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Duck hunters are optimistic with the main season underway

  • 10/22/2019 3:37:00 PM
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The September rain was a game changer for Iowa duck hunters, improving habitat conditions across most of the state by creating a number of shallow water areas where food is available.

“The continuous rains have really changed the habitat from the early teal season,” said Orrin Jones, state waterfowl biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Habitat that didn’t have water before has it now.”

Add in an active weather pattern up north that sent a large migration push into Iowa recently, creating a nice mix of early and midseason ducks. The combination of quality habitat and available birds will give hunters an opportunity for success.

“We’re hearing about large numbers of ducks at Red Rock and at Riverton, as well as other areas,” Jones said. “And while that’s good news, the bulk of the migration and hunting activities has yet to occur.”

Duck season is open in the north zone through Dec. 3, in the south zone through Dec. 10, and will be open in the Missouri River zone from Oct. 26-Dec. 17. The Iowa DNR posts a weekly duck migration report on its website at

Hunter input wanted – discussion on waterfowl seasons and zones for 2021-25 continues

Iowa waterfowl hunters have two more opportunities to hear what the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has come up with for its proposed waterfowl season and zone structure for the 2021-2025 waterfowl hunting seasons.

Staff will present information including the results from the statewide hunter survey, the federal rules and guidelines that govern waterfowl hunting and the proposed season and zone structure.

All meetings are scheduled from 6-8 p.m. The remaining meetings are scheduled for:

  • Oct. 22, Story County Conservation Center, McFarland Park, near Ames
  • Oct. 23, Alta Community Center, in Alta

Feedback collected at all five meetings will be reviewed before an official proposal is submitted to the Natural Resource Commission for consideration. If approved, the rule would have an open comment period before going in front of the commission again for a final vote.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows states to make changes to their waterfowl zones and boundaries once every five years. Any changes will be reflected in the 2021-2025 waterfowl seasons.

Any person attending the public meeting and has special requirements such as those related to mobility or hearing impairments should contact the DNR or ADA Coordinator at 515-725-8200, Relay Iowa TTY Service 800-735-7942, or, and advise of specific needs.