Welcome to the Quarterly Hunting E-mail Newsletter
The Iowa DNR hopes you enjoy the new hunting email newsletter. The goal is to help Iowa hunters succeed by providing the latest hunting news, resources and tips from DNR experts. For now the email newsletter will be produced quarterly, with occasional important updates. Thanks for reading!
License and Regulation Updates:
Revive Holiday Pheasant Hunting Tradition
Iowa’s 2014 pheasant season has produced some of the best hunting in the past six years and peak hunting may be just starting.
“The formula has come together for good hunting over the holidays – our bird numbers are up, the crop harvest was late and the fall was cooler than normal,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Now is the time to get into the field.”
With the rebound in the pheasant population, Bogenschutz said this year would be a good time to restart the family pheasant hunting tradition.
“We have the best pheasant numbers since 2008. People are telling me that more birds are flushing; that they are hearing more crowing and cackling out there.”
Counts this summer averaged 17.4 pheasants per 30 mile survey route, up 151 percent from last year’s 6.9…an all-time low. Of the nine regions monitored, eight had increases ranging from 102-290 percent. Only northeast Iowa showed no change.
Bogenschutz says drought conditions across the past two summers probably kept pheasants in the fields on August mornings, rather than pushing up to road edges, to escape heavy dew. That may have kept many from being tallied on the 200 gravel road routes surveyed. Hunters harvested 10,000 more pheasants in 2013, despite the record low counts.
So, where do you find them, on a winter morning?
“The best habitat will hold birds; good winter cover, good nesting cover, too. Hunters should be happy hunting those areas, over just decent nesting cover,” predicts Bogenschutz. “Hunt around the best habitat, and you will be pleasantly surprised. Talk to the farmers where you will be hunting. Ask what they saw while harvesting the crops.”
7 Things to Know Before Hunting Public Land
Before heading out this fall in the hopes of harvesting a duck, goose, pheasant, rabbit, deer or other game, there are a number of things to be aware of when hunting public land.
- Scout it out. Take a pre-trip out to get a lay of the land so you’ll be prepared and more familiar with the area.
- Be aware of others. Never assume you’re the only person on a public parcel. Be aware of other hunters, as well as non-hunters – public land is open for all types of activities. Even if your season does not require wearing blaze orange, consider wearing at least one piece in and out of the woods to make yourself visible.
- Know where you are. Public land – both county and state – is marked by green signs. If you’re not sure, don’t cross a fence. Also keep in mind an area may be managed by county, state or federal government. Know the regulations for each area and contact the correct agency with questions.
- Keep it clean. Respect the woods – be sure to carry out all trash and leave the area better than you found it.
- Be sure of your shot. Check the Iowa hunting regulations for seasons and hunting areas that require the use of nontoxic shot.
- Take a stand. Keep in mind tree stands for bow hunting deer cannot be permanent or have screw-in style steps. Only use a stand with straps or ropes.
- Try off-peak hours. Try hunting mid-day during the week, when possible. You’re more likely to have the area to yourself.
To find places to go, use the new DNR Hunting Atlas
to find public land or learn more about the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP)
, which works with private landowners to improve habitat and opens the land to public hunting.
Iowa Habitat and Access Program Expands
Landowners and hunters will benefit from $3 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand the Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP)
The DNR’s Iowa Habitat and Access Program provides landowners with financial assistance to improve habitat. In return, participating landowners agree to open those lands for public hunting.
With the federal money, the DNR will be able to add 22,000 acres of public hunting on private lands to the program. Currently more than 8,000 acres at 50 locations have received habitat improvements and provided new hunting opportunities.
News Release, August 26, 2014: Iowa Receives $3 Million for Habitat and Hunter Access Program
License and Regulation Updates
New! Register Your Deer Harvest with Your Mobile Device
The DNR’s online deer harvesting site
is now mobile friendly. Report your deer while in the field easily and conveniently. Additional information can be found under deer harvest reporting
Land Owner Tenant -- Important Information
You may register your land online for Landowner Tenant (LOT) privileges, or by phone at 515-725-8200.* You will need your parcel ID number for the property you own or rent. Land must be a minimum of 2 acres and must be used for agricultural purposes, enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program or in the Forest Reserve Program
Please double check your LOT registration prior to purchasing your LOT tags. If there has been any change in your ownership or leasing status, you may be unable to purchase your LOT licenses. If you notice your account is marked inactive, you will need to contact DNR customer service by phone to have it re-activated. Please check your account soon to eliminate delays in purchasing.
(Please Note – the Iowa DNR main number will change on Nov 24, 2014 to (515) 725-8200.
Highlights & Changes to 2014 Deer Season
The 2014 deer season has a few new changes, many to help manage deer numbers to provide continued quality hunting in Iowa. Here’s a highlight of the changes, and you can find the Hunting and Trapping Regulations
on the DNR license page
- January antlerless season was eliminated.
- Antlerless deer quotas have been reduced.
- In 27 counties (northwest quadrant of Iowa), only antlered deer may be harvested during first shotgun and early muzzleloader (a map can be found in the regulations book)
- Crossbow is now a legal method of take during the late muzzleloader season for resident hunters.
3-Year Hunting License Saves Money, Increases Convenience
When buying your hunting license, consider a 3-year Hunter’s Special, which includes habitat fees, for just $86. The license saves $10 and is good until January 2017, ensuring you’re always ready for the hunt. Buy your license online
or visit the DNR combo license page
to learn more about the 3-year license and other new combos to help you save money and increase convenience.
Deer Hunting Reminders
As most deer hunters get ready for the season, here are a few reminders to be prepared for the hunt:
- Tags/License: Now is the best time to review your hunting license and deer tags. Please make sure the name, hunting zone and season are correct. Keep your tags and hunting license in a dry, secure place where they will be readily available when hunting and harvesting deer.
- Duplicates: If you happen to lose your license and/or deer tags, you may purchase a duplicate of each privilege for $4.50. Find a vendor on the DNR website.
- Reporting Your Harvest: Once you have tagged your Iowa deer, it is mandatory you report your harvest to the DNR. Save the reporting number in your cell phone today: (800) 771-4692 OR bookmark the online harvest report system link.
- Transporting: To transport your deer, please be aware of the following:
A. While transporting a whole carcass, the transportation tag and harvest report tag need to be attached to the animal until it is processed for consumption.
B. While transporting a processed animal, the transportation tag needs to remain attached to the head/rack and the harvest tag needs to be with the boned meat.
D. For detailed information on tagging requirements before transporting, please see pages 28 and 29 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations.
- TIP: If you see or hear of poaching activity, please call the TIP line immediately at (800) 532-2020.
- Know your Contacts: Conservation officer names and cell phone numbers are listed by county on page 38 of the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations.
- Blaze Orange Required: To hunt deer with a firearm in any season you must wear one of the following articles of external, visible, solid blaze orange clothing: vest, jacket, coat, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls. An orange hat alone is not sufficient.