So you hate winter and loathe six more weeks of it? Maybe you want to take out your aggressions by blowing away a few groundhogs after today’s shadow-sighting by Punxsutawney Phil? You cannot do so in Iowa, not legally at least.

D-N-R spokesman Al Foster says Iowa -does- have a groundhog hunting season, but it runs June 15th through October 31st. Foster says you need a hunting license and a habitat stamp to hunt groundhogs and any other game. Groundhogs can also be trapped legally during that timeframe, though a trapper’s license is required to do so.

Talk about not shooting the messenger — perhaps thanks to their alleged ability to predict the weather or maybe it’s their fuzzy, cuddly appearance, Foster says groundhog hunting isn’t very popular in Iowa. In some north-central states it’s a huge sport, Foster says, with hunters “going out with high-powered rifles and sighting in at long distances,” but in Iowa, with a lack of terrain and a fairly small population of groundhogs, it’s never caught on.

Foster says Iowa does have a few other hunting seasons on animals besides the more traditional deer, ducks and pheasants. There are crow and pigeon seasons in Iowa and many coyote hunters are out right now but Foster says “groundhogs would probably be the oddest animal I think we can hunt in Iowa.” Did he say otters? No, Foster says there’s been discussion of an otter trapping season but the otter is still a protected animal in the Hawkeye State.