When the Iowa Legislature passed HF716 in 2020 amid covid and a dreadfully late session, there was concern rule-making sessions couldn’t be realized prior to the 2020/21 fall and winter hunting seasons.  A few things happened in short order that placed the adoption of the legislative intent front and center among those using Iowa’s precious natural resources…

First, DNR sent out a notice regarding the adoption of rules a few days before the big deer season opener.  While the wording of the notice left plenty to be desired, the timing was well explained.  Thus, people took umbrage.  Read a little bit about that HERE in an earlier IFC Blog Post.

Next, DNR scrambled a bit over the outrage from the public.  They took another swing and missed.  Read a bit about that HERE – what a mess.

There was also a third bite at the apple, but we decided to simply call up our contacts at DNR and discuss the problem.  They had further narrowed the public sphere in which they were seeking comments with an egregious social media post.  IFC was really pleased when that phone call was met with a quick agreement that DNR’s post didn’t offer value.  DNR removed it quickly.  Having a relationship that allows both IFC and DNR to communicate in earnest, even when it isn’t pleasant, is a very important thing and we’re glad to have it.

Shortly after all the public input, rules were adapted/adopted from DNR’s perspective and submitted to the NRC (Natural Resources Commission) for acceptance.  The NRC adopted them along with many other suggested rules.  The rules were then communicated to ARRC (Administrative Rules Review Committee).  From this point the ARRC votes to accept them, DNR puts them out for print, and they’ll be available for the fall hunting seasons and literature.

Here’s what was recently sent from the NRC to ARRC regarding chapter 106 in an NOIA (Notice of Intended Action):

The Commission is requested to approve the Notice of Intended Action – Chapter 106, “Deer Hunting by Residents.”

Basic Intent of Rule – Chapter 106 contains the regulations for the resident deer hunting seasons and includes licensing requirements, season dates, shooting hours, bag limits, possession limits, tagging requirements and methods of take.

Proposed Rule Change – This Notice of Intended Action is proposed to align Chapter 106 with Iowa Code section 481A.48, as amended by House File 716 (signed by Governor Reynolds on June 18, 2020). This legislation made certain firearms legal for deer hunting. Specifically, the following amendments are proposed:

1) Adopt in full the statute’s technical parameters for the handguns and rifles that are now legal for deer hunting during the regular gun seasons and the youth/severely disabled season; and
2) Adopt the statute’s requirement that youth who are hunting deer with a handgun must do so under the direct supervision of a licensed responsible adult.

The part you read above about adopting the full statute’s technical parameters looks like this:

“A barrel length of at least four inches and firing straight wall or other centerfire ammunition propelling an expanding type bullet with a maximum diameter of no less than three hundred fifty thousandths of one inch and no larger than five hundred thousandths of one inch and with a published or calculated muzzle energy of five hundred foot pounds or higher is legal for hunting deer”.

Kudos and congrats my fellow hunters and sportsmen!  You were able to stop the overreach of authority and abuse of power we’ve come so often to expect from the iron grasp of government.  Take a bow, relax for a moment, enjoy your victory, and head out to bask in the sunshine of Iowa’s outdoors.

-Michael Ware – IFC Chairman

15 NRC 012021 Chapter 106 Deer Hunting by Residents NOIA 011421tmkr <—full pdf attachment.