HF716, the IA DNR, 2020/21 Hunting Regs, and You…

From an IFC Member:

Hi and thanks for all you do.

The DNR doesn’t seem to be acknowledging HF716 in the new 2020 regulations.  Does it go into effect this year?


This is a great question and one we need to understand.  After all, what could be greater than Grandpas taking their Granddaughters out for their first hunt?

In a typical legislative year, the session which starts in January would be wrapped up in late April or early May.  That’s pretty normal.  2020 has been far from normal.  Some pieces of legislation didn’t get passed and signed until late June and early July – HF716 was among them.

When legislation that impacts the DNR is passed, rules are put in place for how the legislation will be carried out and acted upon, essentially.  This rulemaking process involves public comments periods, sometimes several of them, then a proposal to the NRC (Natural Resources Committee), and so on.  This is not a swift process.

Simply put, by the time our late session was concluded all the prerequisites couldn’t be accomplished before the 2020/21 season regs were distributed, much less be communicated through other means.

Now…  Personally speaking, that sounds like a bureaucratic bunch of hooey to me.  And frankly, it is.  But, this is the system in which we operate today, and I’m unable to wave a magic wand and alter it.  Not at the moment anyway.  So the contents of HF716 will not be present for this hunting season, 2020/21…

HF716 was passed by citizen legislators and signed by Governor Reynolds.  HF716 has been codified, but isn’t being implemented yet.  Do you see the confusion?

There is an upside, and it stems from the relationships formed with the personnel within the DNR.  IFC carefully crafted our concerns to officials within the Iowa DNR.  They listened.  The example I made to DNR was one I experienced in my own shop.  A gentleman came in tickled pink by the law change saying, “I’ve had this old 375 over/under rifle over my mantle since my Granddaddy gave it to me.  I’ve never been able to use it in Iowa and I’ll be able to take my Granddaughter out this year for the first time since I was a kid to hunt Iowa deer.”  That’s a great story and one I liked, but the rules haven’t been shored up and put in place, so this fine man’s desire is certainly ethical and moral but isn’t technically legal yet.  When I offered this to the DNR and essentially said, “This is likely to be a problem,” and asked what could be done, I was given a decent and thoughtful answer by Dr. Dale Garner of the Iowa DNR…

“The DNR’s law enforcement are being instructed to approach this with a soft touch considering the pickle we find ourselves in.  In the scenarios you describe Michael, folks won’t be cited.  However, this doesn’t mean we’re giving a soft touch to clear instances of violation.”  

It was communicated to me that if there was an innocent misunderstanding between the current hunting regulations and the codified content of HF716, otherwise legal hunting practices would be given a pass.  Nobody wanted the hunters in the field caught in the middle.  IFC couldn’t accept people being cited when they’re under the impression new law is the law, and DNR recognized this as well.  The Iowa DNR collaborated with IFC to offer a “cooperation” considering the nature of our conflict.  The hunting regs for this year are pretty much the same as last year.  Find the dates, seasons, and regulations here:


What does this mean for you and me?  When the public comments are opened you need to be engaged, as HF716 hasn’t gone through the “rulemaking” process yet.  We’ll let you know when and where they take place.  Get out and hunt!  Use the information in the link above for your guide to the regulations and if you learn of a situation where all other things being equal a person was cited for adhering to the content in HF716, IFC wants to know about it immediately.


-Michael Ware – IFC Chairman

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  1. john adams says:

    Typical, A committee banded together to design a racehorse ends up being a Camel!

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