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Some Fine Whitetail Hunting!

- An out-of-state Iowa deer tag right up there with sitting across from Regis Philban and knowing, 100 percent, that your "final answer" for the $1 million pay-off is on the money

- No pun intended

But let's just say that you're one of the fortunate few to have drawn an archery tag for the coming season. Now what? You don't know anyone in Iowa and from your home in eastern Pennsylvania, it's quite the roadtrip to go knocking on doors for a week during the summer. And besides, you've heard that while Iowa landowners present one of the last bastions of "ask and ye shall receive" hunting permission, deer season is an entirely different matter.

Some Fine Whitetail HuntingSound like a problem? Ordinarily, it would be just that; however, this apparently down-and-out archer is in luck, thanks to southern Iowa's wealth of deer-rich public hunting lands.

From a point just slightly west of Interstate 35 in south-central Iowa east to the Mississippi River, archers, as well as turkey and upland bird hunters, have more than 46,000 acres of outdoor potential waiting at their fingertips. Much of it receives little in the way of hunting pressure, save for a few days during December's regular shotgun season.

Archers, in many instances, will find a surprising and very pleasant lack of company on these areas, with only the occasional squirrel hunter to provide anything even closely resembling competition. Of course, hunting pressure does increase slightly during the first two weeks of November, as this period brings the annual rut into full swing; still, though, there will not be many other hunters.

"Except for during the regular shotgun season in December, we don't see a whole lot of non-resident archers on our public areas down here," said Keane Maddy. A lifelong resident of Centerville in Appanoose County, a nationally known hotbed for those seeking an audience with one of The Hawkeye State's bruiser bucks. Maddy currently serves as public relations director and marketing manager for Bug-Out Outdoorwear.

Some Fine Whitetail HuntingAlong with his brother, Jason, Maddy also operates Maddy Brothers Guide Service, a high-quality, low-hunter-number guiding business specializing in archery and blackpower whitetails as well as spring turkeys.

"Most of our local archers have private ground to hunt, and since non-resident archery tags are on a quota, that doesn't leave many folks to hunt places like Lake Rathbun. And there's almost 16,000 acres there," said Maddy.

And statistically, he's right about the "not many folks" part. During 2000, the state of Iowa offered only 6,000 non-resident deer permits, of which no more that 35 percent, or 2,100, were set aside for archers. These 6,000 non-resident deer permits, then, were distributed over 10 hunting zones. Sothern Iowa, for the post part, is comprised of Zone 4 (1,200 tags/420 archery), Zone 5 (1,500 tags/525 archery) and Zone 6 (780 tags/273 archery).

As an example of this low-pressure hunting opportunity, Maddy's Lake Rathbun which, according to the DeLorme Mapping's Iowa Atlas & Gazetteer, covers some 15,900 acres, falls within Zone 5. Even if 100 non-resident archers were to descend upon this particular area - even on the same weekend - each would, theoretically, have almost 160 acres to him or herself. That's not bad, especially when one considers that, first, Rathbun is in one of Iowa's most popular public hunting areas, and second, the chances of 100 archers being on Rathbun on the same weekend, even during the rut, is non-existent. And if that's the case on 15,900 acres, just think how lonely the smaller wildlife areas are.

Some Fine Whitetail Hunting

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