IMB Outfitters on FacebookIMB Outfitters on TwitterIMB Outfitters on YouTube
Toll Free: (866) 855-7063  
Phone: (660) 385-1800 

Trophy Deer Hunts in

Trophy Deer Hunts in

Trophy Deer Hunts in

Trophy Deer Hunts in




or Call Us Toll Free at


How to Get an Iowa Deer Tag

How to Get an Iowa Deer Tag

How to Get Your Iowa Deer Tag

How do you get an Iowa deer tag. First off you gotta know that if your going to Iowa you must go to Zone 5. This is the most famed zone of all zones in Iowa and should be target for you Iowa deer hunt. You should apply for the Iowa deer tag between May 1 and May 30.
We don't claim to be experts on Iowa hunting regulations and you should ALWAYS contact the Iowa DNR at 1-515-281-5918 1-515-281-5918 or Iowa DNR Website for the official word on all the rules and regulations. We are merely trying to help you make the process easier to understand and encourage you to take the most important step, applying for the tag!
We highly recommend that if you want to hunt deer in Iowa, apply at the beginning of May, act now! Don't wait three years and try to get a tag. Apply on May 5th for a buck tag or buy a $10 preference point, so that in a few short years you'll be on the best deer hunt of your life. Iowa is truly an unspoiled deer hunting paradise that is well worth the wait.
Statistically, it is very easy to obtain a gun or muzzleloader tag however it normally takes up to 3 years to obtain a bow tag for non residents.
Apply For Your Iowa Deer Tag

There are a few preliminary things you must decide before you apply for an Iowa tag, such as which zone you want to hunt and the weapon you wish to use. Another choice you have is to apply as an individual or apply as a group. When applying as a group all members will be accepted or rejected together in the drawing. The group leader must apply first and state he/she is the group leader. Members of a group must call to apply separately, but each member must submit the group leader's IDNR customer identification number when applying. Make sure if you apply as a group to apply with others who have the same number of preference points. Preference points were introduced two years ago, cost $50 and are great for someone who is applying for the very first time. However, with all the factors (zone, weapon, number of applicants, applicants with preference points, groups, etc.) and the fact that this is a lottery, you really don't know if you will get drawn or not. We constantly hear stories about people, who on occasion, will get drawn the first time or maybe even get drawn every year (example: muzzleloader).
We do like the option of preference points, but we don't like the thought of possibly using two points to get a buck tag when it might have only taken one, which means that we wasted a year. What we recommend and do ourselves, is to apply for a buck tag every year, take our chances and if we don't get drawn, we still get a preference point.
Make the decision to hunt Iowa and organize your group of hunters.
Decide on the Weapon and Zone you wish to hunt. offers great low pressure hunts in zone 5 and 6. For a map of deer zones for non-residents refer to the following map at >NR Deer Zones
Apply between May 5th- June 3rd by calling 1-800-367-1188 1-800-367-1188 or logging on to >Iowa Online Application. If applying for the very first time you will have to call and build an account to create your own DNR identification number.
You have two basic options when you call to apply.
Option 1: Apply for an "Any-deer/Antlerless-only" license (buck & doe), provide your zone, weapon choice and pay with a credit card. If you don't get drawn you will get a refund in about 6-8 weeks "after the drawing" and get one preference point.
Option 2: Buy a $10 preference point. Hunters who choose not to apply for an "Any-deer" license (buck tag) may purchase one preference point that will improve their chance of getting a license in a future year and a zone or weapon choice is not needed.
You can check the IA DNR website (website only, do not call) around June 24th to see if you received a license. If you are successful at getting a deer license (mailed in late July) you will also need to buy a general hunting license and habitat stamp. Note: Any nonresident born on or after January 1, 1967 must have completed an approved hunter education program in Iowa or another state to buy a hunting license.
For additional information on all the NR deer regulations refer to the following link: >NR Application Instructions
For those of you who are very eager to hunt Iowa and want to experience an inexpensive hunt can apply for a doe tag. Hunters who do not draw an"Any-deer/Antlerless-only" license may purchase one optional "Antlerless-only" (doe only) license until quotas are filled. Every year around July 14th Iowa sells 3500 NR doe tags, which are county and weapon specific, are easy to get, are first come first serve and you are limited to one doe. Later, on December 15th the IA DNR sells any remaining tags and last year ( Dec 15th, 2006) they still had 198 tags available. Note: you will not loose any preference points (for your future buck hunt) by purchasing this doe tag.
How to obtain your Iowa deer tag

Iowa deer hunting is world class due in part to superb whitetail genetics, hunting seasons that allow many bucks to reach maturity, and has some serious protein rich agricultural which is a perfect recipe for monster bucks.
Iowa is home to the largest buck ever killed by a hunter anywhere in the world. On September 29th, 2003 an Iowa teenager named Tony Lovstuen harvested a 38 point monster scoring 307 5/8 inches with a muzzleloader in Monroe County. This buck, which was panel scored by the Boone & Crockett Club, is officially the largest whitetail buck ever killed by a hunter anywhere in the world and ranks third all-time in the B&C record book for non-typicals behind two-pick up entries.
Iowa has 14 of the Pope & Young Club's Top 50 typical bucks of all-time, as well as eight of the P&Y Top 50 non-typicals of all-time. At last count, the Hawkeye State also has eight of the top-50 Boone & Crockett typicals of all-time and five of the top-50 B&C non-typicals of all-time.

Darrin Bradley

Back to the Hunting Articles