The first shotgun deer season in Iowa opens this coming Saturday (December 7th), while the bow hunting season that’s underway will continue through January 10th. DNR wildlife research supervisor, Willie Suchy says your odds of taking a deer get better in the shotgun season. “In 2012 the shotgun hunters had 35-40-percent success and archery was right around 25, in that neighborhood — so about 10-percent less,” Suchy says.

While the chances are better you’ll get a deer with a shotgun, Suchy says bow hunting has some of its own advantages. “Archery has allure from two aspects of it,” Suchy explains, “One is it’s a longer season so you’ve got more time to spend. You get to kind of specialize on working on deer.” And the second factor is some hunters believe the lower success rate of bow hunting tests their skill more. “I think it’s a challenge for some people,” Suchy says.

Hunters have to prepare differently for each method. “Hunting is a very safe activity overall and the dangers are a little bit different between hunting with a bow and hunting with a shotgun or firearm,” according to Suchy. “Bow hunters tend to sit in stands and trees and most of the injuries tend to occur in mishaps in stands where they fall.”

The shotgun season sees more problems with hunters not using proper safety practices. “With firearms it’s more of making sure that you’re shooting at a clear target so you know where the bullet is going to go — so if you’re hunting in a group  there’s nobody in danger,” Suchy says.  The first shotgun deer season runs through December 11th. The second shotgun season runs December 14th through the 22nd.

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