Iowa hunters took only a week to buy out the 7,500 deer tags available for the early muzzleloader season. Statewide, most deer tags went on sale at midnight, Saturday August 15. The last of the early muzzleloader tags was purchased this past Saturday, August 22.
The tags have been popular over the years; allowing gun hunters their first chance to get into the woods. This year's early muzzleloader season is October 17-25, with only Iowa residents allowed. "That quota of 7500 tags keeps it an uncrowded hunt, especially for hunters interested in harvesting a buck before the peak of the rut," noted Tom Litchfield, deer research biologist for the Department of Natural Resources. For the first month, hunters may purchase one 'any deer' gun season tag-and a similar bow tag--as well as one county and season specific antlerless tag.
Beginning September 15, residents may purchase as many county antlerless tags as they wish, until quotas fill. A quick check of the availability at noon Monday (August 24), the antlerless quotas in Butler, Floyd, Franklin, Mitchell, Plymouth, Webster and Worth counties did fill. Each county had only 50 to 150 available, in the first place. There are 22 counties, mostly in north and northwest Iowa with no county antlerless tags offered this year; with biologists determining that deer numbers were in line with target populations.