Governor Branstad. Like many other hunters, I've complained about it and I've criticized the Governor for ignoring the recommendations of the IDNR Biologists. I decided to quit complaining and let him know how I felt. Here is the letter:
Dear Governor Branstad:
I am a life-long, Iowa resident in my mid-fifties. I will add that I am an Iowa voter and proudly participate in our elections. I am a taxpayer, churchgoer and property owner. I am also a deer hunter.
I am a college graduate who along with my wife of almost 33 years raised three children. All three attended Iowa institutions of higher education. I count myself fortunate that my two sons married Iowa girls and are raising my grandchildren in Iowa where I can see them often.
I write all of this to hopefully demonstrate that by most standards, I am doing all the things that good Iowans do. I live and work and pay taxes and obey the laws of this my home. Iowa. I love Iowa. I want what is best for Iowa.
From my earliest recollections as a young man growing up on a small Iowa farm, I wanted to help wildlife. I attended Iowa State University and graduated in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology where I developed a deep admiration and respect for the professors that were in that program. I learned much from them as it relates to wildlife management and I have been so very fortunate to work in the field of parks and wildlife management for 35 years first on the state level and then the county. And all of those years were in Iowa.
I have watched and experienced most of the modern deer management efforts and changes that have taken place in this state. As you are aware, the managing of the deer herd in Iowa is an amazing success story. When Iowa's deer population reached unacceptable numbers a plan to reduce those numbers was implemented. And when the targeted reduction in numbers was met these dedicated Iowa Department of Natural Resources wildlife professionals recommended changes in harvest numbers. However, these were recommendations that apparently fell upon deaf ears in your office. The following year these recommendations met the very same deaf ears.
I write this with the hope that my words will not fall upon deaf ears. I mentioned near the beginning of this that I am a deer hunter. I am an avid deer hunter. And as such, I suppose you could say that I am a member of a special interest group. That's fine. Just give us the same consideration you give other special interest groups on the issue then. When other special interest groups trump the recommendations of our own Iowa DNR wildlife biologists then something is wrong.
During this past month, my wife and I have had occasion to drive from our home over to Lincoln, Nebraska and then from our home over to Bloomington, Illinois. In all of those miles (most of it four lane highway) we saw evidence of one roadkill deer.
As a wildlife professional, I urge you to consider and take the advice of those people who are hired and paid to make those recommendations. Otherwise, to thumb a nose at these recommendations is a waste of my hard-earned tax money as well as yours. The deer population in my home of Grundy County is down. The deer population in many other parts of Iowa is also down. The deer biologists that serve Iowa know the biology of the animal they are charged to manage and have expressed that same sentiment.
I fear for the deer population levels in my area and many others across Iowa. Allowing the harvest to be above DNR recommendations have already had a negative impact and will continue at increased levels as this pendulum swings. Once too far, the rebound in numbers will be slow to happen.
Thank you for taking time and consideration of my thoughts. They are the thoughts of many Iowans.
So there you have it. I sent it off to his office in Des Moines. I'll let you know if I receive a response!