Keokuk taking aim at deer population

Bow hunting archery tests take place in Keokuk.

UPDATE: November 1, 11:53 a.m.

It's been one month since Keokuk's city limit deer hunt began.

Keokuk Police Chief Tom Crew says 15 deer have been harvested.

Crew says the number seems low but the warm weather may have kept hunters away.


UPDATE: September 10, 10:15 p.m.

Bow hunters looking to hunt within Keokuk's city limits must pass a test this year.

It's the first time for such a test as new deer control rules have been put in place.

Saturday, hunters from the area attended the first of three sessions to test their archery proficiency. These hunters will have to pass this test every year with the bow they intend to hunt with, within the city limits.

The test was short. Hunters had a total of five shots at 20 yards without a warmup.

"We had some of them that did very well. Others were a little rusty and are going to practice and come back. This is something new to the city. It's not set in stone. Some things may change others won't," said Mike Moore, the test's organizer and city council member.

If you missed Saturday's test, there are two more opportunities this month.

Wednesday, September 14th at 5 p.m. and Saturday, September 24th at 8 a.m.

The test will be given at 220 Timea Street in Keokuk.


(April 7, 2:00 p.m.) People in Keokuk will learn how to legally hunt deer in the city limits tonight. A DNR specialist will be at tonights city council meeting. He will provide the city with some rules about what they can and cannot do during the hunt.

The city is trying to find a way to make the deer herd smaller inside the city limits. We will have more details after tonights meeting on the Late News at ten.


Keokuk is taking aim at reducing its deer population.

People who live there say the problem is out of control.

One idea to reduce the numbers is to allow bow hunting within city limits.

KHQA's Jarod Wells has the details.

Jim Brown and his wife have lived in their house at 1908 Fulton Street in Keokuk since 1974. They bought it because they liked the wooded area in the back yard. Ironically, that is now causing them problems.

Jim Brown said, "From my perspective it's unnecessary, there's no real reason why these deer need to be here. It's a problem that's grown out of hand, because they didn't do anything about it back when it was a simple problem."

This picture was taken last Sunday afternoon (1/31) around 4:30PM when it was still light out. There are eleven deer in the picture and a neighbor told Jim there were two others he didn't see. So there were 13 deer in his yard. Brown says that's the most he and his wife has seen at one time, but it's normal to see a group of five or six grazing through his yard.

Brown said, "There's very little I can do other than try to chase them off which doesn't work very well because they're pretty much conditioned to you by now."

Brown says the deer make it impossible to garden or grow any type of flowers. He's had a few close calls with the deer while driving and he also has concerns about the deer hurting kids in the area. All are reasons they city want them out. City council member Dan Winn and Fire Chief Mark Wessel are on a committee trying to find a solution. Wessel is currently talking to other cities who have allowed bow hunting within city limits to lower the number of deer. Nothing is concrete yet, but if Keokuk goes with this option there would be plenty of restrictions. Areas would be zoned as to where hunters can and cannot hunt. Some residential areas would be prohibited. Hunters would have to go through a course before they're allowed to hunt and would have to get permission from the property owner. They would have to be a certain distance away from homes and would have to be within a certain distance from the deer to shoot.

Brown said, "It would obviously be a concern. They don't know which side of that deer they're going to be on when they decide to shoot there now. The excitement of the moment may make them forget the fact that I'm sitting up here."

There are also schools in the area which is another concern for Jim Brown. He says he would want to make certain the city has done its homework and set solid ground rules.

The next step in this process is still unknown.

Councilman Dan Winn says nothing will happen until all the information is gathered from other cities that have taken similar steps to reduce their deer population.