Whitetail Deer

A mature 9-point whitetail buck in the winter months. 

(KMAland) -- Iowa's most popular deer hunting season opens Saturday morning.

According to the Iowa DNR, the state's first shotgun season runs until December 5th, followed by the second shotgun season from December 8-16. Mick Klemesrud with the DNR says the bulk of Iowa's deer harvest comes during the shotgun seasons.

"It's the first of our three main gun seasons," Klemesrud said on KMA's "Dean & Friends" program this week. "This is kind of the focus for a lot of people Deer hunting is a big deal. This is the time of year they want to get together with the same group of friends and do the same kind of thing."

Regardless of what weather conditions are like, Klemesrud says a high amount of hunters will be out and about during the first shotgun season.

"It's a very popular thing," Klemesrud said. "We'll have about 60,000 people out this weekend, and about 60,000 out during the second season. We'll have the bulk of our harvest in the next three weeks or so."

The DNR says the traditional shotgun hunting technique is to conduct deer drives where members of a group post up at the end of the timber, while others walk through to push the deer towards them. The DNR advises hunters to keep safety at the top of their hunting plans to avoid accidents. Hunters are required to wear one article of external solid blaze orange clothing including a vest, jacket, coat, sweatshirt, sweater or coveralls. An orange hat alone doesn't suffice.

Klemesrud says Iowa's overall deer harvest last year was 105,578. The DNR is expecting a similar harvest this year.

"We're trending up a little bit in some places, and in others we're holding steady," he said. "We have a good partnership with our hunters, and we use that partnership to help direct the harvest where we need it."

Following the two shotgun seasons, late muzzleloader season is December 17th through January 10th, which is shared with the reopening of the bow season.