Chairton, Iowa – One of Iowa’s most popular hunting seasons begins October 1 when the archery deer hunting season opens.

“We had over 57,000 bowhunters last year and I expect we will have a similar number this year,” said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “Our herd is in good shape statewide, but hunters can expect to see fewer deer in most areas of the state.”

Because of this, Litchfield said that while the antlerless quotas for all counties are unchanged from last year, hunters may need to refrain from shooting as many does as in past years especially in eastern Iowa. Hunters need to continue to work with landowners where deer numbers are still strong.

Iowa’s bow season attracts hunters who spend much of their time in tree stands often alone for hours at a time, so checking safety equipment is an important part of their hunting plan.

“Hunters should check all their gear to make sure it’s in proper working order, especially tree stands and safety harnesses,” Litchfield said. “Hunters should always wear a safety harness and use caution when climbing. Falls associated with tree stand use are the most common hunting accidents during the bow season.”

Iowa’s bow season is Oct. 1 through Dec. 2, and then opens again Dec. 19 through Jan. 10, 2012. Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. 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.

For hunters with Internet access, the online harvest reporting is the easiest way to register the deer. Hunters can report their deer online at, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.

Additional Hunting Options

In addition to the bow season, many of Iowa’s urban areas and some state parks offer special hunts that bowhunters can participate in. These hunts often have extra requirements so contact the organization listed in the hunting regulation brochure before going afield.

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