May 31, 2022

GSC Member Governor Kim Reynolds Signs Bill to Allow the Use of .410-bore and 28-gauge Shotguns During Iowa’s Turkey Seasons

Contact: Kent Keene, Assistant Manager, Lower Midwestern States and Agriculture Policy

Why it matters: Thanks to advancements in shotshell technologies, smaller bore shotguns have become an effective and ethical option for hunters in pursuit of turkey. Thanks to their relatively light weight and low recoil, these options represent a great choice for young, small-framed, or otherwise recoil sensitive hunters who have historically been limited to 20-gauge and larger shotguns. The passage of SF 2334 represents a great opportunity to recruit new hunters and reactivate those whose participation may have lapsed due to recoil concerns.

On Tuesday, May 24, Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) staff joined partners in Des Moines Iowa for a bill signing ceremony for Senate File 2334 hosted by Governors Sportsmen’s Caucus Member Governor Kim Reynolds and Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg. As previously reported, SF 2334 would permit Iowa’s turkey hunters to utilize shotguns chambered in .410-bore and 28-gauge while hunting.

While .410-bore and 28-gauge shotguns have historically been considered an underpowered option for many when it comes to harvesting turkey, advancements in shotshell technologies have allowed these sub-gauges to become a viable choice in the turkey woods. As a result, lighter shotguns with significantly less recoil have become increasingly tailored toward turkey hunters, particularly those who are younger, smaller-framed, or otherwise recoil sensitive. While hunters may continue to turn to their trusty 20- and 12-gauges, the signing of SF 2334 represents a victory for the recruitment of new hunters as well as the reactivation of those who may have lapsed due to recoil sensitivities.

During the signing ceremony, attendees were joined by both industry and conservation representatives, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Iowa Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chairs Senator Chris Cournoyer and Representative Terry Baxter who managed SF 2334 and its companions in each chamber. SF 2334 will take effect later this summer, meaning that the Hawkeye State’s turkey hunters will have extra options heading into the fall.

Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?

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