The white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, was undoubtedly abundant along the streams of Iowa when white man first settled here. The greater portion of the state, however, was covered with a lush growth of prairie plants and grasses more conclusive to the production of prairie chicken than of deer. Leopold (Crane, 1933) reported the original stock of deer was mostly gone by 1865, although a few herds remained until about 1915. Madson (1953) elaborated upon the blizzards of 1848-1849 and the heavy kill by early settlers during the terrible winter of 1856. This may well have marked the beginning of the decline in population from which the herds never recovered. Before 1900 the deer had almost vanished from the state; however, in 1894 a farmer named William Cuppy, of Avoca, had penned up 35 animals. Later these deer escaped and established a herd in that vicinity and by 1914 it was estimated that there were in the neighborhood of 200 deer in Pottawattamie County.
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science
©1954 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.
Sanderson, Glen C. and Speaker, E. B.
"Results of Iowa's First Deer Season in Recent Years,"
Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, 61(1), 615-630.
Available at: https://scholarworks.uni.edu/pias/vol61/iss1/81