Iowa’s popular archery deer season begins Oct. 1, with nearly 60,000 hunters expected to head to the timber.
Bow hunters should have prime conditions for seeing deer as more than 35 percent of the corn crop is already out of the field, reducing cover and concentrating deer in the remaining cover.
Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, said good early season strategies are hunting food sources and along trails connecting bedding areas to food or water sources.
“Our white oak acorn crop is spotty, but the trees with mast began dropping their acorns in early September and were still dropping well this past weekend,” Litchfield said. “We expect the red oaks to have below average mast crops, and the trees with acorns will likely drop earlier than usual.”
Iowa’s deer herd is slightly above its population objective in central, south central and southwest Iowa, but is trending towards herd goals.
“We have locations where additional doe harvest is needed but for the most part, hunters should work with landowners to determine if the herd is at the desired levels in their area,” Litchfield said.
There is a listing of special deer hunts often associated with state parks or urban areas that bow hunters can participate. These hunts, listed in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations, often have extra requirements and the local host organization should be contacted for more information.
The impact on the deer population in certain local areas from Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease may be noticed by hunters. Nearly 1,200 EHD cases from 44 counties had been reported.
The antlerless quotas were reduced by more than 13,000 in 20 counties, primarily in eastern Iowa. The archery season closes on Nov. 30 for the shotgun deer hunting seasons, and then opens again on Dec. 17 until Jan. 10, 2013.
All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. Accurately reporting the kill 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 on the DNR website www.iowadnr.gov, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor. For hunters with Internet access, the online reporting of your harvest is the easiest way to register your deer.
Hunters reported harvesting 23,650 deer during the 2011 archery season, a 4 percent increase from the previous year.