New law allows hunting rifles in Iowa - What you need to know - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New law allows hunting rifles in Iowa - What you need to know

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Earlier this year, state legislators approved the use of some rifles for deer hunting.  Previously, Iowa hunters have been limited to using shotguns.

With new guns in the field, the DNR is asking people to take a moment to read the fine print. Hunters will be allowed to use rifles, but not every rifle qualifies.

"It just not any old rifle. It is specific calibers. Unfortunately, I have people who don't listen or watch what is going on. They just grab what is in the gun case or borrow it from Uncle Fred and go hunting. It is unfortunate, but that's why I am here," said Iowa Conservation Officer, Mike Bonser.

The qualification of a rifle comes down to the ammunition it uses.

"This is the difference.  We are allowing the straight-walled ammunition, but not the ammunition that has the shoulders and the smaller calibers," explained Bonser.

The straight-walled cartridges are exactly what they sound like.  The bullet is contained in a cartridge that is one width throughout the length of the casing.

"[Straight-walled cartridges] have a heavier bullet to them, compared to [cartridge with a shoulder]," explained Bonser.

This is the main reason for the restriction. The lighter bullets travel too far for the flat and populated terrain of Iowa.

But why use a rifle at all?

"You wouldn't feel the kick as much in some of these rounds as you would with the shotgun slug. Some people want a little more ammunition. Most shotguns only carry five rounds maximum. Some rifles could carry up to eight," said Bonser.

 Since the new law was signed, rifle sales have been on the rise.

"Speaking with folks from Cabela's, from Scheels, there has been a huge number of individuals going out and buying a rifle specifically for the deer season," said Bonser.

The rifles are allowed during the youth and disabled hunter season currently underway, and the two shotgun season in December.

For more information on the rules & regulations, head to Iowa DNR's website.

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