Iowa Rep. Molly Donahue has introduced HF 2118, which will prohibit trophy hunting, trapping, and hounding of mountain lions, black bears, and gray wolves in Iowa. This is an important step in addressing the needs of Iowa’s ecosystems.
Large mammalian carnivores and their prey coevolved, yet the landscape in Iowa has been without large carnivores for many years. Large carnivores maintain healthy prey populations by removing sick members. They also promote biodiversity in multiple ways. White-tailed deer have been shown to overgraze on native plants first, allowing for the spread of invasive species and loss of plant diversity. Large carnivores regulate prey population numbers, reducing overgrazing, which promotes plant diversity. Additionally, carrion from large carnivores has been shown to support scavenging animals.
The presence of large carnivores can help stabilize waterways, by preventing overgrazing from herds. More vegetation prevents excess erosion and can create a buffer zone when water levels rise, creating more stable waterways. This effect was notably observed after the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park.
Without large carnivores the white-tailed deer in Iowa relies solely on hunters and traffic accidents to manage the population. While deer hunting generates revenue and provides recreational opportunities, it does not effectively manage the population. Damages to crops, gardens, and lawns are a major complaint amongst Iowans. Furthermore, the high number of vehicle collisions with deer in Iowa result in needless financial losses, injuries and death.
Please submit comments to Natural Resources Committee of the Iowa House of Representatives, calling on them to support HF 2118. Feel free to use our action alert form to easily submit comments to Iowa legislators.