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Regulation Changes Coming to Iowa Deer Season

Regulation Changes Coming to Iowa Deer Season

Posted 2024-07-08  by  Darron McDougal

If you’re traveling to the Hawkeye State to hunt whitetails this fall, be on the lookout for these important changes to the rules

Hunting laws are constantly changing, and there’s a lot to brush up on every year, especially if you’re traveling to another state. Iowa has recently inked some new rules into its regulation book, so if you’ll be deer hunting in the Hawkeye State this fall, get yourself a copy of Iowa’s hunting regulations and look for these changes.

Image: iowa_buck_corn

If your deer hunting plans include Iowa this fall, make sure you check out the new rules and regulations before you go.

No More Nonresident Party Hunting

In case you’re unfamiliar with party hunting, it’s essentially verbal consent between two or more hunters that it’s OK to fill one another’s deer tags. States that allow it usually have a maximum distance parameter in place so that party hunters can maintain good communication with one another at all times while hunting. It’s long been a tradition in Iowa, but it’s a sticky topic, since it’s often done by way of deer drives. In that instance, it’s easy to lose good communication with others in your hunting party, especially in high winds or when deer begin darting everywhere. This creates the possibility for more deer to be harvested than the party has tags available.

Now, it’s illegal for nonresident hunters to party hunt in Iowa, although residents can still legally party hunt during the first and second gun seasons, as well as during the January antlerless season. Nonresidents can still hunt in groups, but they must fill their own individual deer tags.

Antlerless Quotas and Buck-Only Restrictions

Other changes coming to Iowa’s deer season include antlerless harvest restrictions. Antlerless quotas have changed in 12 different Iowa counties. First, Fremont, Harrison, Mills, Monona, Pottawattamie and Shelby counties are now buck-only counties for the first gun season. As well, Allamakee, Appanoose, Decatur, Lucas, Monroe, Wayne, and Winneshiek counties will participate in the Population Management January Antlerless Season, but only if more than 100 unsold antlerless licenses are remaining on December 16.

Trail Camera Usage

Kansas somewhat recently banned trail camera use on public lands, and it was a hot topic across the deer-hunting community. Iowa was all set to follow Kansas’s lead by also banning trail camera usage on its public lands until the proposal recently hit a red light. Since it is a highly debated topic, the Iowa DNR hit the brakes to gain more input from the public. The good news for trail camera users is that the laws will remain unchanged for the 2024-2025 deer season. However, don’t be surprised if the proposal gets a green light in the future.

Read the Regulations

As technology advances and deer herds and hunter numbers fluctuate, I believe we’ll see more rule changes coming down the pipeline, and not just in Iowa. Michigan, for example, currently has irons in the fire. It has formed a new Deer Management Initiative — a document of potential solutions to a too-many-deer-too-few-hunters dilemma — which could swing the legislative bat and put new rules into play prior to the fall hunting season.

To that end, commit to reading the regulations for the state/province that you’ll be hunting more thoroughly this year than ever before. It only takes a simple oversight to be fined, and I don’t think any of us want to land in that boat.


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