Who here has deer hunted in the Hawkeye State lately?

TomTeriffic

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I've been just checking Iowa's game regs. It seems that rifles chambered in most "traditional modern centerfire necked-down deer calibers" are prohibited for deer in most seasons. This state has a thing about the number 35 when it comes to the bore of a rifle for putting vension in the freezer AS WELL AS the naming of major highways.

Legal firearms for the youth/disabled and shotgun 1 and 2 seasons include:

  • Pistols and revolvers (with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches)
  • Straight-wall and "necked-down" cartridge rifles shooting an expanding type bullet of at least .350 inches and no greater than .500 inches with at least 500 foot pounds of muzzle energy.
This includes, but is not limited to, the following common calibers: .35 Whelen, .350 Legend, .358 Winchester, .375 Winchester, .40 S&W, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 Long Colt, .45 Raptor, .450 Bushmaster, .450 Marlin, .45-70 Govt, .460 S&W and .500 S&W.

If you’re not sure if your cartridge is allowed, please check with your local DNR conservation officer.


Deer Hunting in Iowa

January antlerless season is only open in counties with antlerless tags remaining on Jan. 10. Only centerfire rifles .223 caliber to .500 caliber with a published or calculated muzzle energy of 500 foot pounds or higher as allowed in this season.

Hunting Season Dates | Iowa DNR

This means if I want to sport my newly-acquired Sako L579 Forester in .243 Winchester for a super-late-season Hawkeye State doe, I will have limited opportunity to do this based on January tag availability. And I will have to do it out in the freezing snow.

I suppose Iowa is worried about the long range and high velocity of those smaller traditional cartridges like .243, .250, .270, .300 Savage, .308 and .30-06.

During shotgun seasons, and some other deer seasons in Hawkeye, straight-wall and necked-down CF rifle cartridges from caliber .35 to .500 may be used to bag a deer.

PS - Incidentally, there are two Interstate highways in and around Des Moines, the state capital, with the numerals "35". Hawkeye State numerology, I guess.
As a Boomer American who read Jack O'Connor and Outdoor Life magazine, these calibers enter my mind whenever somebody says DEER RIFLE.

-.243 Winchester
-.250-3000 Savage
-.25-06 Remington
-.257 Roberts
-.270 Winchester (O'Connor's personal favorite)
-.300 Savage
-.308 Winchester
-.30-06 Springfield


If you live east of the Rockies in the Lower 48, it can get quite tricky to find LAWFUL opportunities to use any of the above to terminate a deer. None other than the above are the most aesthetic way to deliver venison to the freezer.

I used to live in the big free wild, wild west before it got too costly and to anti-gun and anti-fun. Those mid-20's to low-30 something centerfire calibers once ruled deer seasons there.
 
My Remington 870 20 gauge has been aesthetically delivering deer in the Hawkeye state since I was 8 years old. Most shots are under 100 yards in the Iowa deer woods and with the number of rural people in eastern Iowa growing there is no need for the longer range shots.

Most Iowa trophy deer articles will attribute Iowa deer to two things: 1. Lack of a firearm season during the rut and 2. Limited use of rifles. Now there are a lot of other reasons for the deer herd in Iowa, but these two factors are always mentioned.
 
What are you talking about 2 interstate 35’s around Des Moines? I-35 runs from Duluth Minnesota to Laredo Texas. Yes it runs through Des Moines, but there is not 2 of them. There is a I-235 which runs from the I35 and I80 junction south through downtown and loops back into I35 on the south side of town. But internet spurs like this are common in every major city in the United States.

Side note: If you are ever near the I35N and I80 interchange I’d recommend going to Smokey D’s BBQ. I’m sure Tom will be along shortly with a pontificating rant on how BBQ in Iowa is unjust and needs to be condemned for it unamericanism, but IMO it’s pretty good, easy to get to on and off the interstate and it’s fast service.
 
You haven’t been following Iowa deer hunting if you’re surprised high powered rifles aren’t allowed.
Mississippi has been on the straight wall, single shot plan for primitive season for a while. Louisiana adopted it a few years later.
I shoot an H&R Target Classic in .38-55 WIN for primitive season. Very accurate and mild recoil.
 
IMO, CF rifles are not needed to hunt deer in Iowa. I much prefer archery hunting for whitetails . Hell, I barely have time to hunt whitetails anymore as I am too busy waxing my 1970's Roof mower.
 
1. I learned something, I know Iowa is a whitetail destination but had no idea people would travel there just to shoot does
2. If you intend to hunt a specific place for a specific species why wouldn’t you plan/purchase your weapon with that in mind? Buying what you want and bitching because you can’t use it where/how you want seems like backwards thinking?
 
Really wish it was still shotgun only. Wait a few years and normal rifle cartridges and crossbows will be legal in iowa. The Lobbyists are hard at work every day trying to make it happen.

Gun season in Iowa used to be a few friends and family getting together to do a few deer drives with their 870s. Now it has turned into groups of 30-40 guys with ARs and 30 round magazines. Lots of dangerous situations and wounded deer.
 
Iowa is great. Get you a nice lever action rifle with a 1x4 and you’re all set. Just be sure to dodge the stray bullets from the drives that occur there.
 
Does Iowa run a points system for all their NR deer tags? I've heard people apply for years to hunt, but maybe that's just certain units?
 
What are you talking about 2 interstate 35’s around Des Moines? I-35 runs from Duluth Minnesota to Laredo Texas. Yes it runs through Des Moines, but there is not 2 of them. There is a I-235 which runs from the I35 and I80 junction south through downtown and loops back into I35 on the south side of town. But internet spurs like this are common in every major city in the United States.

Side note: If you are ever near the I35N and I80 interchange I’d recommend going to Smokey D’s BBQ. I’m sure Tom will be along shortly with a pontificating rant on how BBQ in Iowa is unjust and needs to be condemned for it unamericanism, but IMO it’s pretty good, easy to get to on and off the interstate and it’s fast service.
Looking at a map of De Moines I noticed two Interstate highways near there both ending in "35". I do know there is an I-35 that runs through Oklahoma City and I have been on it but that is neither here nor there. I don't give a damn where these roads end or begin. Please look at a map to see what I mean. I guess it is just a mere coincidence that the IA state capital city has two highways connected with it containing the numerals "35". Whether these highway namesakes inspired IA game regulators to impose a 35-caliber miniumum bullet diameter for rifles during most deer seasons, I don't know. It was just an observation.

I'm considering Des Moines as a possible future home town. I will have to cope with IA game laws if I want to hunt in that state. As the law stands now, I can only take my .243 to the field during the special January antlerless season which is conditional. There will either be surplus tags for this opportunity available to purchase for this special hunt or their won't be.

I don't understand why a .35 Whelen rifle is permitted but a .243 rifle is not during most IA gun deer seasons.
 
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