The first of two shotgun deer seasons opens Saturday in Iowa, with the deer populations above the Department of Natural Resources goals in the northeastern, southern and west central portions of the state. D.N.R. deer biologist, Tom Litchfield, says the first five-day season is usually the busiest.
He says he expects 70 to 80,000 hunters in the field with between 50 and 60,000 hunters in the field for the second season. The second season runs from December 12 through the 20th. The corn harvest has been lagging way behind and Litchfield says that might make it tougher to get to some of the deer.
Litchfield says areas that have a lot of standing corn make it difficult, as it is hard to push deer out of standing corn. He says southern Iowa has had a lot of standing corn and that could have a negative impact. Hunters took around 80-thousand deer last year, and Litchfield says that number could be higher this time.
He estimates the harvest will be between 70 and 80,000 deer, as he says the harvest has already been running ahead for the early hunts, but the shotgun season makes up 55-65% of the annual harvest. The first seasons are held for youth, muzzle loader bow hunters, and some county antlerless hunts.
Throughout the early seasons as of this morning, Litchfield says they are running 11-hundred to 12-hundred deer above last year. Hunters are now required to report when they take a deer, and Litchfield says that is very important in helping him track deer numbers. Litchfield says the weather should be good for the start of the hunt and says many hunters like having some snow on the ground for the hunt.