The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has a series of town hall meetings scheduled to discuss possible changes to hunting rules and regulations and other topics.

DNR spokesman, Mick Klemesrud, says the first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Sioux City. “We have 18 meetings set up across the state. And these are public meetings where our local staff will come in and provide a recap of the hunting and trapping seasons,” Klemesrud says. “They’ll give population updates, and they’ll talk about hunter participation, trapper participation and just what to expect and what we’re looking at as potential rule changes.”

He says one rule change involves the waterfowl hunting zones. “We are going to increase the size of the Missouri River Zone to actually go all the way to the Mississippi across southern Iowa to create kind of a new central zone, shift the southern border of the north zone up a little bit. And then modify the season dates accordingly,” according to Klemesrud. “So the southern zone will have later season dates, the central zone will have the old southern zone season dates, and the north zone will probably stay fairly close to what it has been.”

There’s could be some other rule changes as well. “We are also looking at expanding and increasing the number of otters that trappers can harvest. And there are some other deer quotas, and things like that,” he says. Klemesrud says they expect to have a good turnout. “Hunters like to talk about hunting and they like to come to these. They’ve got a like-minded audience — they’re hearing things that they enjoy — and hunter participation is definitely a part of these meetings,” Klemesrud says.

Comments collected from these public meetings will be considered along with other related comments received by the Iowa DNR prior to proposing changes to hunting rules and regulations. Proposed rules will be presented to the Natural Resource Commission during a regular public meeting for consideration and additional public comment.

These are the meeting dates, time and locations:
Sioux City, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., Dorothy Pecaut Nature Center, 4500 Sioux River Road
Chariton, Feb. 20, 7 p.m., Pin Oak Lodge, 45996 Hwy. 14
Council Bluffs Feb. 25, 7 p.m., Fish and Game Club, 531 Commanche Street
Okoboji, Feb. 25, 6:30 p.m., Dickinson County Nature Center, 22785 Nature Center Road
Burlington, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Starr’s Cave Nature Center, 11627 Starr’s Cave Road
Iowa City, Feb. 26, 7 p.m., Johnson County ISU extension building, 3109 Old Highway 218 South
Algona, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Water’s Edge Nature Center, 1010 250th Street
Bloomfield, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Pioneer Ridge Nature Center, 1339 Hwy. 63
Creston, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Multi-Purpose Room YMCA, Southwestern Community College, 1201 West Townline Street
Decorah, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Decorah City Hall, 400 Clairborne Drive
Dubuque, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Swiss Valley Nature Center, 13606 Swiss Valley Road, Peosta
Jefferson, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., The Jefferson Depot, 509 East Lincoln Way
Ventura, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Clear Lake Wildlife Unit headquarters, 15326 Balsam Ave.
Waverly, Feb. 27, 7 p.m., Waverly Public Library, 1500 W Bremer Ave.
Des Moines, March 3, 7 p.m., Izaak Walton League, 4343 George Flagg Parkway
DeWitt, March 5, 7 p.m., DeWitt Community Center, 512 10th Street
Sac City, March 5, 7 p.m., Sac County Conservation Center at Hagge Park, 2970 280th Street
Toledo, March 5, 7 p.m., Tama CCB Nature Center at Otter Creek Lake Park, 2283 Park Road