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Officers with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) responded to four deer hunting incidents over the weekend – one related to property damage, one minor injury, one serious injury and one fatality - and one related to pheasant hunting.
The first of Iowa’s two shotgun deer hunting seasons will end on Dec. 8. Second shotgun deer season runs from Dec. 11-19. An estimated 120,000 hunters are expected to participate in one of the two seasons.
Jamie Cook, hunter education coordinator for the Iowa DNR, said these incidents underscore the importance of putting together a hunting plan that identifies the role and location of each member of the hunting party and then following the plan when in the field.
“The hunting plan is a step by step playbook for how the hunt will unfold that includes reviewing safe hunting practices, avoid target fixation, and drives home the point of not just identifying the deer, but what is beyond the deer, before taking the shot. It’s the most essential part of every hunt,” Cook said.
He also stressed the importance of wearing more than the minimum amount of blaze orange than is required for the deer gun seasons. Iowa law requires one of the following pieces of external clothing of solid blaze orange: vest, jacket, coat, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls. “You can’t have too much blaze orange on. If the color has started to fade, it’s time to replace it. You want to be seen from all sides,” he said.
Cook said it’s also each hunter’s responsibility to know and understand their limitations as a hunter and the firearms capability and to stay within those.
“This is especially true when utilizing a rifle for the first time during the shotgun season. Hunter’s need to exercise good judgment when taking a shot and remember that when using a higher capacity magazine that they could be shooting over a longer period of time and possibly covering a larger area so they need to be even more aware of what’s going on around them and not get fixated on the target,” he said.