Choosing a nonresident zone to apply for

Discussion in 'Iowa Whitetail Conference' started by bowonly, Dec 30, 2016.

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  1. bowonly

    bowonly Member

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    At the risk of being shunned as soon as I join the site, I am going to ask a question that most residents will cringe at when they read it. Which deer zone should I apply for? Next year I will be applying for a nonresident tag and since it is a huge investment, I would like to get some local opinions on which zone to apply for before I jump in, wallet first. I currently have 3 preference points, and am strictly a public land bowhunter....let's just say I enjoy the challenge. After 3 years of research and much thought, I am still struggling to decide whether Zone 6 or Zone 3 will give me the best bang for my buck. Or hey, if the consensus of opinions is that I should wait another year to secure a spot in Zone 4 or 5, I can do that too. What I am after is an opportunity to kill a solid 140" buck. I know they are not lurking around every tree in Iowa as the media would have us out-of-staters believe, but I do think the opportunity is more likely in your great state than in my state of Louisiana.
    I am willing to walk to get away from the crowds on a particular public piece of ground and I have even brought my pirogue with me to access out of the way spots by boat. If you would prefer to pm me as opposed to vetting your opinion in an open forum, that would be great. I appreciate any guidance or push in the right direction I can get. Thank you in advance. And I hope everyone has a happy and blessed New Year!
     
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  3. Hardwood11

    Hardwood11 It is going to be a good fall!

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    First off... welcome...you should not be shunned as this site has R and NR on here.

    Second, I would guess you would still draw in 4 or 5 with 3 points? I think either would be good. Zone 5 has some nice public areas. Zone 4 in Ringgold and Decatur, good stuff as well. I have told many NR to come in the spring/summer and stop by some farms and ask permission to hunt. Tell them the situation, it is a one time deal, just archery and you will not be hunting every year, and will not bring all your friends. You would be surprised the response.

    I had 3000 acres to hunt at one time as a NR, actually still do, but i have my own land now.

    Good luck!
     
  4. Wapsi Tree

    Wapsi Tree Well-Known Member

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    If you respect our land, our animals and our people and you're welcome here any time....we'll take your money:)

    My vote would be Zone 5,6,8, or 9.
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2016
  5. MarkF

    MarkF Member

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    Zone 5 is no longer a guarantee with 3 points for archery. I know a few guys with 3 that didn't draw this year.
     
  6. Bowtech84

    Bowtech84 Well-Known Member

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    If all you are after is something bigger than a 140 I would chose zone 4. I'm a resident of zone 4 and don't remember the last time I've seen an NR during bow season. From what I see, there is hardly any pressure on public in my area. There's a 300 acre +\- piece of public south of my parents that nobody bow hunts. im in the northern half of zone 4 and I believe it is overlooked. Your chances at killing a 170+ are lower in this area but a 140-160 is doable. Good luck!
     
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  7. nontyp

    nontyp Active Member

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    Zone 3 can be good, but the public gets pounded during archery season. I would hold out for zone 5.
     
  8. bigbuckhunter88

    bigbuckhunter88 PMA Member

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    Zone 5 is what I would try for with 3 points. And the next time you could try for a unit that gets you a better chance with less points. Zone 8 also has some good pieces of public ground and from the looks of it you can draw sooner.
     
  9. iowaqdm

    iowaqdm PMA Member

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    I would guess zone 5 and 9 would have the most public ground to hunt. Both would give an excellent opportunity at a 140+ class deer if you dedicate 10-14 days and get cool weather. I would say pick anytime in November. Zone 9 topography is much steeper but has some incredible deer. If you are in good health don't be afraid to hit zone 9.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2016
  10. isu22andy

    isu22andy Active Member

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    You will kill a nice deer in public if your willing to work for it . Ask the local hunters what pieces get overlooked . Put the time in is the biggest thing . People that hunt the rut here and don't kill a decent buck (130-140+) either don't put the time in , choose to pass for a bigger one , or can't hunt . My vote is 3 but prepare to hike some mountains ... Also a resident of 4 and echo what Bowtech 84 said . Theirs hidden gems . I don't know one bow hunter in my county that hunts the public ground .. good luck , you are welcome in our state . I enjoy talking to out of staters when I pass through Zone 3 public ground for work . Good luck and enjoy Iowa!
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
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  11. bowonly

    bowonly Member

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    Thanks for all the input guys....keep it coming. From what I'm gathering, as long as a guy puts in the effort, there are no bad zones.
     
  12. isu22andy

    isu22andy Active Member

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    The IowaDNR online interactive hunting atlas is your friend . It works on mobile too .
     
  13. loewmd

    loewmd Member

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    I'd say most of the state would be better than where you are currently. Any of the zones previously mentioned are good and people have success on all of them on public land. As you stated there are no guarantees and you may also want to consider how much pressure you would encounter in the different zones. If everybody wants one zone you are likely to run into more people there but you should still be able to find overlooked spots. Also I would recommend shooting a deer if it makes you excited and you'd be happy with it. 140 is just a number and a mature buck regardless of score is still a trophy and a unique experience you won't forget. Good luck and let us know where you choose and how you do.
     
  14. Jdubs

    Jdubs Well-Known Member

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    Zone 5 hands down. Much public land nobody touches.
     
  15. meyeri

    meyeri PMA Member

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    Zone 4 would be my pick, simply because it has a lot of options from southern to central Iowa. I hunt some public ground in that zone and there are good areas if you scout. Focus on places where other guys don't go and not necessarily distance from the lot. A canoe would be handy. Always have a backup spot and if one area is poor for movement then don't waste your time there. If you can pass "115-130 inchers on the hoof then a shot at a 140" might be doable. If you get a shot at a "140 in 2 weeks time then I would say that's a realistic goal.
     
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  16. Tim Hull

    Tim Hull PMA Member

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    If you pick Zone 5, I have a Cabin just outside of Brighton, Iowa. you are welcome to stay at Rent Free. It is on the Jefferson County, Washington County Line and Henry County is just a couple miles east.
     
  17. bowonly

    bowonly Member

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    Wow! Thank you, that is extremely generous. So many suggestions, I will have to think long and hard as well as pray about my decision. Thank y'all again for the help and support.
     
  18. Daver

    Daver PMA Member

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    That's a super offer Tim, nice going! FWIW, I used to hunt around Brighton a lot and know a fair amount about that region. Now I drive through there on my way to my farm. Good area.
     
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  19. Sligh1

    Sligh1 Administrator Staff Member

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    I could care less about a zone IF IF IF I knew the land I'd be hunting on was in a block or neighborhood managed for older bucks & managed "properly". Any zone in Iowa has ground that's managed like complete crap and some ground that's managed amazingly well - everything in between. Yes, closer to larger cities and get in less forested areas and obviously it skews towards having less good area period. But, zones, in a sense, are meaningless. Find the "best zone" and pick the wrong block - your hunting could suck big time. Find a "mediocre zone" but get on an area managed right, jackpot.
     
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