Iowa’s early muzzleloader deer hunting season begins October 15, sending 7,500 blaze orange wearing hunters into Iowa’s timber.

“Although the deer herd is still in good shape statewide, hunters can expect to see fewer deer in most areas of the state,” said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The early muzzleloader deer season runs through October 23 and hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. Muzzleloader hunters are required to wear blaze orange but should remember that well camouflaged bowhunters and others who enjoy the fall countryside will be sharing the woods with them. Hunters should properly identify the target and what is beyond the target before taking a shot.

Hunters can expect deer behavior to begin changing as the deer breeding season, or rut gets closer. Bucks will be beginning to make scrapes and rubs.

“Stand sites that take advantage any remaining green forage or acorns, or trails connecting them to bedding areas are good bets during this season,” Litchfield said.

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 4,100 deer in the 2010 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, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.

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