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Public hunting in Southeast IA

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Public hunting in Southeast IA

Old 11-22-2010, 12:03 PM
Typical Buck
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: MO
Posts: 643
Default Public hunting in Southeast IA

I hope to bowhunt IA in the next few years if I can get drawn for a nonresident tag. I may use an outfitter but I'm also not against hunting public ground. Especially if it's anything like IL public hunting land. IL has quite a bit in my area and doesn't get much pressure, at least where I hunt.

What are the public hunting areas like and do they get a ton of pressure? Particularly in these counties, since they are a shorter drive: Davis, Van Buren, Lee, Wapello, Jefferson, Henry, Des Moines, Washington, Louisa and Keokuk.

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Old 11-23-2010, 12:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
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I hunted public land there last year and it is some of the best hunting I have seen. I was there for around 10 days during the rut and only saw 3 vehicles that were hunting and they were all out of state and I killed a 135" 11 point. I had a few thousand acres of land pretty much to myself. One of my friends lived in Iowa for about 4 years and all he hunted was public land even though he had permission to hunt several hundred acres of private land. He killed a couple of 160's and some 140's while he was there. I know another guy that lives near Davenport and he said the public land close to the MS River has got some B&C bucks on it. I am planning on going back up there in 2012 with some of my family. I would much rather hunt public land than worry with an outfitter. The only downside is not knowing the area when you get there.
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Old 12-01-2010, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Iowa
Posts: 292

I run/guide for a outfitting service in Southern Iowa, if you want some info let me know and I will get it to you.

If you want to hunt public land, Southern Iowa has some great land to hunt. I am based in Appanoose County (next county west of Davis) and the Sedan Bottoms Wildlife Management Area has some of the best habitat and least pressure you will find anywhere.

Good Luck
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:24 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: LaPorte, IN
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I hunted Sedan Bottoms several years. The problem we had was tons of pheasant hunters with dogs running all over. Then at night the coon hunters moved in, running dogs and spotlighting every woodlot. I'd never seen anything like it. Nobody is interested in coon hunting anywhere else I've been. We saw this first hand because we camped right in the bottom. It was OK for deer but only if you got way back to the extreme edges of the property.

We also hunted parts of the Stephens State forest and Rathbun Reservoir edges and if I return there, would like to scout some of these more. Man if I lived closer I'd love to scout all of it. I'd have multiple slammer funnels located in great deer country. I just never got to spend enough time to zero in on them.
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