Story by Emily Hecker
It’s that time of year again, not Drake Relays or Christmas, but hunting season. Iowa has become a huge hunting attraction for those who enjoy recreational shooting. Davis Horton, a first-year environmental science major, considers Iowa “a white-tail deer hunter’s paradise.”
Horton said a few years ago the biggest white-tail deer ever shot was conquered in Iowa, and that’s how the state became such a popular place for killing “trophy-class” animals.
Although hunting can be seen as dangerous, it can be very fulfilling to the adventure-seeking outdoorsmen.
“There is no experience like killing a deer or any other kind of wild game. It’s an adrenaline rush, it gets your heart pounding, and it is all-around very emotional,” Horton said. “The most enjoyable part for me is being able to kill a big deer and get the head mounted so that you can keep it as a memory forever.”
Fellow first-year, Layton Mikkalson, shares a similar passion for hunting and is also aware of Iowa’s great population for white-tail deer.
“My dad has always taken me along on hunting and fishing trips ever since I can remember and I have always loved it,” Mikkalson said. “I’ve hunted geese, ducks, turkeys, white-tail deer, black bear, crow, raccoon, coyote and rabbits.”
Horton tends to take a different route with his hunting, though.
“Most of the time I bow hunt and shotgun hunt for white-tail deer, but I also enjoy pheasant hunting, coyote hunting and rabbit hunting with my friends,” he said.
But how does someone know where to hunt?
“The best place to hunt is really anywhere there is wild game. You can go to public hunting areas and kill many types of wild game. However, if you own private land with a lot of timber, crop fields and water sources, then those are the best places you can possibly hunt for all kinds of different animals,” Horton said.
As for Mikkalson, he said he would love to go hunt different types of geese in the Southern Flyway in Texas, or hunt caribou, elk, moose or brown bears in Canada and Alaska.
“As long as you are with great hunting partners, you’re going to have a good time,” he said.