Iowa’s waterfowl seasons begin in a few weeks and before hunters head to the marsh, the DNR is encouraging them to brush up on their safe hunting practices, including safe hunting from a boat.
Iowa’s drought has reduced the number of wetlands available to waterfowl hunters. The remaining areas with water will have more hunters than during normal years increasing the importance of target identification and zone of fire for those in the blinds.
“Positively identifying your target and what is beyond the target will be important factors hunters will need to answer before they take the shot,” said Megan Wisecup, recreational safety program supervisor with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. “We will have hunters concentrated around the remaining wetlands and that may reduce the safe zone of fire and increase the attention to keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.
“Waterfowl hunters will need to identify where other hunters are so they know the area that they can safely fire the shot.”
A fair amount duck hunting takes place from a boat and while most waterfowl hunters don’t consider themselves boaters, the same Iowa boating laws apply to them.
Iowa law requires a U.S. Coast Guard approved lifejacket for every person on board and vessels 16 feet and longer must have an approved throwable flotation device.
“Hunters who go out on a boat to hunt are more likely to be thinking about hunting safety than boating safety,” Wisecup said. “Boating safety should be part of their hunting plan as they prepare for our main duck season.”
She said hunters should check the vessels capacity plate stating the total weight, including passengers, equipment and motor, the boat is designed to hold. Distribute the gear evenly to keep a low center of gravity and stay seated to shoot to brace for the gun’s recoil.
“Get familiar with the limitations of hunting from a boat before leaving the driveway,” she said. “The hunting plan should include going through all the gear, including boat, trailer and required safety equipment, the location of the hunt and when you expect to return.”
Iowa duck season begins Oct. 13 in the north zone, Oct. 20 in the south zone and Oct. 27 in the Missouri River zone.
Logo courtesy Iowa Department of Natural Resources