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SF 427 An Act related to deer population management


Life Member
Link to the bill: SF 427

This is a huge bill. It has far reaching implications for deer and deer hunting in Iowa.

The DNR held their annual State of the Deer Herd meeting yesterday. This is the meeting where they go over all of the harvest data for the previous year and show how the results have been trending over the years. Also in this meeting they lay out their plans for the upcoming deer seasons. One of their plans was to resume the antlerless only late season. The counties that would be included in the antlerless only late season are Allamakee, Appanoose, Decatur, Wayne and Winneshiek. For this season to take place the county would need to have at least 100 unsold tags left on the third Monday in December. Method of take would be the same as past antlerless only late season. The DNR did point out that in the past the antlerless only late season didn't increase antlerless harvest, just the season in which they were killed.

What does the DNR proposed antlerless only late season have to do with the proposed bill? Part of this bill calls for an antlerless only late season in any county with left over tags and would allow center fire rifles shooting a bullet with a maximum diameter of no less than two hundred an twenty-three one thousandths of an inch and no larger than 500 thousandths of an inch and with a published or calculated muzzle energy of five hundred foot pounds or higher.

The DNR proposed a commonsense rule that I felt had good checks and balances. This section of the proposed bill is a proponent for brown and down.

This bill has several other sections. Currently if someone is convicted of killing an antlerless deer out of season or without a tag they are to make restitution to the state for the loss of the deer in the amount of $1500.00 This bill would drop that to $50.00 and it calls for the refunding of the $1500 to to the person found guilty if they were found guilty after July 1st 2020.

Another section of the bill addresses depredation licenses and shooting permits. I am not familiar enough with that program to know if the change is significant or not, but the bill states, among other things, that these licenses and permits may be used in September, October, November and December.

Here is a copy and paste of a section of the bill that I can not begin to shorten, this is from the "Explanation" section of the bill:

The bill requires DNR to conduct a deer population study to determine the estimated deer population in each county in this state. The bill requires DNR to review and provide scientific data relating to the environmental impact of excessive deer populations, including the impact to crops and trees, review information relating to the spread of disease in deer and other wildlife populations, and include information on property loss, medical costs, and fatalities due to deer-vehicle accidents. The bill requires DNR to work with relevant representatives from the Iowa state university of science and technology, the department of transportation, and the insurance division of the department of commerce. Expenses for conducting the study shall be paid from the fish and wildlife protection fund. The bill requires DNR to submit a report to the general assembly by January 1, 2022.

To me, the legislature wants to know how nay deer are in Iowa and if it is overpopulated with deer. If the findings indicate the state is overpopulated then, well, I don't need to explain that to anybody.

I need to point out a discrepancy between the actual bill and the explanation section, the bill would allow .223 to .500 caliber weapons and the explanation indicates it is .233 to .500 caliber. I'm not shire which is the desired reading but I went with what was in the actual bill.

This is just my understanding of the bill, I would encourage each of you to read and draw your own conclusions.

The bill has ben referred to the Senate Natural Resources and Environment Committee.


Well-Known Member
What has the harvest trends been the last 4-5 years in IA? What are everyone’s general thoughts of the herd levels throughout the state?


PMA Member
Harvest levels have probably been on par with what they need to be but if they start letting rifles and late season everywhere there is leftover tags then people will do it just to do it and out of boredom. Then ya get one bad EHD year or winter and then your deer herd is low.
Not to mention this basically allowing rifles statewide which is the next step since they've been introduced in certain parts already.


Life Member
I'm reluctant to post these charts without the benefit of the DNR biometrician's presentation but the numbers speak for themselves.





Land of the Whitetail
Link to the bill: SF 427

This bill has several other sections. Currently if someone is convicted of killing an antlerless deer out of season or without a tag they are to make restitution to the state for the loss of the deer in the amount of $1500.00 This bill would drop that to $50.00 and it calls for the refunding of the $1500 to to the person found guilty if they were found guilty after July 1st 2020.
So part of this bill is proposing that its only going to cost someone $50 if caught poaching?


Life Member
So part of this bill is proposing that its only going to cost someone $50 if caught poaching?

Well, kind of. What they are doing is reducing the value of an antlerless deer from $1500 to $50 for the restitution part of a poaching case. There will still be fines.


Life Member
This bill has a new number, link to the bill: SF 464

This bill was introduced a week ago. Since it was introduced it has moved very quickly though the system and is now eligible for Senate debate but it is not yet on the daily debate calendar. It would appear someone wants this bill to pass and pass quickly. The only group to register in favor of this bill is the Farm Bureau.

There is currently a case moving through the judicial system that prompted this bill. The case involves a person that shot several deer in an unpicked bean field on or around January 20th of this year. IF, and I stress IF the accused is found guilty his total fines will be north of $40K. That is fact, it is public record. The rumor is the DNR reduced the number of charges they could have filed by 1/2.


Life Member
This bill, as has been noted, has been moved to the Ways and means Committee. It has a subcommittee meeting tomorrow at 0800. The Senate only allows the public and lobbyists to attend by Zoom.

Link to subcommittee zoom meeting: ZOOM IT HERE

Link to add public comments: ADD COMMENTS HERE


Life Member
We have heard that the part about the retroactive fine reimbursement is going to be dropped. Do they think that's what has us so upset about this bill?


Life Member
There is no greater frustration than that which is caused by a computer.

I've been tying to sign on to the zoom meeting for over 15 minutes with no success. Perhaps I need a tutorial. I keep getting "this meeting is for authorized members only" I thought the public was an authorized viewer.

If anybody else could get in please let me know how you did it.


Life Member
Copy and paste from someone who was able to sign on through zoom:

The outcome of the subcommittee meeting was that the bill will be forwarded to the Senate for debate subject to amendment. I have requested that Senator Green send me a copy of the amendment as soon as it is finalized. The main things that are up for amending are removing the retroactive part, adjusting the fine to a higher level, changing the depredation tag fees and the rifle language. We will have to wait to see what comes out.

He was also able to coach me up on how to access zoom for those meetings and of course it was 'Bonker error.
Below is the response I got from my the Brad Zaun in the senate (R-Urbandale):

Thanks for the email.

I support Senate File 464 for several reasons. This bill calls for a review of the deer population in an historical context going back to 1970. It also calls for environmental and economic impact assessments so the deer population is considered in a broader context than just the perspective of the hunting community. For example, Iowa is also known for one of the highest rates of deer vehicle accidents. This has a significant impact in terms of property damage and human safety. The bill requires input from Iowa State University Extension, the Iowa DOT and the Iowa Insurance Division.

To address the current over-population in certain counties, the bill requires the DNR to establish a January rifle hunting/depredation season for the counties in which allocated tags went unsold. The purpose of this season is not to hunt for sport, it is to manage the size of the herd, which is why more efficient and effective firearms are being authorized.

The bill cuts the cost of depredation licenses down to $2, same as a landowner tag, to make it far less expensive to remove nuisance deer from someone’s property. The bill also allows depredation tags to be used throughout the fall and into December.

Finally, the bill changes the civil penalty for illegally taking an antlerless deer. In current law, one who illegally takes an antlerless deer must reimburse the state $1500, which is the same penalty as for killing a swan or a crane. Illegally taking an animal that is on the endangered species list requires a civil penalty of $1000, while illegally taking a fox or bobcat is $200. By amendment, we will strike the retroactive language, and we are having conversations about what the civil penalty should be. All scheduled fines for illegally taking deer remain in place, as do the civil penalties for taking antlered deer.


Senator Brad Zaun

Senate President Pro Tempore

Senate District 20


Life Member
SF 464 now has a full Ways and Means Committee meeting on Monday 3/15/21 at 1400.

List of committee members:

The names are links to their web pages and their emails are on those pages. Currently there aren't any links to make a public comment or Zoom link for the meeting. I will post those if they are available.

Still no word on what the amended bill will look like.


Life Member
Got a copy of the proposed amendment. Looks like the proposed $50 restitution for shooting a doe is increased to $200 (still less than $1500), would require the DNR to do the comprehensive cost of the deer population to the economics of Iowa every three years, drop the retroactive reimbursement and change the title of the bill to "An Act relating to deer population management".

Still no live links to comment or watch it live. The meeting is in the Senate chamber so it may be live on that feed.

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