Iowa’s unusually wet spring and fall has created a unique situation in certain parts of the state where floodwaters are reaching crop fields and causing issues regarding what waterfowl hunters can and can’t do in these areas.
According to federal regulations, hunters are allowed to hunt standing crops as well as flooded standing crops unless that field has been manipulated. Manipulation includes knocking down or clearing an area in the standing crops for ducks to land.
Manipulation also means if the crops were disked or mowed instead of being harvested, the crop field is considered baited and hunting is not allowed. Additionally, if the baited field is influencing waterfowl behavior, hunters must avoid hunting within that zone of influence.
Hunting is allowed in a crop field that has been harvested. Any manipulation other than harvest is considered baiting and hunting are not allowed.
Hunters are encouraged to use an abundance of caution when choosing a place to hunt to avoid hunting in a baited area. A complete list of federal baiting regulations is online at www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-
Iowa duck season reopened in the north zone on Oct. 12. The south duck zone reopens on Oct. 19. The Missouri River zone is open Oct. 12-18, and then Oct. 27-Dec. 17.