First shotgun deer season kicks off - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

First shotgun deer season kicks off

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JOHNSON COUNTY (KWWL) -

Thousands of hunters took to the woods and fields Saturday to kick off Iowa's shotgun deer season.

While Iowa DNR officials say they've seen a drop in deer harvest numbers, it's not stopping hunters.

Steve Pudil has been hunting deer for more than 45 years with his two sons.

"We started at 7:20," said Pudil. "We've seen a bunch of does at that hunt. We've seen more people hunting today down here than I've seen for years."

The Iowa DNR tells us it expects to see up to 75,000 shotgun deer hunters, step into the woods.

Jim Rammelsberg did just that and says the weather was perfect.

"Today was a blessing from mother nature," said Rammelsberg. "Season ended early, I was lucky. I had a deer push to me and I harvest that animal."

Rammelsberg admits with a little snow on the ground it helps hunters track deer, but he'll take Saturday's weather any day.

"I haven't seen as many deer as we have in the past years," said Iowa DNR spokesperson Joe Wilkinson.

Wilkinson says that's because the DNR was told about 10-12 years ago to get the number of deer down, so now they're seeing the results.

Even before deer season, the DNR had about 5-6 hunting injuries.

However, Wilkinson says numbers of hunting deaths have gone way down in the past 40 years.

"Whenever you're talking hunting we want to keep everyone as safe as possible," said Wilkinson. "Blaze orange and being aware of your target and what lies beyond it are two of the most important things to keep people safe."

The DNR expects about another 50,000 hunters for the second season, Dec. 13-21.

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