Encountering a bow hunter can be a nerve-wracking experience, especially if you're not familiar with hunting. If you find yourself in this situation, it's important to remain calm and follow some basic guidelines. The hunters are asked not to engage with the public, so if you see one, give a nice wave and keep moving. Additionally, hunters are required to maintain a 100-foot setback from any paved trail. It's also important to note that hunting is only allowed during certain times of the year and is otherwise illegal. Finally, all hunting is done from an elevated treestand, so every arrow released is in a downward direction, and the furthest shot allowed to be taken is 25 yards (75 feet).
The purpose of the Special Urban Deer Hunt is to keep the deer population in check. This is accomplished through a special deer tag issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR), which sets a quota each year. The urban hunt is doe-only to control the population, but buck incentive tags are offered by the DNR. It's important to note that every public and private property must be approved by the City Council every year before hunting is allowed.
The season in Johnston runs from October 1, 2023, to January 21, 2024, in public areas. Private properties can be approved individually by the City Council and have a season from September 16, 2023, to January 21, 2024. Please keep in mind that within the 25 years of the urban hunt, there have not been any safety issues with the general public. The public hunting areas are primarily around Lew Clarkson and Terra Park.
Click the image below (PDF) to view the 2023 deer management zones public hunting areas
Click the image below (PDF) to view the approved deer hunting locations in Johnston