Iowa Public - Which Zone?

Discussion in 'Bowhunting Talk' started by Justin, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. Justin

    Justin Administrator

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    I've been sitting on Iowa points for a few years now and I'm finally going to cash them. I have enough points to draw any zone in the state so I'm curious to get some feedback on anyone who has hunted public as a non-resident. It doesn't have to be in this thread as I know people are cagey about posting info to the public so if you want, PM me.

    All along I was planning on hunting the NE part of the state in Zone 9. It looks like there's a lot of hilly terrain up there, which I'm familiar with from hunting NW IL for many years. There's also a fair amount of large tracts of public access in that zone - at least compared to what we have in IL. To get to the spots I'm wanting to hunt it's looking like a 4-5 hour drive from home, or 2-3 hours from my lease in NW IL.

    The question I have is whether or not I'm being foolish by targeting a zone that isn't in the Southern part of the state? Deer numbers seem to be good in NE Iowa as Clayton and Alamakee Counties are typically some of the top producing spots. However, everyone I've ever spoken with says Zone 5 and Zone 6 as "the" spots to hunt in Iowa.

    By comparison Zone 9 had 308 non-resident archery tags allocated to it last year. Zone 5 had 560. So it would stand to reason that Zone 5 would see some additional pressure. Although Zone 5 is larger in size the math works out to 1 NR bow tag per 9.8 miles in Zone 5 and 1 per 11.5 miles in Zone 9.

    Just curious to get everyone's thoughts on this. Unfortunately, I don't have time to scout both spots so I need to pick one or the other and then go for it one weekend pretty soon.
     
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  2. davidingle

    davidingle Weekend Warrior

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    If you decide to go up by NE Iowa, I just took a job up in Dubuque/Dyersville area and will be moving there in a month so I can do some scouting for ya. I work in agronomy sales so i'm hoping to build some strong relationships with some farmers and hopefully getting permission on some pieces by this fall. If you look at the south tho, there is a great, very large, public piece around a particular lake (if you look at the public land atlas it should be clear which one). Also if you pay attention to some landmarks on the hunting public, you might be able to located where they hunt.

    As far as being foolish for not targeting the south... I would say no. I think just as many giants come from NE as the south. And look at what Wisconsin produces right across the river up through Buffalo/Trempealeau co.
     
  3. Justin

    Justin Administrator

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    I hunt right across the river from Dubuque and often stay overnight there during the season. That's part of the reason I'm thinking NE Iowa is the better bet for me. I can be to some of the bigger public spots up in Zone 9 in under 2 hours from my current IL lease. So it makes bouncing back and forth a little easier.
     
  4. SouthDakotaHunter

    SouthDakotaHunter Die Hard Bowhunter

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  5. Riverduck11

    Riverduck11 Weekend Warrior

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    I just went to Zone 9 this past season. I was lucky enough to have a friend here in Ohio that grew up in Iowa. His family owns land there and we hunted on that land. I can tell you that there are no shortage of deer in zone 9. On the evenings I scouted instead of hunting, it was nothing at a all to see 80 deer in a 5 square mile area. I hunt really good property here in Ohio, and Iowa was a whole different level. I only made one 7 day trip, but I saw 3 in the 160" range and a few more in 140+ range. I did not connect on a buck but was able to put some meat in the freezer!

    Until we got there and saw the terrain, I never even thought of spot and stalk, but my self and my friend each shot our last does using this method. The was my first successful spot and stalk which was very cool.
     
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  6. virginiashadow

    virginiashadow Legendary Woodsman

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    Good luck. Looking forward to what you get into.

    Sent from my SM-G950U using Tapatalk
     
  7. buckeye

    buckeye Grizzled Veteran

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    Headed out for a long weekend to Iowa next weekend to scout. What parts of the state (counties) have hilly terrain? Trying to stay on the Eastern portion of the state.

    I need to start narrowing it down pretty quick, any experience on terrain or public lands is appreciated.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2019
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  8. Wesley Lofton

    Wesley Lofton Die Hard Bowhunter

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    Location:
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    SE IOWA, Lee county to be exact. Zone 6. Thousands of acres of public land all within 45 mins drive from place to place with a few decent sized towns with lodging/restaurants.

    Some areas are hills and valleys, as well as being right along the river, so constant changes in wind direction. I have hunted public land a number of year around here (10+) and have only ever ran into 2 other bow hunters. Gun season is a different story. The biggest area is shimek state forest, Farmington unit, also several other smaller less known places. Any help I can provide feel free to dm me.


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