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Extended Shotgun Season Adds to Doe Harvest
DES MOINES - Despite poor weather during the shotgun season extension, hunters got out and shot more than 5,000 deer, of which more than 90 percent were antlerless. Of those antlerless deer, around 3,600 were does.
The extended season was intended to increase the doe harvest by allowing unfilled tags from either shotgun season to be filled with antlerless deer from Dec. 21 to 23. Prior to the extended season, the doe harvest was 7,500 below estimates. The extension halved the doe harvest deficit.
"It was not as successful as we had hoped, but was a big step forward to catching us up on our doe harvest," said Willie Suchy, wildlife research supervisor for the DNR.
There are still plenty of antlerless only tags for the remaining seasons. The late muzzleloader season runs through Jan. 13 and there are nearly 20,000 licenses remaining in 25 different counties. These are the counties where the DNR want's to have the deer herd thinned.
There are more than 13,000 licenses remaining for the January antlerless only season across Iowa's southern two tiers of counties. The DNR has allowed center fire rifles as a selection for this entire season. All the information is on the DNR website. Go to www.iowadnr.gov then click on Hunting and Wildlife, then on Availability of Limited Quota Licenses toward the bottom of the navigation bar on the left.
Bucks have been dropping their antlers since the end of November. To maximize the doe harvest during these antlerless only seasons, hunters should look for deer that are part of a group, or a deer that has a sleeker frame. A doe often has fawns with it, and a buck almost never. A buck will have a square top of the head where the antlers were.
"If you have any doubt if it is a buck or doe, one way to improve your chance of taking a doe is to not shoot a deer standing by itself," Suchy said.
Nonresidents have about 300 holiday licenses remaining for antlerless deer in 25 counties. Those nonresident holiday antlerless only licenses cost $55 in addition to a small game license and a habitat fee, and are valid through Jan. 2, 2008.
Suchy said enough antlerless deer hunting opportunities exist and the DNR is not looking at any further extensions this year.
For more information, contact Tom Litchfield at 641-774-2958.
Big Creek Area Target Shooters Encouraged to Use Olofson Range
POLK CITY - The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will require all target shooting at the Big Creek wildlife unit to take place at the Charles "Butch" Olofson Shooting Range. Previously, target shooting was allowed in the parking area of the wildlife unit. The change is effective immediately.
"The Big Creek wildlife unit is unique because it supports various types of recreation and is near a large and growing population area," said Ben Berka, shooting sports coordinator for the Iowa DNR. He said "No Target Shooting" signs will be posed at all parking and access areas for safety reasons.
"We want to make sure everyone can enjoy this area safely. Target shooting in parking or access areas around the wildlife unit could pose a risk to other users and to nearby residents, since safety features, like adequate backstops and safe shot-fall zones, do not exist," Berka said.
However, target shooters at the Big Creek Area need not go far to sight in or practice their marksmanship skills.
In addition to all necessary safety features, the Olofson Shooting Range at Big Creek offers many other amenities. There are two 50 yard ranges and one 100 yard range for rifle and handgun shooters. Shotgun shooters will enjoy the trap and skeet field and archers will soon be able to practice at the new archery range (renovations complete by June).
Shooters must check in at the range office pay a small fee to use the facility, however the range is supervised at all times to ensure the safety of all shooters. In addition, the range frequently offers many shooting, firearm and hunter education courses. Current range hours are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, Noon to dark and Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to dark. The range is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
For more information on the Olofson Shooting Range call 515-795-2067 or visit www.olofsonrange.com.
For more information on the changes for target shooters at big creek, contact Ben Berka at 515-281-0140 or Ben.Berka@dnr.iowa.gov.
State Preserves Board to Meet Jan. 18 in Des Moines
DES MOINES - The State Preserves Advisory Board will meet at 10 a.m., Jan. 18, in the fifth floor conference room, Wallace State Office Bldg., in Des Moines. The meeting is open to the public.
Members of the State Preserves Advisory Board are Deborah Lewis, Carl Kurtz, Gail Brown, Scott Moats, Armando Rosales, Cynthia Peterson and Liz Christiansen, deputy director of the DNR
A more detailed agenda is available on the Iowa DNR's website www.iowadnr.gov under State Parks / Preserves, then click on Preserves Advisory Board link.
The following is the meeting agenda.
Approve Minutes of October Meeting
Requests for Proposals Fiscal Year 2009
Final Environmental Impact Study for Highway 100 Extension
Proposed Bicycle Trail at Starr's Cave Preserve
Proposed Bicycle Trail at Lamson Woods Preserve
Vincent Bluff Management Plan
Glenwood Resource Center
Silver Lake Fen
For more information, contact Daryl Howell at 515-281-8524.
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