Iowa’s early muzzleloader deer season begins October 13 for the 7,500 muzzleloader hunters taking part in the nine-day season.
Hunters can expect deer behavior to begin changing as the breeding season, or rut, gets closer. Bucks will begin to make scrapes and rubs and they can become more secretive.
“Hunting sites near any remaining green forage or acorns, or trails connecting them to bedding areas are good bets during this season,” said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Muzzleloader hunters are required to wear blaze orange but should remember they will be sharing the woods with well camouflaged bowhunters and others who enjoy the fall countryside.
Hunters may notice an impact on the local deer population in certain areas from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease. Nearly 2,000 EHD cases from 58 counties have been reported.
The early muzzleloader season runs through October 21 and hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. While the paid license quota filled; landowner-tenant licenses, depredation licenses and some special hunt licenses mostly associated with urban areas are available.
These special hunts, listed in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations, often have extra requirements and the local host organization should be contacted for more information.
Hunters should properly identify the target and what is beyond the target before taking a shot.
All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. For hunters with Internet access, the online harvest reporting is the easiest way to register the deer.
Last year, hunters reported harvesting 4,450 deer in the 2011 early muzzleloader season. Accurately reporting the harvest is an important part of Iowa’s deer management program and plays a vital role in managing deer populations and future hunting opportunities.
Hunters can report their deer online at www.iowadnr.gov, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.