Contact: Kent Keene, Lower Midwestern States Coordinator
On April 28, the Iowa Natural Resource Commission held a meeting to discuss proposed changes to the Iowa Administrative Code. Among the proposed amendments were updates to the state’s furbearer harvest opportunities, including an increase to the annual river otter bag limit and the addition of two counties to the bobcat harvest zone. In response to the public comment opportunity associated with these proposed changes, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) submitted a formal letter of support for both amendments.
The proposed amendments to Chapter 108 of the Iowa Administrative Code sought to accomplish three things: the annual river otter bag limit to be increased by one, allowing a total of 3 river otters annually; Boone and Webster counties were added to Iowa’s 1 bobcat per furharvester zone; and clarification of the statewide annual bobcat bag limit of 3 bobcats.
These proposed changes are the result of 12 years of river otter and bobcat population growth that the Commission has determined warrant increased harvest levels. Once nearly extirpated by unregulated market hunters and trappers, recent population growth is the result of significant restoration efforts performed by the Iowa Natural Resource Commission and the Iowa Department of Natural Resource with support from sportsmen and women through the American System of Conservation Funding. As a result, river otter and bobcat populations continue to grow, and hunters and trappers continue to see increased opportunities to practice their outdoor heritage.
CSF supports state fish and wildlife agencies as those best equipped to make science-based wildlife management decisions and commends the Iowa Natural Resources Commission and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for this accomplishment. Similarly, CSF supports the Commission’s recognition of hunters and trappers, operating within the regulations established by the Commission, as the most effective tool for managing wildlife populations. Partnerships such as these continue to result in the success of wildlife restoration projects and an associated increase in opportunities for the sportsmen and women who support these efforts.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment