DNR Asking for Input on Proposed Changes - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

DNR Asking for Input on Proposed Changes

Updated: May 16, 2013 10:37 PM CDT

Changes could be coming to Iowa's hunting and trapping seasons, and the Department of Natural Resources is asking for your input.

Take bobcats. You may not have ever seen one in your backyard or local park, but conservation officers say they are here. Ed Kocal says, "Every year I get a few sightings in Bettendorf, along Duck Creek Park. So we probably do have a pair or two that breed in the area and have young every year." In fact, he tells us, the bobcat population is strong statewide. They're fairly common in Muscatine County. That is part of the reason the DNR is proposing getting rid of quotas for bobcats, and river otters.

"River otters are very common," Kocal says. "The Wapsipinicon River Basin is full of them, the Mississippi River has them. They're a lot more common than people think." We couldn't find any, but Kocal says that's not surprising, calling them secretive animals. "Not normally gonna see one out and about, but they are very abundant. In fact, so abundant in some areas, they are impacting our fish populations."

He says some have questioned the quota changes, wanting officers to be a little conservative. But Kocal says data backs up the proposed decision for both types of animals, which are popular for their pelts. He says, "They're really flourishing."

And he says, officers watch the numbers each year, and have to adapt when it comes to controlling populations. That's why these changes call for cutting back on antlerless deer licenses in some Iowa counties. "It's back to what we consider manageable levels where our road kill numbers have gone down tremendously in the last 3 or 4 years," he says, telling us, "The hunters are having success." "It's a balancing act between farmers, hunters and motorists."

Proposed changes cover pigeons, geese and a handful of other wildlife as well.  You have a week to give that agency your input.