Iowa’s final deer season opens tomorrow

DES MOINES — The last opportunity for hunters to take a deer this season will focus on unclaimed deer tags in individual counties.

Iowa DNR state deer biologist Jace Elliott says this final season helps with population control. “Starting January 11th through January 21st, we have January antlerless seasons being held in select counties based on the availability of those county antlerless tags on the 11th,” he says.

The DNR held its first excess tag season last year. “Those tags can be purchased for use during that January antlerless season. It has to be purchased in person at a vendor just because if you purchased it online, the tag may not come to you in time to utilize for the season,” Elliot says. “They must be purchased in person at a vendor, a list of which can be found on our DNR website.”

Elliott says the rules change a little bit on the type of gun you can use to encourage hunters to participate.

“The Excess Tag January Season allows the use of centerfire rifles between 22 and 50 caliber, that can be used to harvest deer that normally many of those calibers couldn’t normally be used during our firearm season,” he says. “So there’s a little bit of incentive there for hunters to go out and take advantage of these extra seasons.”

Elliott says hunters have had success in recent weeks.

“In terms of our overall harvest this season, we’re trending along pretty closely with our five year average. We’re within five percent of the harvest at this time last year, which was a very good year for our deer harvest in Iowa,” Elliott says. “I would expect finishing up at about the same spot, which is between 105- and 110-thousand deer.”

He says the antlerless season is a little quieter and longer, and offers a great opportunity to get a deer for your freezer late into the winter.