Hunting in Iowa

Iowa Hunting at Glance

Iowa is known for being a primarily rural state with more than 60% of all land designated as agricultural. These large, open spaces make Iowa great habitat for both big and small game and a destination for upland bird and white tailed deer hunters especially, though many also come for cottontail rabbit, turkey and even squirrel hunting.

Deer tags are available for purchase by residents. Nonresidents must participate in a lottery to acquire a limited quota of 5,000 tags. Ten zones may be selected when completing the form. The deadline for submitting an application is early June.

Iowa ranks #22 in the nation for hunting license per capita and has a strong hunting culture with over 6.8% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 3,190,369
Hunters 216,945
Hunter % 6.8%
Hunters Rank 22

The state of Iowa is predominantly private land and only 0.74% of the total acres could be considred huntable public land. In fact, Iowa ranks #49 overall in acres of public huntable land.

Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 35,760,000
Huntable Public 266,000 0.74% 49
Private Land 35,385,660 98.95% 2
Tribal Land 3600 .01% 28

Iowa ranks #2 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and number 28 in terms of acres of tribal land.

Iowa Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Iowa Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Iowa DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Iowa DNR

502 East 9th Street, 4th Floor
Des Moines, IA 50319-0034

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Why limit yourself to public land when there are millions of acres of private land to explore.

Popular Game to Hunt in Iowa

Iowa offers some of the best deer hunting in the country. The state is also home to abundant populations of pheasants, quail, cottontail rabbits, and squirrels. Wild turkeys were reintroduced to the state in 1966 and today turkey populations have expanded across the entire state of Iowa.

Small Game Hunting in Iowa

Pheasant, quail, dove, squirrel, and rabbit are some of the most commonly hunted small game in Iowa. Pheasant hunting typically takes place in the fall, when the birds are actively feeding in preparation for winter. Quail hunting season generally runs from October to February, with hunters often using dogs to flush out the birds. Dove season usually opens in September and continues into November, coinciding with the birds’ migration south. Squirrel and rabbit hunting season typically begins in October and extends into February. These late-season hunts allow hunters to take advantage of the animals’ prime fur-bearing months. Whether you’re after a trophy or simply looking for a tasty meal, small game hunting in Iowa has something to offer everyone.

Big Game Hunting in Iowa

Some of the most popular big game animals to hunt in Iowa are whitetail deer, mule deer, antelope, elk, and moose. All five of these species can be found in different parts of the state, and each offers its own unique challenges. Whitetail deer are the most widespread of the five, and can be found in nearly every county. Mule deer are most common in the western part of the state, while antelope are found primarily in the southwest. Elk can be found in a few counties in northeast Iowa, while moose are only found in a small section of northern Iowa. Although all of these animals can be fun to hunt, each one presents its own set of challenges. For example, whitetail deer are notoriously difficult to track, and their small size makes them difficult to spot in thick brush. Mule deer are known for their keen sense of smell, which can make them difficult to approach without being detected. And elk are large animals that require specialized equipment and experience to successfully hunt. No matter which species you choose to pursue, Iowa offers plenty of opportunities for an enjoyable hunting experience.

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Iowa

Iowa offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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Popular Public Hunting Land in Iowa

The most popular place to hunt public land in Iowa is the Iowa River Corridor. This stretch of river runs through central Iowa and is known for its abundance of wildlife. Ledges State Park is another popular spot for hunting. This park is located in north-central Iowa and is home to a variety of game animals. Stephens State Forest is another great place to hunt in Iowa. This forest covers more than 8,000 acres of land in northwest Iowa and offers a variety of hunting opportunities. The Neola Bend Wildlife Area is another popular hunting spot in Iowa. This area is located in south-central Iowa and is known for its abundance of deer and turkey. Finally, Waubonsie State Park is a great place to hunt in western Iowa. This park covers more than 1,000 acres of land and offers a variety of hunting opportunities.

1. Iowa River Corridor
2. Ledges State Park
3. Stephens State Forest
4. Neola Bend Wildlife Area
5. Waubonsie State Park

Hunting Private Land in Iowa

Since the majority of Iowa is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
Wing It - Access. Granted White

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