The final deer hunting season begins Jan. 11, in the 38 counties in southern and western Iowa where antlerless deer licenses are available.
Success during the January antlerless season depends on
finding where deer are feeding and upon the weather. Cold weather will
spur the deer to feed more heavily, so browse lines and food plots will
be attractive. Although hunters may see fewer deer as numbers have
declined, the season offers some excellent hunting opportunities.
Party hunting is legal and firearm hunters must wear blaze
orange. Shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, and bows are legal options
in all open counties. Centerfire rifles (.24 caliber or larger) are
legal in the 21 counties in the southern two tiers of the state.
Last year, 81 percent of the 8,300 deer reported during
the January antlerless season were does. To avoid harvesting a
shed-antlered buck, hunters should pass up shots at lone deer and wait
for deer traveling in groups of does and fawns.
In late December and January, bucks may be found traveling
together in bachelor groups of 2-4 animals, but these groups will
usually consist of only adult deer. If a small group of adult deer
contains even one antlered buck, then the group is typically all bucks.
But, if the group contains fawns, it is likely composed of does and
fawns. Patience and binoculars are especially useful for identifying the
type of deer.
Hunters are encouraged to work with landowners to
determine if deer are at desirable levels, and base decisions on how
they use the remaining antlerless tags on local herd conditions to avoid
over-harvesting deer where they hunt.
Hunters may observe the added effect of this year’s EHD
outbreak as areas south of I-80 and in counties bordering the Missouri
River had higher incidents of the disease. Counties open during the
January antlerless season are within that region.
Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to
one-half hour after sunset. Beginning Jan. 11, a 2013 hunting license
and habitat fee will be required. The January antlerless season closes
Deer must be reported using the harvest reporting system
by midnight the day after the deer is tagged. Hunters’ accurately
reporting their harvest is an important component of Iowa’s deer
management program and future hunting opportunities.
Hunters may report their harvest at www.iowadnr.gov, by
calling 1-800-771-4692 or at any license vendor. For hunters with
internet access, reporting the harvest online is the easiest way to
register the deer. Hunters preferring to donate their deer may do so
through the Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program, which provides needed
meat to Iowans through the Food Bank of Iowa. Iowa has one of the
largest programs in the nation.
Written By: Iowa DNR