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IFallsRon

Iowa adds special deer season

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DES MOINES – An emergency rule allowing an additional antlerless-only deer hunting season from Dec. 21-23 was passed Thursday by the Natural Resources Commission of the Department of Natural Resources.

The extra season will allow resident hunters who had valid tags during the first and second shotgun seasons, plus the youth season, to participate in this special hunt.

The rule also extends the late muzzleloader season by three days, to Jan. 11-13.

Deer harvest numbers are down 34,000 compared to last year at this time. And bad weather, particularly during the first shotgun deer season in early December, probably contributed to lower hunting participation and lower harvest success.

Harvest success also has lagged during the second shotgun season now underway.

“We are extremely grateful for the Natural Resource Commission’s support of this special season,” DNR director Rich Leopold said. “This is an excellent opportunity for us to continue our work toward reaching deer harvest goals, and we hope many of Iowa’s citizens will be able to take advantage of this additional opportunity.”

Hunters harvesting deer during any of Iowa’s seasons must report their harvest.

The mandatory reporting system gave biologists timely information needed to be able to propose the extended season and hunting opportunity, DNR Wildlife Bureau Chief Dale Garner said.

“Not only did this valuable information from the reporting system allow us make adjustments to increase harvest, but we were also able to get information out to our hunters so they could provide input,” he said. “That input allowed us to consider the concerns of muzzleloader hunters and make adjustments to that season as well.”

Hunters with unfilled deer tags from any of these three seasons who wish to participate in the special season should keep their existing tags. Those who have thrown away used tags may get duplicate tags next week at no charge via the Internet.

Details of the duplicate tag availability and answers to frequently asked questions will be released by the DNR as soon as possible.

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