Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Discuss deer hunting tactics, Deer behavior. Post your Hunting Stories, Pictures, and Questions/Answers.
  • Advertisement

HB Store


User avatar
James
500 Club
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:17 am
Location: Western WI
Contact:
Status: Offline

Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby James » Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:55 pm

Jackson Marsh wrote:James,

What was your overall impression of that part of Iowa? Worth the cost of the tag? Would you do it again or is buck quality similar to your areas in Wisco and Minnesota.


I thought I would put this in a separate thread. A lot of people look at hunting Iowa. Here are my thoughts for anyone researching the matter.

I had originally been dead set on hunting Zone 5 as it looks to have much thicker public and larger tracts. Ultimately I chose 9 due to the closer proximity.

To quickly answer your question directly JM. I shot a bigger deer last year off public marsh land in Minnesota that I consider to be a much much much worse area. So my quick answer is that I am honestly a little torn. A marsh that I am intimately familiar with, versus an out of state hunt where I have limited time and experience in scouting and hunting should be noted here. I for sure second guess if I punched my tag too quick for sure.

I put in 3 full days of out of season scouting and 2 days of in season scouting in October. Pretty minimal really. I got a number of really nice bucks on trail cameras on different Public parcels. The best being an awesome 150 class 8 point (I’ll get a photo posted) but the rest were 120-130s tens and eights. Certainly nothing even close to Boone or 160s. So in regard to my experience there I actually had bigger deer on camera back here at home in Wisconsin to chase. Not trying to say my cameras perfectly inventoried these parcels, but a good sampling. On one parcel I bet I had 20 different bucks on camera regularly but the best was a max 130” ten point.

Zone 9 Public is lagerly overly mature timber. I found it really difficult to find thick areas. Maybe folks have luck in wide open timber but it’s not what I prefer to hunt. Additionally everything seems to have DNR maintained 2 track trails that run everywhere. Getting far back into places is relatively easy. My good spots required lots of hill climbing and we’re almost always tucked up against private. Good accurate maps and my GPS were key in scouting. So I really thought Zone 9 was a little challenging that way. Compared to WI and MN marshes where thick cover comes easy.

I found hunter pressure to be really low. In one large tract I hunted there was one local and one out of stater on a probably 1500 acre parcel. I did see a hunter once from stand but that was it. On the other parcel I hunted where I killed my buck I only saw one truck and never saw or ran into him. Keep in mind this was prime rut too, but I did purposely avoid weekend days. I went down on a Monday.

Cost is up there for sure. I had $150 in 3 years of buying points. License is something like another $500-600. So you have probably $700-800 in just licensing. Then there is the gas, lodging and food for an out of state hunt.

If I didn’t live in a great whitetail state I would probably be a lot more blown away by Zone 9. One of the hunters plates where I shot my buck was from Florida. I really wanted to meet him to get his impressions. Would have liked to have known if he passed up bucks like I shot, had opportunities or was impressed and would have taken it as well. For those reasons I would HIGHLY recommend going with a couple of friends that share your same hunting goals. I would have enjoyed getting some feedback on quality of deer and hunts from others on the parcels I sat.

With all that said, based on my experience if a solo guy has a goal of a solid 130 class animal on public, it’s pretty doable in Zone 9 with minimal work. If you’re going into it thinking opportunities abound at 150+ class animals on public, I think your work is cut out for you and you’ll risk tag soup on a very expensive tag. Of course these animals and larger are done on public in Zone 9 every year. I would love to know what NR bowhunter success in 9 looks like.

Like most anywhere, I think everything changes with access to private. I was fortunate to get an introduction to a connection whom I will be able to hunt some private through next time. The caliber and consistency of deer they shoot off their private was pretty remarkable. Definitely better than the western Wisconsin private I am used to.

I know that Dewey and JM have put a lot more work and time into Zone 9 Public and should chime in as well.

I will be back for sure and now that I’ve proven a little success on a completely solo out of state public hunt I’ll probably raise my standards and be a little more fussy when I draw again in 3 years.


My YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/jamessqr
My hunting journal and blog - http://www.james-squires.com
User avatar
James
500 Club
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:17 am
Location: Western WI
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby James » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:03 pm

Big 8 I got on camera. He only showed up the once but daylight.

Image

Image
My YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/jamessqr
My hunting journal and blog - http://www.james-squires.com
User avatar
Edcyclopedia
Posts: 9657
Joined: Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:54 pm
Location: S. NH
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby Edcyclopedia » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:02 am

Thanks James, encouraging for the hunter wondering if they should travel to hunt...
Expect the Unexpected when you least Expect it...
User avatar
Jackson Marsh
Moderator
Posts: 11317
Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2010 3:11 am
Location: SE WI
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby Jackson Marsh » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am

James wrote:
Jackson Marsh wrote:James,

What was your overall impression of that part of Iowa? Worth the cost of the tag? Would you do it again or is buck quality similar to your areas in Wisco and Minnesota.


I thought I would put this in a separate thread. A lot of people look at hunting Iowa. Here are my thoughts for anyone researching the matter.

I had originally been dead set on hunting Zone 5 as it looks to have much thicker public and larger tracts. Ultimately I chose 9 due to the closer proximity.

To quickly answer your question directly JM. I shot a bigger deer last year off public marsh land in Minnesota that I consider to be a much much much worse area. So my quick answer is that I am honestly a little torn. A marsh that I am intimately familiar with, versus an out of state hunt where I have limited time and experience in scouting and hunting should be noted here. I for sure second guess if I punched my tag too quick for sure.

I put in 3 full days of out of season scouting and 2 days of in season scouting in October. Pretty minimal really. I got a number of really nice bucks on trail cameras on different Public parcels. The best being an awesome 150 class 8 point (I’ll get a photo posted) but the rest were 120-130s tens and eights. Certainly nothing even close to Boone or 160s. So in regard to my experience there I actually had bigger deer on camera back here at home in Wisconsin to chase. Not trying to say my cameras perfectly inventoried these parcels, but a good sampling. On one parcel I bet I had 20 different bucks on camera regularly but the best was a max 130” ten point.

Zone 9 Public is lagerly overly mature timber. I found it really difficult to find thick areas. Maybe folks have luck in wide open timber but it’s not what I prefer to hunt. Additionally everything seems to have DNR maintained 2 track trails that run everywhere. Getting far back into places is relatively easy. My good spots required lots of hill climbing and we’re almost always tucked up against private. Good accurate maps and my GPS were key in scouting. So I really thought Zone 9 was a little challenging that way. Compared to WI and MN marshes where thick cover comes easy.

I found hunter pressure to be really low. In one large tract I hunted there was one local and one out of stater on a probably 1500 acre parcel. I did see a hunter once from stand but that was it. On the other parcel I hunted where I killed my buck I only saw one truck and never saw or ran into him. Keep in mind this was prime rut too, but I did purposely avoid weekend days. I went down on a Monday.

Cost is up there for sure. I had $150 in 3 years of buying points. License is something like another $500-600. So you have probably $700-800 in just licensing. Then there is the gas, lodging and food for an out of state hunt.

If I didn’t live in a great whitetail state I would probably be a lot more blown away by Zone 9. One of the hunters plates where I shot my buck was from Florida. I really wanted to meet him to get his impressions. Would have liked to have known if he passed up bucks like I shot, had opportunities or was impressed and would have taken it as well. For those reasons I would HIGHLY recommend going with a couple of friends that share your same hunting goals. I would have enjoyed getting some feedback on quality of deer and hunts from others on the parcels I sat.

With all that said, based on my experience if a solo guy has a goal of a solid 130 class animal on public, it’s pretty doable in Zone 9 with minimal work. If you’re going into it thinking opportunities abound at 150+ class animals on public, I think your work is cut out for you and you’ll risk tag soup on a very expensive tag. Of course these animals and larger are done on public in Zone 9 every year. I would love to know what NR bowhunter success in 9 looks like.

Like most anywhere, I think everything changes with access to private. I was fortunate to get an introduction to a connection whom I will be able to hunt some private through next time. The caliber and consistency of deer they shoot off their private was pretty remarkable. Definitely better than the western Wisconsin private I am used to.

I know that Dewey and JM have put a lot more work and time into Zone 9 Public and should chime in as well.

I will be back for sure and now that I’ve proven a little success on a completely solo out of state public hunt I’ll probably raise my standards and be a little more fussy when I draw again in 3 years.




Hunter pressure can be all over the place. The buck I killed in 2013, pressure was tolerable on that piece. My brother hunted that area the next year and there were guys all over the place, including 1.5-2 miles deep. A guy has to be flexible. When I helped Zonk54 drag his buck out, there were at least 5 vehicles in the parking lot and he ran into 2 hunters going in. Another parcel where I had no pressure in October was over run with hunters a week or two latter. It's hit or miss and a guy has to be able to adjust. My BIL says the quality on zone 5 on public is better than zone 9, he's lived in both areas so he should know. The right private property access could be a gold mine. I have access to some private, but the public is better than the piece I can hunt.
matt1336
500 Club
Posts: 1804
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:02 am
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby matt1336 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 2:04 am

I’ll be applying for either 4 or 5 starting this year. I’m just doing the intial planning stages now. I don’t want to steal this thread so I guess I’ll leave it there. But I will probably be starting a thread to pick your brains about how I should go about doing this from scouting to asking permission on private
Zonk54
Posts: 194
Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2013 3:14 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby Zonk54 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:08 am

Zone 9 is certainly an interesting area how pressure cycles each year. There are big deer but I think you really have to run a lot of trail cams to get them pinpointed otherwise you are chasing bucks that don't exist. There are also a good number of mature bucks that will never break mid 130's. I've never seen another resident/non resident carry in a stand which amazes me. One of these years I will get away from hill country and hunt southern Iowa but the hills are in my blood and I enjoy them too much. I'm curious how much pressure has increased in zone 4/5 since public hunting has become more popular on online hunting shows.
User avatar
WV Bowhunter
500 Club
Posts: 681
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 5:39 pm
Location: West Virginia
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby WV Bowhunter » Thu Nov 16, 2017 3:55 am

I scouted some different pieces of 9 this past winter. I’ve never seen as much deer sign as I saw in those three days of spring scouting. I’ll be heading back his spring to scout again as I should draw in 18’ with 3 points. Can’t wait to get back there. Wish it wasn’t a 14 hr drive as that really limits my trips out there.
Luck is when preparation meets opportunity!!
User avatar
bowfreak8
Posts: 217
Joined: Tue Jul 18, 2017 2:58 am
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby bowfreak8 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:16 am

I've really been thinking about doing an Iowa hunt in the future but I just don't know if it's worth leaving Ohio to hunt Iowa. We have a lot of good bucks here in Ohio. Any thoughts from someone who has hunted both?
User avatar
Jonny
500 Club
Posts: 2704
Joined: Wed Oct 19, 2016 3:11 am
Location: Milwaukee
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby Jonny » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:36 am

matt1336 wrote:I’ll be applying for either 4 or 5 starting this year. I’m just doing the intial planning stages now. I don’t want to steal this thread so I guess I’ll leave it there. But I will probably be starting a thread to pick your brains about how I should go about doing this from scouting to asking permission on private


Any reason for 4 or 5? I am going to start getting points in the next year or two if I can't convince the lady to move there once I graduate.
"Get busy living or get busy dying"
matt1336
500 Club
Posts: 1804
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:02 am
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby matt1336 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 5:54 am

Jonny wrote:
matt1336 wrote:I’ll be applying for either 4 or 5 starting this year. I’m just doing the intial planning stages now. I don’t want to steal this thread so I guess I’ll leave it there. But I will probably be starting a thread to pick your brains about how I should go about doing this from scouting to asking permission on private


Any reason for 4 or 5? I am going to start getting points in the next year or two if I can't convince the lady to move there once I graduate.



I have a friend who owns a outfitting business...guided whitetail hunts down there. He’s gonna give me cheap lodging and point me to some public ground...maybe get me into a bit of private as well. I’m gonna do this DYI. No managed ground for me. But holy cow you should see the deer they shoot down there on their managed farms. I saw two pics of deer from this seasons bow hunts. One was 183” and the other was 189”. They have a 160” minimum. It’s a different world down there
Primetime41
Posts: 302
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:15 pm
Location: SE WI
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby Primetime41 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:07 am

James wrote:
Jackson Marsh wrote:James,

What was your overall impression of that part of Iowa? Worth the cost of the tag? Would you do it again or is buck quality similar to your areas in Wisco and Minnesota.


I had originally been dead set on hunting Zone 5 as it looks to have much thicker public and larger tracts. Ultimately I chose 9 due to the closer proximity.


Thanks for posting this.

I'll be drawing an Iowa tag next season. I've been going back and forth between Zones 5 and 9. Like you, I'm leaning toward 9 because of it's proximity to WI. But, if I'm dumping all this $ into a tag, I'd like to atleast have a chance at a really big one, so that makes me think maybe Zone 5 would be a better choice. :think: I think I may need to make a trip out to both zones later this year and do some high level scouting. Then whatever zone I decide I can do some more in-depth scouting next spring.
rutjunkie
Posts: 317
Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:04 pm
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby rutjunkie » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:41 am

I can't speak for 9, but can for 5. Pressure is non existent. I never seen a hunter from the stand, most sit on field edges. There was plates from all states in the lots, yet the peices are so large you never run into people. I had 3 cams out for a month and never had a deer over 145. I passed a 135 8pt and passed a 142 4/8" that I ultimately came back to and was fortunate enough to harvest. I too thought I would have a crack at a monster in 5. It's public guys, this isn't your cushy private. I believe the deer are larger on avg on private down there. So if u have deer in the 125 to 140 range that u can hunt in your home state I would say it would be a waste of money.
There is only so many Novembers in ones life, make the most of them.
User avatar
James
500 Club
Posts: 1280
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:17 am
Location: Western WI
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby James » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:54 pm

rutjunkie wrote:I can't speak for 9, but can for 5. Pressure is non existent. I never seen a hunter from the stand, most sit on field edges. There was plates from all states in the lots, yet the peices are so large you never run into people. I had 3 cams out for a month and never had a deer over 145. I passed a 135 8pt and passed a 142 4/8" that I ultimately came back to and was fortunate enough to harvest. I too thought I would have a crack at a monster in 5. It's public guys, this isn't your cushy private. I believe the deer are larger on avg on private down there. So if u have deer in the 125 to 140 range that u can hunt in your home state I would say it would be a waste of money.


This is sort of how I feel about it. The guys I met that have good managed private have walls full of monsters but public is a different deal. Like I said in one post I ran many cameras on one parcel that had amazing sign and the best buck might have cracked 130”. I was hoping for many 150’s+ on cameras but they just were not there on public. I ran into a genuine nice guy local in October who was trout fishing. We ended up having a 30 minute conversation. He hunted the public I was on. I asked him what I should be holding out for. He said there are a lot of “nice” 3yos but getting a really big buck would be tough. Based on my first time there I would say he was pretty accurate.

This all said, I think as a person builds up spots and confidence in a zone in Iowa you might be able to get a little more fussy on public.
My YouTube Channel - http://www.youtube.com/jamessqr
My hunting journal and blog - http://www.james-squires.com
matt1336
500 Club
Posts: 1804
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2010 3:02 am
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby matt1336 » Thu Nov 16, 2017 6:42 pm

What James and the guys are saying is what my buddy tells me too. His managed farms cannot he compared to the public grounds. I’m going down there for the experience of hunting Iowa. It’s going to be really cheap for me too. I’ll hopefully be able to split expenses for my scouting and hunting trips as he will be going down there anyway. If I had to do it all on my own, I don’t know if it’d be worth it.
CallMeFishmael
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Dec 24, 2013 3:46 am
Location: Michigan
Status: Offline

Re: Hunting Iowa Public as a NR (Zone 9)

Postby CallMeFishmael » Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:23 am

This conversation then begs the question of how the public matches up to someplace like Missouri or Kentucky. Has anyone hunted both/all that could compare and contrast? I was thinking about Iowa too, but it seems like other States can provide that level of opportunity with a much lower tag cost.

Return to “Deer Hunting”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 2 guests