Hunters have reported harvesting nearly 61,000 deer so far this fall which is about 10 percent fewer than last year.

Fewer deer were taken during the opening weekend of the first shotgun season due partly to less than ideal hunting conditions, but concerned hunters are commenting that they are seeing fewer deer across much of the state.

Iowa’s first shotgun season closes on Dec. 7. The DNR expects that 50,000 hunters will take the field for the second shotgun season which runs from December 10 – 18. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

In areas where deer numbers are down, hunters should work with the landowner to see if the deer population is at a desirable level. Hunters should refrain from taking extra does if deer numbers are reduced. In some areas deer numbers are still strong and can take the extra pressure. Hunters are the key to a properly managed Iowa’s deer herd.

Safety First

Blaze orange is required for hunters participating in the shotgun hunts and party hunting is legal. Hunters who hunt in a party should plan their hunt and hunt their plan. They should never shoot if they are unsure of what is beyond the animal they are harvesting. Hunters using blinds during the shotgun seasons are reminded that they are required to display at least 144 square inches of blaze orange that is visible from all directions (see p. 23 of the 2011 Hunting Regulations for more information).

Report Your Harvest

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. It is also required by law and officers will be checking to see if all deer have been reported.

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.

Tagging Antlered Deer

Hunters are reminded that antlered deer must have the transportation tag attached to the antler’s main beam, either at the base or between two points.

Youth Season Tags

Youth season hunters with an unfilled “any-deer” license from the youth deer season who did not harvest a deer are eligible to hunt during one of the two shotgun seasons. However, the youth hunter must follow the weapons restrictions that are in place during the season and be under the direct supervision of a licensed adult. A youth must harvest and tag their own deer.

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