Iowa hunting offers a wide array of opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. From hunting common games like turkeys, deer, and pheasants to capturing small game animals, the state boasts diverse hunting experiences. In this article, we will explore Iowa’s hunting regulations, seasons, and the various licenses required for both residents and non-residents.
Iowa Hunting Regulations
Before embarking on any hunting expedition in Iowa, it is essential to be well-informed about the state’s hunting regulations. These rules are put in place to ensure the safety of hunters and the conservation of wildlife. Some of the most crucial regulations include:
Reporting Hunting Accidents
In the event of a hunting accident involving a firearm that results in personal injury or property damage exceeding $100, hunters are obligated to report the incident within 12 hours. Reports should be made to the local sheriff’s office, local conservation office, or the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) between 8 am and 4:30 pm.
Possession and Storage of Game Animals
Hunters must not exceed the bag limit for legally obtained game animals, and possession of deer meat, known as venison, should not exceed 25 pounds per animal.
Use of Communication Devices
While hunting, the use of 2-way communication devices to locate or direct game animals is prohibited, except for coyote hunting, where 2-way radios are allowed. Falconers with valid permits can use one-way mobile transmitters, and hunting dogs can be tracked with one-way mobile transmitters.
Hunters can possess games lawfully taken and imported from other states, provided they can prove its legality. However, certain exceptions apply for big games.
Retrieving and Wasting Games
Hunters must make a reasonable effort to retrieve injured game animals, and it is prohibited to abandon any usable portion of a legally taken game.
Hunting Near Buildings
Discharging a firearm for hunting within 200 yards of a residential building or a building with feedlots and domestic livestock is prohibited, unless the landowner or tenant grants permission.
Iowa Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags
To participate in hunting activities in Iowa, hunters must obtain the appropriate licenses, permits, and tags. These documents are issued based on residency and age, and they vary in cost. Let’s explore some of the licenses available for both residents and non-residents:
Iowa Residents Licenses
- Hunting Licenses: Available for residents aged 16 and older, allowing hunting in the state. Cost: $19.
- Hunting Licenses for Seniors: Available for senior residents aged 64 and older. Cost: $13.
- Hunting and Habitat License: Allows hunting and trapping for residents. Valid for one year ($30) or three years ($86).
- Migratory Game Birds Permits: Permit to hunt migratory birds. Cost: $10.
- Federal Duck Stamp: Required for hunting ducks. Cost: $25.
- Apprentice License for Hunting and Habitat: For apprentice hunters. Cost: $30.
- Furharvester License: For hunting fur-bearing games. Cost: $22.5 (16 years and older) or $7.5 (under 16 years).
- Hunting and Fishing License: Allows both hunting and fishing. Cost: $47.
- Hunting Preserve: For hunting in Iowa game reserves. Cost: $7.
- Lifetime Hunting License for Senior Residents: Lifetime hunting license for senior residents. Cost: $52.5.
Iowa Non-Residents Licenses
- Non-residents Hunting Licenses: Available for non-residents aged 18 and older. Cost: $112.
- Junior Non-residents Hunting License: For non-residents under 18 years old. Cost: $32.
- Non-residents Habitat Fee License: For trapping. Cost: $13.
- Non-residents Hunting and Habitat Combination License: Allows hunting and trapping. Cost: $123.
- Non-residents Migratory Game Bird Permits: Permit to hunt migratory birds. Cost: $10.
- Non-residents Federal Duck Stamp: Required for hunting ducks. Cost: $25.
- Apprentice License for Hunting and Habitat: For apprentice hunters. Cost: $123.
Iowa Hunting Seasons
Iowa offers various hunting seasons for different game animals, each with specific regulations and methods of taking. Here are the 2020/21 hunting seasons for some of Iowa’s wildlife:
Iowa Deer Hunting Seasons
- Youth Hunting Season: September 19th to October 4th.
- Disabled Hunters Season: September 16th to October 4th.
- Archery Hunting Seasons: October 1st to December 4th and October 21st to January 10th.
- Early Muzzleloader Firearm Season: October 17th to October 25th.
- Late Muzzleloader Firearm Season: December 21st to January 10th.
- First Season for Regular Firearm: December 5th to December 9th.
- Second Season for Regular Firearm: December 12th to December 20th.
- Holiday Antlerless Season: December 24th to January 2nd.
Each deer harvested requires a valid permit.
Iowa Turkey Hunting Seasons
- Fall Hunting Season for Guns and Bows: October 12th to December 4th.
- Fall Hunting Season for Archery: October 1st to December 4th and December 21st to January 10th.
Iowa Small Game Hunting Seasons
- Youth Rooster Pheasants Hunting Season: October 24th to October 25th.
- Rooster Pheasant Hunting Season: October 31st to January 10th.
- Quail Hunting Season: October 31st to January 31st.
- Grouse Hunting Season: October 3rd to January 31st.
- Cottontail Rabbit Hunting Season: September 5th to February 28th.
- Fox Hunting Season: September 5th to January 31st.
- Gray Squirrel Hunting Season: September 5th to January 31st.
- Crow Hunting Seasons: October 15th to November 30th and January 14th to March 31st.
- Pigeon Hunting Season: Open season.
- Groundhog Hunting Season: Open season.
Iowa Wildlife, Games, and Fishes
Iowa is home to various wildlife, games, and fish species, making it an attractive destination for hunters. Some of the common game animals include:
Iowa Deer Hunting
Deer hunting in Iowa is popular, and the animals are found in forests, grasslands, and marshy areas of the state.
Iowa Turkey Hunting
Wild turkey hunting is prevalent in Iowa, with the eastern wild turkey species being the most common.
Iowa Fox and Coyote Hunting
Iowa is home to both gray foxes and red foxes, with coyotes being more abundant in the western part of the state.
Iowa Pheasant and Quail Hunting
Pheasant hunting in Iowa is popular, especially in northwest Iowa. Quail hunting is also excellent, with bobwhite quail being found in the southern parts of the state.
Iowa Duck and Dove Hunting
Ducks are abundant in wetland areas, and dove hunting is available in all counties of the state.
Iowa Hunting Shooting Ranges
For hunters looking to improve their shooting skills, Iowa offers several public shooting ranges, including:
- Boone Valley Ikaak Walton
- Cedar Falls Gun Club
- Charles “Butch” Olofson Shooting Range and Training Center
- CrossRoads Shooting Sports
- Highland Hideaway Hunting
Iowa Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease
For hunters interested in acquiring hunting lands, there are various options available for sale and lease, such as:
- Whittemore, Iowa (Kossuth County) 159 acres
- Knoxville, Iowa (Marion County) 434 acres
- Donahue, Iowa (Scott County) 66 acres
- Elkader, Iowa (Clayton County) 19.55 acres
These are just a few examples of the many hunting lands available in Iowa.
Iowa offers a diverse and exciting hunting experience for both residents and non-residents. From its abundant wildlife to its well-regulated hunting seasons, the state provides ample opportunities for hunters to enjoy their passion. By adhering to the state’s hunting regulations and obtaining the necessary licenses, hunters can explore the beauty of Iowa’s great outdoors.
Are non-resident hunting licenses more expensive than resident licenses in Iowa?
Yes, non-resident hunting licenses typically cost more than resident licenses in Iowa.
What are the hunting seasons for deer in Iowa?
The hunting seasons for deer in Iowa include archery, muzzleloader, and regular firearm seasons. Specific dates may vary, so hunters should check the latest regulations.
Can I hunt ducks in Iowa without a Federal Duck Stamp?
No, a Federal Duck Stamp is required to hunt ducks in Iowa.
Can I hunt coyotes with a 2-way communication device in Iowa?
No, the use of 2-way communication devices to locate or direct game animals is prohibited for hunting, except for coyote hunting.
What are the common game animals in Iowa?
Common game animals in Iowa include deer, turkeys, pheasants, quails, foxes, ducks, doves, and more.