Hunters say legalizing certain rifles in Iowa is a step in the right direction

DAVENPORT, Iowa — For the second time, Iowa deer hunters going out for the first shotgun season on Saturday, December 1 will be able to use straight wall cartridge rifles. Terry Brandstad signed House File 475 into law April 2017.

Davenport Guns and Shooting Club can't keep them on the shelves.

"Rifles that we have in stock are not collecting dust they are going off the shelves as well as the ammunition for the firearms," Chad Cheek, Training and NRA Instructor at Davenport Guns and Shooting Club said.

Last year in Iowa, The Iowa Department of Natural Resources reports in their  2016_2017 deer season harvest totals there was an average 8% increase in the number of deer harvested between first and second shotgun seasons compared to the previous year, when straight wall cartridge rifles were not allowed.

"It was a very productive season and I anticipate a lot more people will be using that type of firearm this year," Jeff Harrison, State Conservation Officer assigned to Scott County with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The law states:

"A straight wall cartridge rifle may be used to hunt deer during youth and disabled deer hunting seasons by a person who has a valid deer hunting license and is otherwise qualified to hunt."

"A straight wall cartridge ridge rifle that is allowed pursuant to this subsection shall be of the same caliber and use the same straight wall ammunition as is allowed for use in a pistol or revolver for hunting deer as provided in subsection 5."

Straight wall cartridges hit a deer with more velocity and accuracy compared to a shotgun.

"I have heard a lot of good feedback I haven't heard anything negative, other than they want to increase to every rifle round," Officer Harrison said.

There are size restrictions. Not all rifles, For instance, a .300 Winchester Magnum is not allowed.

"You can shoot groundhogs, you can shoot target practice with them, why you can't shoot whitetail deer with them that`s not for me to decide that's up to the politicians," Cheek said.

There are three calibers outside of the approved size that are grandfathered into the new law, .375 Winchester, .444 Marlin, and .45-70 Govt.

"It was kind of the legislators that said it, hey we want these three these are old school military rounds this is what people grew up using, that’s what they have and we want to include them," Officer Harrison said.

"The recoil is a lot less and it's a lot less pain on the shoulder,' Ryan "Curly Fries," Johnson said. "I think [the new law] is a step in the right direction."

Johnson says he will use a 450 bushmaster AR-15 he built himself out of parts he's accumulated over the year.

2018-19 Iowa Deer Hunting Seasons

First season shotgun: Dec. 1-5
Second season shotgun: Dec. 8-16
Nonresident Holiday Dec. 24 - Jan. 2, 2019
January Antlerless Jan. 11-27, 2019

Archery: Oct. 1 - Nov. 30 and Dec. 17 - Jan. 10, 2019

Late Muzzleloader: Dec. 17 - Jan. 10, 2019