The Wait Is Almost Over: Shotgun Deer Season Approaching

Northwest Iowa — Iowa’s most popular deer hunting seasons are just around the corner, when roughly 100,000 blaze orange-clad hunters take to the timber and wildlife experts are forecasting another good year.

Tyler Harms, with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, says the state’s deer population is stable to slightly increasing statewide, so hunters should expect to see numbers similar to last year.

The DNR says two shotgun seasons see the highest numbers of hunters participating, which also leads to significant deer harvest, all condensed into less than three weeks in December.

Harms says that about half of the annual deer harvest statewide each year occurs during these two seasons. Shotgun one is Dec. 3-7, and shotgun two is Dec. 10-18.

While seasonal weather is finally arriving, the mild, dry fall has benefited hunters in the earlier deer seasons.

According to Harms, hunters have reported harvesting more than 23,000 deer so far, which is about eight percent higher than last year. He says hunters are on track to harvest more than 100,000 deer statewide again this year.

Last year, hunters reported harvesting nearly 103,000 deer, down from 109,600 in 2020. The Iowa DNR has a goal to manage the herd to provide an annual harvest of 100,000-120,000 deer. A key piece to the population management plan is harvesting antlerless deer.

Harms says, “We encourage folks in counties where antlerless licenses are available to use them to help us to effectively manage the deer herd.” The Iowa DNR has a listing of counties with antlerless licenses in real-time. To check the number of licenses in each county, visit, then click on the “available tags, quota information” tab on the hunting page and select “Resident Antlerless Deer by County” in the drop-down box.

Click here for more information about deer hunting from the Iowa DNR.



Local News