O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

By Iowa DNR 

Iowa's 2018 shotgun deer season quickly approaching


November 29, 2018

Deer hunters will soon be trading in their bows for shotguns and body harnesses for blaze orange vests as the calendar turns to December and the first of Iowa’s three main gun seasons begin. And based on reports, it looks like Hunting will be good, if the weather cooperates.

“Our deer population is similar to last year and they are definitely moving right now,” said Tyler Harms, wildlife biometrician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). “The recent colder weather and rut activity have things looking positive for our shotgun seasons.”

First shotgun season is Dec. 1-5, followed by second shotgun season Dec. 8-16. Late muzzleloader season is Dec. 17-Jan. 10, which it shares with the reopening of the bow season.

The bulk of the deer harvest, and hunter participation, occurs during the shotgun seasons. The Iowa DNR expects about 60,000 hunters in each shotgun season, plus 30,000 in the late muzzleloader season. The traditional technique in shotgun season is to drive and post where some members of the group post the end of the timber, while other walk through driving deer towards them.

With all that activity in the timber, Harms advised hunters to keep safety at the top of their Hunting plan. The Hunting plan identifies where each hunter will be and how the hunt will unfold. The plan should also include checking the blaze orange and replace any that has faded over time. Hunters are required to wear one article of external solid blaze orange clothing: vest, jacket, coat, sweatshirt, sweater, short or coveralls. An orange hat alone doesn’t suffice.

“You want to be seen by other hunters so it would be a good idea to wear more than the minimum amount of blaze orange required,” Harms said.

Hunters will notice few regulations changes from 2017. The DNR has added a January antlerless season in four counties and new deer management zones near Harpers Ferry, Elkader and Seymour. Unfilled youth deer licenses are now valid for any remaining seasons, but are still mentor licenses and they must follow all other rules specified for each season.

Iowa’s overall deer harvest across all seasons last year was 105,578 and the 2018 harvest should be similar.

Media Contact: Tyler Harms, Wildlife Research Biometrician, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, 515-777-5378

Report your harvest

The deer is down, tagged and on its way to the truck. But the harvest is not complete until the deer is registered; either online, over the phone or at a license vendor.

Online, it takes just a couple minutes. Go to http://www.iowadnr.gov/hunting and click on the orange ‘Report Your Harvest Online’ bar in the middle of the page. From there, scroll down and follow instructions. Be ready to enter your tag’s nine-digit harvest report number. By phone? Call 800-771-4692.

The deer should be reported by the hunter whose name is on the tag…and it must come before midnight, the day after the deer is tagged.

Reporting your harvest is important because harvest numbers are used to manage Iowa’s deer herd annually and it is required by law.

Safety reminder

Hunters are encouraged to use safe Hunting practices and to discuss the Hunting plan so each member of the Hunting group knows where the others will be at all times during the hunt.


• Treat every gun as if it is loaded

• Wear plenty of blaze orange

• Be sure of the target and what’s behind it

• Don’t shoot at running deer

Turn in poachers

See something in the field that doesn’t look right? Report Hunting violations to Turn in Poachers as soon as possible by calling 1-800-532-2020. Provide as much information as possible like a description of the individual(s), vehicle and time and location of the violation.

You can remain anonymous.


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