The Iowa DNR expects that nearly 90,000 hunters will be heading to the woods and fields during Saturday’s opening day for first shotgun season. Iowa’s shotgun deer seasons are the most popular among hunters and account for more than half of all deer harvested. Although hunters will still have good hunting opportunities they can expect to find fewer deer across much of the state. They may need to hunt a little longer this year to be successful.
“Deer numbers in many areas are near the department’s objective and we are now encouraging hunters to be more selective with their harvest,” said Dale Garner, the DNR’s wildlife bureau chief.
“We have been hearing complaints from hunters that they are not seeing the number of deer that they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far,” he said. “My advice to those hunters is to work with the landowner to see if the deer population is at a desirable level and adjust the local doe harvest accordingly.”
With the crop harvest being completed, good habitat conditions and a favorable weather forecast hunting conditions should be excellent in most of the state. However, in western Iowa, hunters may find that the summer-long Missouri River flooding has changed the deer distributions so they may need to adjust where they hunt.
Blaze orange is required for hunters participating in the shotgun hunts and party hunting is legal. Hunters using blinds during the shotgun seasons are reminded that they are required to display at least 144 square inches of blaze orange that is visible from all directions (see p. 23 of the 2011 Hunting Regulations for more information).
Report Your Harvest
All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. Accurately reporting the harvest is an important part of Iowa’s deer management program and plays a vital role in managing deer populations and future hunting opportunities.
For hunters with Internet access, the online harvest reporting is the easiest way to register the deer. Hunters can report their deer online at www.iowadnr.gov, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.
Tagging Antlered Deer
Hunters are reminded that antlered deer must have the transportation tag attached to the antler’s main beam, either at the base or between two points.
First shotgun season is Dec. 3-7. Second shotgun season is Dec. 10-18. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Youth Season Tags
Youth season hunters with an unfilled “any-deer” license from the youth deer season who did not harvest a deer are eligible to hunt during one of the two shotgun seasons. However, the youth hunter must follow the weapons restrictions that are in place during the season and be under the direct supervision of a licensed adult. A youth must harvest and tag their own deer.
For more information contact Tom Litchfield, State Deer Biologist, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 641-774-2958.