IA DNR: 19% Increase In Deer Harvested During 1st Shotgun Season

An IFC member poses with two bucks successfully harvested on opening day of Iowa's 2014 1st shotgun season.

An IFC member poses with two bucks successfully harvested on opening day of Iowa’s 2014 1st shotgun season.


Hunters reported harvesting 19 percent more deer in Iowa during the first three days of first season shotgun deer compared to 2013 when cold weather likely minimized the amount of time hunters spent in the timber.  If the harvest trend continues, the first season shotgun harvest would be around 37,000 deer, which is similar to 2012.

The 2014 first season shotgun deer closes on Dec. 10.

A popular season with hunters is a busy weekend for wildlife officials.

State Conservation Officer Brett Reece patrolled Benton and Tama counties during opening weekend.

“I probably came across 40 deer hunters in northern Benton County Saturday and counted 11 deer that were harvested. Sunday, I came across 20 deer hunters in Tama County and about that many deer were harvested,” he said.

“People had been telling me that deer numbers were pretty much stable compared to last year, but down from 10 years ago,” Reece said.

In nearby Johnson County, State Conservation Officer Erika Billerbeck said she saw 70 hunters through the weekend.

So far, hunters reported harvesting 18 percent more bucks and 7 percent more does than 2013, while purchasing 3,000 few licenses. The license sales decline was primarily due to fewer antlerless licenses begin available, which was by design.

Iowa second season shotgun deer opens December 13 and the unseasonably mild temperatures in the weekend forecast could lead to more hunters having success.

“When the weather is nice, we often see more people out hunting and hunter success rates increase because they spend more time in the field to fill their tags,” said Willie Suchy, wildlife research supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Information on hunter harvest is one tool used by the DNR to help manage Iowa’s deer herd when it considers seasons and regulation changes. A regulation change for 2014 restricted the deer harvest in 27 counties in northwest Iowa to buck-only during first season shotgun. During the second season shotgun, hunters may harvest any deer in those 27 counties.

Second season shotgun license sales are trending similar to first season – hunters are waiting to the last minute.  The DNR expects to sell about 35,000 licenses before Saturday.  Second season shotgun closes Dec. 21. Hunters are required to report their harvest.

Iowa Firearms Coalition is an entirely volunteer, grassroots, 2nd Amendment advocacy group. Responsible for bringing uniformity to Iowa’s Concealed Weapons Permitting process, IFC’s members work to protect and enhance 2nd Amendment rights in Iowa. An affiliate of the National Rifle Association, the IFC actively seeks to foster and promote the shooting sports. Sign up for our email list for the latest on 2nd Amendment issues in Iowa. You can support our work by becoming a member, or making a donation.

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