Our ancestors hunted for survival and lived off the land. Many people today enjoy hunting for food. Hunting is an excellent source for controlling grocery bills during today’s tough economy. Walking in the woods tracking animals and sitting still for hours in a tree offers solitude that is not often found in the hustle of today’s busy lifestyles.
The beautiful landscape and diversity of game in Iowa makes for a hunter’s paradise. The state of Iowa has set aside public areas for hunting purposes. An atlas of these areas is posted on the state's website. Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, Mason City, Waterloo, Des Moines and other locations throughout the state contain designated public hunting areas. State parks that allow hunting include Volga River in Fayette County, Pleasant Creek in Linn County, Badger Creek in Madison County, Wilson Island in Pottawattamie County and Brushy Creek in Webster County.
The Department of Natural Resources issues fishing and hunting licenses online. Nonresident hunting licenses are on sale through December 15th, 2015. The sale of nonresident hunting licenses may be halted before this date should the quota for nonresident antlerless deer be reached. Deer tags and licenses will be mailed through the United States Post Office within 5-10 business days. Fishing or small game license may be printed online after the registration process is complete and payment is made. The documents must be carried on the person while hunting or fishing. Please refer to the list for deer hunting season for nonresidents on the website.
A small game hunting and habitat fee is required for nonresident pheasant hunting. October 31st at 8:00 a.m. was the kick-off time for the nonresident pheasant hunting season. The fee for adults over the age of 18-years old is $125.00 per hunter. All hunters must wear blaze orange for protection. Bag limits and shooting hours are strictly enforced.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has reestablished habitats for wild turkeys all across Iowa. The turkey population has grown from three early release sites in 1966. For shooting guidelines, the turkey beard must be pulled straight out and measured down the center to the longest portion of the beard tip. Spurs must be measured in inches from the bottom curve to the tip of the spur. Complete instructions for scoring turkeys for registration into record book are available on the DNR website. Gun hunters may begin shooting 30 minutes before sunrise. Hunting must come to a halt by sunset. Bow hunters are given an extra 30 minutes in the morning and after sunset.
Many hunters prefer to utilize an ATV for hunting. A specialty registration/user permit is required for off-highway vehicles operated on public lands, public ice and authorized snowmobile routes, such as ATV’s, snowmobiles and other recreational vehicles. Resident and nonresident four wheelers, snowmobiles and other ATV’s may be registered online. Transfers and new purchases may be registered at the County Recorder of Residents Office.
(Photo is courtesy of American Whitetail Deer (Buck) as uploaded by Jason Mrachina at Flickr’s Creative Commons.)