Getting Started at Thunder Ridge
IOWA IS A DRAW STATE - YOU MUST DRAW A TAG TO HUNT IN IOWA!!!
Prices are on the Hunt Pages
Iowa is one of the highest sought after whitetail states in the U.S. and it is also the toughest state to draw a tag in. The sooner and more frequent you get
your application in, and start applying the more chances you have at scoring on one of our giant Hawkeye State Bucks. And now with the bonus point system at
a cost of only $50 per year it makes even more sense to get on board and in camp with Thunder Ridge Outfitters.......
Due to the difficulty of the Iowa draw and our attempt to keep camp #'s low. We are unable to offer any refunds on deposits/credits paid towards your hunt. Our system of projecting the year you will hunt, providing adequate leases and avoiding overbooking does not allow for this. If you need to change your hunt, or do not draw the year you have booked us for, we will roll/transfer your deposit/credits to the following year. Should you need to cancel your hunt completely we will do everything in our power to resell your hunt to a prospective client and refund your money.
Q: Do you offer landowner tags that we can purchase from you so we don't have to worry about the draw
A: No, Iowa has no transferable tag policy, and if you are hunting with an outfitter in Iowa that tells you any different, be prepared to pay some heafty fines, see the following link. The only way you can hunt in Iowa is to draw a tag. (DNR FINES Tennessee man....)
Q: How can I get a spot reserved to hunt with you guys?
A: We require only a $500 deposit to hold and reserve your spot to hunt with us. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your hunt.
Make Checks Payable to: Thunder Ridge Outfitters
Mail Deposits to:
1871 Quarry Trail
Winterset, Iowa 50273
Please provide the following information. Desired season you wish to hunt, dates, phone numbers, names of party, and both mailing and email addresses.
Q: How can I increase my chances of drawing a tag in Iowa?
A: Well first off by applying every year, and even if you do not intend to hunt Iowa for atleast 1-2 years, it is a very good idea to buy a bonus point from the DNR, they are only $50 and will increase your drawing a tag chances greatly?
Q: Do You take Credit Cards?
A: At this point we are only available to take For Deposits, Check, or Pay Pal. If paying by PayPal please submit it as a gift so there are no fees. When you arrive in camp your remaining balance must be either Cash or a
Money order or Certified Check.
Q: What is entailed in the price of your hunts?
A: The price you pay includes all meals. Breakfast, Lunch and Supper, and a good Supper too 4 courses on the table homecooked!, lodging, and transportation once you arrive in our camp. Processing of game and taxidermy are extra. A $125 charge will be assesed to all successful clients
not choosing to take their meat with them at the time of departure, unless that deer can still be donated to the local food pantry. No refunds are ever given at
Thunder Ridge Outfitters. You agree that this is a fair chase hunt and that you come fully knowing that nothing is guaranteed and that your success and experience will depend on the work and elements or mother nature.
Q: What are your success rates based on?
A: Unlike some other outfitters, we only base our success rates on actual kills! Not hunters who saw, passed, might have, coulda, woulda, shoulda, gotta shot at a buck or saw one out of the truck. We count horns on the hanging tree! That's the only TRUE way to prove an outfitters success rate!
Q: I'm comming on a gun hunt, can I shoot my muzzleloader.
A: Yes, you can shoot either a shotgun or muzzleloader during our Gun 1,2 seasons. But you may only use a muzzleloader during the Late Muzzleloader season. AND KNOW YOUR GUN!!!!!! Don't run out to the local sporting goods store, buy a muzzleloader, sight it in and then think you are
good for the hunt. What does your bullet do at 100,150,200 etc. I can't tell you the # of guys who go home every year dissapointed after missing the buck of their dreams because they didn't and weren't used to their gun. We suggest during Gun 1,2 bringing a good slug gun and a muzzleloader.
Q: What is an Outpost Camp?
A: Sometimes when deer hunting throws us a curve we hit it back with some changes. We have a couple outpost camps that we utilize for better odds at your success for harvesting a trophy. Our outposts offer a cozy bed, but are somewhat smaller than the lodge and somewhat less modern. We do have running water though and electricity ha ha....
Q: Can I bring my own stands?
A: You can, but why would ya? If I am comming to hunt a timber you have hunted for over 15 years I am not going to go moving stands on your place, we think our stands are in some pretty awesome places and have been proven over the test of time. If a client wishes to be
moved, we have extra stands in camp, and even climbers if they wish to feel more portable.
Q: What kind of stand will I be hunting from and how high are they placed?
A: You name it. We hang it. Ladder stands, buddy stands, box blinds, tower blinds, ground blinds, double bulls, even 25' hang ons for crazy sob's. We have a variety of stands for everyone to hunt from. Big guys, children, women, and elderly people are welcome at our camp.
Q: What class of deer can I expect to kill at your camp?
A: Let's be real, it's a fair chase hunt, we make no guarantees, yet will provide you will some of the best leased and owned property in Southern Iowa. If you want a guarantee then this hunt is not for you, go to a fence! We regularly harvest dear on the average of 145-160 inches with
some topping in the 200's. We have harvested some above that and those are a rarety. Unlike the growing myth, Iowa does not have booners tied up behind every tree, but we do have some awesome deer. But we only welcome hunters who realize that it is hunting and know that we
will do everything in our power to get them a deer. Nothing makes a camp less enjoyable than a pouter or a whiner. Our repeat client rate is 85%+, that says allot about the operation we run.
Q: I am paying for a guided hunt, will someone be sitting with me while I hunt?
A: Unlike a hunt out West you are being guided to a spot we have pre chosen for you. We have scouted, planted food plots, cut shooting lanes, hung your stands, controlled the buck to doe ratios on said lands, and done your homework for you. That is the part of guiding you have paid for. We will get you to your tree, but due to scent control reasons, we do not sit with you. Although under some certain circumstances you will have a guide.
Q: How many acres do you lease, and how much pressure do your deer see?
A: Each year our clients are amazed at the vast land we operate. Some of the stands they sit in have not even been hunted out of yet that season. Unlike other outfits, our deer are not trained to avoid certain trails, nor look up at certain points on the trail. We maintain a low pressure scouting meathod, by
using cameras and long range scouting meathods. As far as acres go, we own and operate on average 8,000+ acres in southern Iowa.....
Q: How strict are you on your minimum inch penalties?
A: Let's be real, we all make mistakes. But this rule is to benefit all who hunt at TRO. A few inches will be granted, few less than 2, but if the buck falls well short of the min, the fine must be enforced. Management starts at an early age for the bucks, and when that deer is harvested at 2-3 years old he obviously will never
reach his max potential. It's not fair the client who puts in for 3 years to obtain a tag and then has a guy shoot a 120" buck just a year prior to say he killed one in Iowa....Don't shoot it unless you would be proud to mount it on your wall.
Q: What if I shoot a deer and we do not find it. Do you have a wound penalty?
A: We will do everything in our power to find the deer you shoot at. If we do not find your deer you will be offered the chance to re enter the woods for a fee of $750.00. We do this to keep hunters from taking shots that they have no business taking. In otherwords, long shots, moving shots or low percentage shots.
This is not a place to come if you anticipate just throwing lead or flinging arrows. We take pride in growing our deer to the ages they get to and although we have big deer it is not like out west. We are limited to private ground and not millions of acres of public ground.
Q: Why is your late muzzleloader hunt cheaper?
A: This hunt hinges so much on the weather that we feel it is only fair to offer this hunt at a lower rate. The hunt is an evening only hunt and therefore if the weather turns warmer the hunter is not out as much.
We hope this Q & A answers some of your questions. If you have a question feel free to contact us.