The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) says hunters for this year’s shotgun season should expect to see about the same number of deer as last year, with one exception. Hunters in south central Iowa, where deer populations were impacted by an outbreak of hemorrhagic disease, will see a decline. “Our deer herd is trending slightly higher statewide, but remains well within our population goals and based on survey data, I’m expecting another good year for our deer hunters,” says Tyler Harms with the DNR Wildlife Bureau. Touted as the busiest outdoor opening day, the season starts Saturday, Dec. 7. More than 110,000 hunters are expected to push through the state through Dec. 11. Second season is Dec. 14 through Dec. 22. Hunters must select one season, but landowners are allowed to hunt both. Hunters are also reminded to report their harvest by midnight on the day after the deer is tagged or before taking it to a locker, taxidermist or processing it for consumption. This can be done online at www.iowadnr.gov., through the Go Outdoors IA app, by calling the toll-free number on the tag or at any of the 700 licensed sales agents across the state. There are also two different ways to give back to others. The Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program is a partnership between the DNR and the Food Bank of Iowa and hunters can take legally harvested deer to a participating locker for processing and distribution. There is no charge to the hunter. Hides may also be donated for the benefit of disabled veterans. These are used to make professionally-crafted leather gloves for veterans in wheelchairs and also turned into leather for therapy programs. Donations can be initiated by contacting the local Elks Lodge.
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