Excellent Hunting Expected for Deer and Fall Turkey

Send by email Printer-friendly version Share this

The early muzzleloader deer season is less than two weeks away and hunters have been snapping up licenses at a quick pace. As of Sept. 30, about 400 licenses remain for the early muzzleloader season.

"The early muzzleloader deer season is a unique opportunity for hunters who like to hunt in a solitary situation before the snow flies," said Richard Bishop, chief of the DNR's wildlife bureau. "The weather is beautiful. The leaves are changing colors and it is a great time to be out in the woods."

Bishop said he expects the deer harvest to at least equal last year's record number of 135,000. He said Iowa has an excellent population of high quality deer.

"Those big bucks are still in their patterns. They haven't changed their bedding and feeding patterns yet and they won't until they are in the rut," Bishop said.

The early muzzleloader season runs from Oct. 12 to Oct. 20. The early fall dates mean the weather can be warm. Bishop said if there has not been a killing frost in the area that hunters may want to bring along some bug spray. He said warm weather is not a problem when caring for a deer that has been harvested.

"Hunters need to clean the animal as soon as possible. They need to hang the carcass in the shade to dry. Even in warm weather, if the animal is properly cooled and aired, the meat will not spoil. If there are a lot of flies or other insects, protect the meat by wrapping it in cheese cloth or use an insect bag," he said. "The biggest problem is not properly caring for the deer. Don't let it sit in the bed of a pick up, or on the floor of a garage or on the ground. That will trap in heat and cause the meat to spoil."

He also recommended that hunters should contact a locker plant, or if they plan to process the deer themselves, to get everything organized before they head out.

"Hunters should not be concerned about eating deer meat. Chronic wasting disease is an animal health issue, not a human health issue," he said. "CWD has never been proven to affect humans."

However, if hunters are concerned about CWD, there are simple precautions they may take when handling deer to avoid health hazards.

Hunters should avoid eating the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes of deer. Wear rubber gloves when field dressing the animal and wash hands and instruments thoroughly when done.

Along with the early muzzleloader deer season, is the opening of fall turkey hunting. The bow season for turkeys began Oct. 1, and the combination gun-bow season begins Oct. 14.

"We are expecting an excellent fall turkey season this year due to an excellent hatch of young birds," Bishop said. The fall season is aimed at hens and young birds and substitutes hunting mortality for natural mortality.

Hunting turkeys in the fall is not as difficult as the rumors make it seem, he said.

"Hunters need to locate the birds, bust up the flock and sit down and call the birds back to you," Bishop said. "It is an excellent sport, the population is very healthy, and it provides excellent sporting opportunities for Iowans."

Fall turkey hunting is allowed in all areas of Iowa except north of U.S. Hwy. 20 and west of U.S. Hwy. 69. Licenses are available in every zone except zone five and eight.