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Iowa Deer Hunting

2011 Deer Hunting Seasons and Quotas
Seasons Season Dates License On-Sale Dates
Youth Season6 Sept. 17 - Oct. 2 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Disabled Hunter Season1 Sept. 17 - Oct. 2 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Archery Season
Early Split Oct. 1 - Dec. 2 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Late Split Dec. 19 - Jan. 10, 2012 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Early Muzzleloader2, 6 Oct. 15 - 23 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Late Muzzleloader Dec. 19 - Jan. 10, 2012 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Season 1 Dec. 3 - 7 Aug. 15 - End of Season
Season 2 Dec. 10 - 18 Aug. 15 - End of Season
November Antlerless Season3, 6 Nov. 25 - 27 Nov. 12 - End of Season
Resident January Antlerless Season3, 6 Jan. 11 - Jan. 29, 2012 Dec. 15 - End of Season
Nonresident January Antlerless Season3 Jan. 11 - Jan. 29, 2012 Jan. 11 - End of Season
Nonresident Holiday Season 4,5 Dec. 24 - Jan. 2, 2012 Dec. 15 - End of Season
1 Requires permit to acquire from DNR. See p. 27. 2 Purchase until quota (7,500) is reached
3 Purchase until county antlerless quota is reached 4 Purchase until nonresident antlerless quota is reached
5 See p. 38 for nonresident deer zone maps 6 Residents only, see p. 23 for details
2011 County Specific Antlerless Quotas For Resident Hunters
Unshaded Counties: Closed - No November or January Antlerless-only season, including Landowner-Tenant.
Shaded Counties [light and dark gray]: November and January Antlerless-only seasons will be open if licenses are available.
Dark Shaded Counties: Centerfire rifles may be used during the entire January Antlerless-only season
The Ruffed Grouse hunting zone is that portion of northeast Iowa bordered by U.S. Highway 63, 20 and 151, and Iowa Highways 13 and 64. Ruffed Grouse hunters are required to wear blaze orange.
See p. 19.
Ruffed Grouse Hunting Zone
Shooting Hours
Gun: 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
Bow: 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset
Bag Limit: Daily Bag and Season Possession
Limit is one wild turkey of either sex for each valid license and transportation tag issued to
the hunter.
Hunters may purchase up to two licenses beginning Aug. 15 through Dec. 2. See p. 35 for Fall Turkey
Special Licenses for Residents
1) Annual Free Combined Hunting and Fishing licenses are available to low income Iowa residents 65 years or older, or low income permanently disabled residents.
2) Lifetime Combination Hunting and Fishing License for Disabled Veterans - Available to Iowa residents who served for a minimum aggregate of 90 days of active federal service, and who were disabled, or were a prisoner of war during their military service. Disabled means entitled to compensation under United States Code, title 38, chapter 11. Applications for these special licenses and assistance may be obtained at DNR district offices that sell hunting and fishing licenses, at the DNR central office by calling 515-281-5918, or online at htt:// then clicking on hunting licenses
Resident and nonresident hunters born after Jan. 1, 1972, must satisfactorily complete a hunter education course in order to obtain a hunting license. A person who is 11 years-old or older may enroll in a course, but those who are 11 and successfully complete the course shall be issued a certificate of completion which becomes valid on that persons 12th birthday. Residents under the age of 12 can be issued deer and turkey licenses, but the youth hunter must be accompanied by and under the immediate control of or direct supervision of a licensed adult hunter. Call 515-281-5918 or go to for class dates and locations.
Alternative. A hunter education certificate issued by another state or certain foreign nations will meet the above requirement. Proof of completion is required when purchasing your first Iowa hunting license.
All hunting, fishing, deer and turkey licenses, including lifetime licenses are sold through theElectronic Licensing System for Iowa (ELSI). Licenses may be purchased at more than 800 license sales agents statewide, online at then clicking on hunting licenses and laws or over the phone at 1-800-367-1188. Before purchasing a license for the first time, resident and nonresident sportsmen and sportswomen need to be aware of certain requirements.
Under sections 252J.8 of the Iowa code and 42 U.S. Code 666 (a)(13), the DNR is required to
collect social security numbers from all licensees.
The primary purposes for gathering this
information are to verify identity, to determine
applicants¡¦ eligibility for licenses, and to provide
information to the Iowa Child Support
Collection Unit for the purpose of establishing,
modifying and enforcing child support obligations.
Information may also be provided to law
enforcement agencies. Providing a social security
number is mandatory when purchasing
a conservation license using ELSI for the first
time. The social security number will not appear
on the license.
ƒÞ Anyone currently under revocation or suspension
for fish or wildlife violations will be denied
purchase of a license for the activity in which
they are revoked or suspended.
A nonresident is a person who is not a resident
of Iowa. NOTE: Iowa residents who have previously
hunting, fished and/or trapped as nonresidents
are urged to plan ahead to obtain license
privileges. The electronic licensing system for
hunting, fishing and trapping automatically identifies
people who have previously obtained licenses
as nonresidents. This law change was made to
identify a growing problem in Iowa of nonresidents
falsifying records to illegally obtain (invalid)
resident licenses. Hunters, anglers and trappers
who previously held a nonresident Iowa license
but are now eligible for resident licenses, need to
fill out and return a form that can be accessed at . Former nonresidents
are encouraged to do this as soon as possible.
License vendors CANNOT make this change
at the point of sale and it cannot be done over the
phone. For questions, contact the local conservation
Resident means a natural person who meets
one of the following criteria.
1. Has physically resided in this state as the
person¡¦s principal and primary residence or domicile
for period of not less than 90 consecutive days
immediately before applying for or purchasing a
Hunting License Requirements
resident license and has an Iowa drivers license or
non operators ID. Factors to determine the domicile
include but are not limited to place of employment,
mailing (street) address, utility records, real
estate records, vehicle registrations, and addresses
listed on the state and federal income tax records.
A person is not considered a resident under this
paragraph if the person is residing in the state only
for a special or temporary purpose including but
not limited to engaging in hunting, fishing or trapping.
2. Is a full-time student at an accredited educational
institution in Iowa and reside in Iowa while
attending the educational institution, or are a fulltime
student under 25 years of age at an accredited
educational institution outside the state as long as
at least one parent or legal guardian maintains a
principal and primary residence in Iowa.
3. Is a student who qualifies as a resident pursuant
to the above paragraph only for the purpose of
purchasing any resident license specified in sec.
483A.1 or 484A.2
4. Is a nonresident under 18 years of age with a
parent who is a legal resident of Iowa.
5. Is a member of the armed forces of the
United States who is serving on active duty, claims
residency in this state, and has filed a state individual
income tax return for the preceding year, or
is stationed in this state.
Dual Residency Not Permitted: Unless you
qualify under 2, 3, 4 or 5 in the previous paragraph,
a person shall not purchase or apply for
any resident license or permit if that person has
claimed residency in any other state or country.
An Iowa resident Hunting License will be
invalid if you:
a) Obtain the license under false pretenses. Providing
false information on a deer or wild turkey
hunting license invalidates that license and transportation
tag and all other deer or turkey licenses/
tags obtained during the same year.
b) Do anything that would forfeit your eligibility
for a resident license after the license is
obtained, such as moving out of Iowa or purchasing
a resident hunting privilege in another state or
Licenses, Fees and Stamps Required
Iowa residents 16 years and older, and nonresidents
regardless of age, are required to have a valid Hunting
License on their person, and have paid all applicable
fees and possess all required stamps while hunting.
Wildlife Habitat Fee - Iowa residents who are 16
to 64 years old, and nonresidents regardless of age,
who are required to have a Hunting or Furharvester
License must pay the Wildlife Habitat Fee to hunt
or trap. Residents that have special licenses for the
disabled are exempt. See Iowa Code 483A.3, 483A.8C
and 483A.4.
Iowa Migratory Game Bird Fee - All residents
and nonresidents 16 years and older must pay the
Iowa Migratory Game Bird Fee to hunt wild geese,
brant, ducks, snipe, rail, woodcock, gallinule or coot.
The fee must be paid even if a Hunting License is not
Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp - All
residents and nonresidents 16 years old and older
must have a valid Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp
(duck stamp) on their person while hunting wild geese
and wild ducks. The Stamp must be signed across the
face by the hunter. The Stamp is required even if a
Hunting License is not required.
Deer and Turkey Hunters - Residents and
nonresidents who hunt deer or wild turkey must have
a valid resident or nonresident Deer or Wild Turkey
Hunting License on their person while hunting.
Residents must also have a valid resident Hunting
License and have paid the Habitat Fee if normally
required to have them to hunt. All nonresidents must
have a valid nonresident Hunting License and have
paid the Habitat Fee. All deer hunters must also pay
a $1 Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) fee for each deer
license obtained.
Furharvesters - All residents and nonresidents
regardless of age must have a Furharvester License to
trap or hunt furbearing animals. Residents 16 to 64
years old and all nonresidents regardless of age must
also have paid the Habitat Fee. A Hunting License is
not needed to hunt furbearers. Coyote and groundhog
may be hunted with either a Furharvester License or a
Hunting License. Nonresident furharvesters wanting
to purchase an Iowa non-resident Furharvester License
may do so only if their state of residence also sells a
non-resident Furharvester/Trapping License to Iowa
Hunting License Requirements
Nonresident Falconry Permit - All
nonresident falconers, regardless of age, who
intend to hunt with a bird of prey must purchase
and have in their possession a nonresident
Falconry Permit, a nonresident Hunting License,
and have paid the Habitat Fee. These permits are
available wherever hunting licenses are sold or
may be purchased online at
Call 515-281-5918 for details.
All Participants Must be Licensed - All
participants in a hunt must be properly licensed
and have paid the appropriate fees. It is up to the
discretion of the conservation officer to determine
whether or not a person is ¡§participating.¡¨
Participation includes, but is not limited to,
handling firearms or ammunition during the hunt,
trying to attract game, driving, flushing, or locating
game, and working dogs.
The following persons do not need a
Hunting License and/or pay certain fees:
1a) Residents under 16 years old who hunt
under the direct supervision of their properly
licensed parent, guardian, or other competent
adult with the consent of the parent or guardian do
not need a Hunting License or pay the Habitat or
Migratory Game Bird fee. One properly licensed
adult must accompany each unlicensed hunter
under 16 years old.
1b) Residents 12 to 15 years old may hunt
without adult supervision, but must have a Hunting
License and must have passed a hunter education
course (see p. 8 for hunter education training
requirements). Fees are not required.
Persons exempted under 1a) or 1b) must
have a Deer and Wild Turkey Hunting License
to hunt deer and wild turkey.
2) Military personnel that qualify as a
resident of Iowa, that are on active duty with
the armed forces of the United States, and are
on authorized leave from a duty station outside
of Iowa, do not need a Hunting License, Deer
License, Wild Turkey License, or pay the Habitat
Fee. They must possess a Federal Migratory
Waterfowl Stamp and pay the Iowa Migratory
Game Bird Fee to hunt migratory game birds.
They must carry their leave papers on their
person while hunting and a copy of their current
earnings statement showing a tax deduction for
Iowa income taxes for the previous year. They
may claim residency in lieu of their earnings
statement by being registered to vote in Iowa. If
a deer or wild turkey is taken, a conservation
officer must be contacted immediately to obtain
a transportation tag for the animal. They are
allowed only one turkey and one deer per calendar
year. Conservation officer cell phone numbers are
listed on p. 46.
3) Persons with a dog entered in a licensed
field trial may participate in the event and train
their dog on the same area where the field trial will
be held during the 24-hour period immediately
preceding the trial.
Hunting Licenses for Landowners and
Tenants that Farm Agricultural Land
1) Small game and furbearers. Resident
and nonresident owners and tenants that farm
agricultural land in Iowa and their juvenile
children do not need licenses to hunt and trap
on such lands and may shoot by lawful means
ground squirrels, gophers, and woodchucks
upon adjacent roads. Deer and Wild Turkey
Licenses are required to hunt deer and wild turkey.
Nonresidents hunting deer or wild turkey must
also have a Hunting License and pay the Habitat
Fee. A valid Federal Migratory Waterfowl Stamp
and an Iowa Migratory Game Bird Fee is required
to hunt waterfowl and other migratory game birds
if they are 16 years old or older.
2) Deer and Wild Turkey. Iowa residents
who are owners of agricultural land or tenants
that farm agricultural land, or are a spouse or
child of the owner or tenant that reside with the
owner or tenant, are eligible for reduced-fee deer
and wild turkey hunting licenses, commonly
called landowner-tenant licenses. Owning land
in Iowa does not confer residency. Nonresident
landowners and tenants are not eligible for these
licenses. See p. 8 for residency requirements.
Landowner-Tenant deer and turkey licenses
are valid for taking the appropriate species, but
only on the farm unit of the owner or tenant.
Registration is required; see p. 12 for details. The
Hunting License Requirements
qualifying landowner or tenant does not have to
reside on the farm, but must qualify under the
following definitions:
¡§Farm unit¡¨ means all parcels of land that are
in tracts of two [2] or more contiguous acres that
are operated as a unit for agricultural purposes
and are under the lawful control of the landowner
or tenant. Parcels of land in a farm unit need
not be contiguous, but all will be considered part
of a single farm unit regardless of how those
parcels are subdivided for agricultural or business
purposes. An owner cannot receive a Landowner-
Tenant License on one parcel and a family
member receive a Landowner-Tenant License on
another, even if the parcels are separate business
¡§Owner¡¨ and ¡§Tenant¡¨ definitions
¡§Family member¡¨ means a resident of Iowa
who is the spouse or child of the owner or tenant
and who resides with the owner or tenant. The
child must be less than 18 years old, or may be
18 or 19 if still in high school or participating in a
general equivalency degree program.
¡§Owner¡¨ means an owner of a farm unit who is
a resident of Iowa and who is one of the following:
A. Is the sole operator of the farm unit.
B. Makes all farm operating decisions but contracts
for custom farming or hires labor for all or part
of the work on the farm unit.
C. Participates annually in farm operation decisions
or cropping practices on specific fields of the
farm unit that are rented to a tenant.
D. Raises specialty crops on the farm unit including,
but not limited to, orchards, nurseries or trees
that do not always produce annual income but require
annual operating decisions about maintenance
or improvement.
E. Has all or part of the farm unit enrolled in a
long-term agricultural land retirement program of the
federal government.
F. Rents the entire farm to an adult child who
operates the farm.
G. An owner DOES NOT mean a person who
owns a farm unit and who employs a farm manager
or third party to operate the farm unit, or a person
who owns a farm unit and who rents the entire farm
to a tenant who is responsible for all farm operations
(unless the renter is the owner¡¦s child).
¡§Tenant¡¨ means a person who is a resident of Iowa
and who rents and actively farms agricultural land
owned by another person. A member of the owner¡¦s
family may qualify as a tenant. Rental includes cash
rent and share crop arrangements. A person who
works on a farm for a wage and is not a family member
does not qualify as a tenant.
Common Landowner/Tenant Scenarios
The following examples illustrate the most
common scenarios involving Iowa landowners and
tenants and who is eligible for Landowner-Tenant
licenses. However, each case must be decided on its
own merits.
ƒÞ A husband and wife own land jointly (both
names are on the deed).
ƒÞ The husband is listed as the owner; the wife
and/or minor children actively participate in the
farm operation but are not tenants as previously
ƒÞ The husband is sole owner of part of the
farm unit and the wife is sole owner of another
part, but all the land is farmed together as a unit.
In all three cases, one member of the landowner
family may get one Any-deer License. The Antlerless-
only licenses for which the family may be
eligible may be divided among eligible family members
any way they choose.
ƒÞ One spouse owns a parcel of land away
from the farm unit that they farm. The spouse¡¦s
parcel is farmed by another individual and the
spouse is not actively engaged in farming it.
No Landowner-Tenant License may be granted
for the separate parcel since neither spouse qualifies
under the definitions listed above. Only the tenant of
that parcel may have a Landowner-Tenant License.
ƒÞ The owner cash-rents the entire farm to a
tenant who is not the owner¡¦s child.
Only the tenant may have a Landowner-Tenant
ƒÞ A parent owns the land and an adult child
farms it.
Both may qualify if the child pays rent (the parent
as landowner, and the child as tenant). Only the
child qualifies if there is a formal purchase agreement
between the two.
ƒÞ A tenant rents farm land from several owners.
Hunting License Requirements
The tenant or a qualifying member of the
tenant¡¦s family may have one Any-deer License.
The Antlerless-only Licenses for which the tenant
family may be eligible may be divided among the
tenant family in any way they choose. All licenses
will be valid on all the land the tenant rents.
ƒÞ Farm laborer.
A farm laborer who is not an eligible member
of the landowner or tenant¡¦s family and who works
for wages or other compensation is not entitled to
a Landowner-Tenant License.
Landowners and Tenants Must Register
Before Obtaining Free and Reduced-fee Deer
and Turkey Licenses
1) Landowners and tenants of qualifying agricultural
land that are eligible to obtain free or
reduced-fee deer or wild turkey hunting licenses
and their eligible family members must register
with the DNR prior to obtaining these licenses.
The ELSI system will not issue free or reducedfee
licenses to persons who are not registered. All
landowner-tenant registrations will be reviewed by
DNR staff. Registrations found to contain false or
¡§Physically handicapped person,¡¨ when used
in reference to crossbow permits for deer and turkey
hunting, means a person having a physical impairment
of the upper extremities that makes a person
physically incapable of shooting a bow and arrow.
This includes difficulty in lifting and reaching with
arms as well as difficulty in handling and fingering
a bow.
¡§Physically handicapped person,¡¨ when used
in the Game Management Area Restrictions section
(see p. 16), or ¡§non-ambulatory person¡¨ when used
in the Non-Ambulatory Deer License section (see p.
27) means an individual commonly termed paraplegic
or quadriplegic, with paralysis or a physical condition
of the lower half of the body involving both
legs, usually due to disease or injury to the spinal
cord; a person who is a single or double leg amputee;
or a person with any other physical affliction
which makes it impossible to ambulate successfully
without the use of a motor vehicle.
Please read the definitions of these terms, commonly
used in the hunting regulations summary,
before referring to the rest of the text.
¡§Hunting¡¨ means any pursuing, hunting, killing,
trapping, snaring, netting, searching for or
shooting at, stalking or lying in wait for any game,
animal, bird or fish protected by the state laws or
rules adopted by the commission whether or not
such animal is captured, killed or injured.
¡§Limits¡¨ Daily Bag Limit or Possession Limit
is the number of a species permitted to be taken or
held in a specified time.
¡§Motor vehicle¡¨ means any self-propelled vehicle
having at least three wheels and which must
be registered as a motor vehicle, including ATVs
and snowmobiles.
¡§Paraplegic¡¨ means an individual afflicted
with paralysis of the lower half of the body with
the involvement of both legs, usually due to disease
of or injury to the spinal cord.
General Hunting Regulations
incomplete information will be inactivated. Persons
who provided information proved to be false could
result in conviction and loss of hunting privileges.
See p. 10 for eligibility requirements.
2) Registering once will establish eligibility for
all free and reduced-fee deer and turkey licenses. If
the ownership - renter situation changes, individuals
must contact the DNR to update their registration.
3) Landowners, tenants and their eligible family
members must have an ELSI customer record,
(purchased at least one license of any type through
ELSI) prior to registering.
Persons with an existing ELSI customer record
may register on-line at or by mail.
Instructions and forms can be obtained on-line at, at DNR offices, at ELSI vendors
or by calling 515-281-5918.
Free and reduced-fee licenses are valid only on
the farm unit of the landowner or tenant. Hunters
that obtain these licenses may also obtain any paid
licenses available to other hunters.
Showing License to Officer
Upon request, you must show your license, certificate
or permit to any peace officer or the owner
or person in lawful control of the land or water on
which you are hunting or trapping. You must have
your license, certificate or permit in your possession.
Use of CB, Mobile Transmitter or Phone
You cannot use a two-way mobile radio transmitter
to communicate the location or direction of
game or furbearing animals, or to coordinate the
movement of other hunters. (See the definitions
of one-and two-way mobile radio transmitters in
previous column.)
Exceptions: Coyote hunters may use two-way
transmitters, except during the two regular gun
(shotgun) deer seasons. A falconer may use a oneway
mobile transmitter to recover a free-flying bird
of prey that is properly banded and covered on a
falconry permit. Hunters with dogs may use a oneway
mobile transmitter to track or aid in the recovery
of the dog.
Laser Sights are Prohibited
You cannot use laser sights that cast a ray of
light on the animal while hunting. (See the exception
under the hunting by artificial light section on
p. 15.)
Unlawful Transportation
You cannot ship, carry or transport, in any one
day, game, fish, birds or animals (except furbearing
animals) in excess of the number legally permitted
to be possessed, unless authorized by a special
license such as a Taxidermy License.
Game Brought into the State
You may possess game that has been lawfully
taken outside the state and lawfully brought into the
state, but you must be able to prove it was legally
killed and legally transported into the state. See p.
42 for big game exceptions.
Retrieval and Waste of Game
While taking or attempting to take game or
furbearing animals, you cannot abandon the injured
animal without making a reasonable effort to
retrieve it from the field. You cannot leave a usable
portion of the game or furbearing animal in the
¡§Severely disabled person,¡¨ when used in reference
to the Disabled Hunter deer season, means
a person that qualifies as severely disabled under
Iowa Code Chapter 321L.1.8, including those who
have difficulty walking due to lung or heart disease
or an arthritic, neurological or orthopedic condition.
¡§One-way mobile radio transmitter¡¨ means
a radio capable of transmitting a signal but not
capable of transmitting a voice signal. The signal
may be tracked or located by radio telemetry or
located by an audible sound.
¡§Two-way radio transmitter¡¨ means a radio
capable of transmitting and receiving voice messages,
including, but not limited to, a citizen band
radio or a cellular telephone. Two-way radio transmitters
would also include walkie-talkies or hand
held radios.
¡§Trespass¡¨ means entering property without
the express permission of the owner, lessee or person
in lawful possession, with the intent to commit
a public offense; to use, remove therefrom, alter,
damage, harass, or place anything animate or inanimate,
or to hunt, fish or trap on the property. The
term trespass does not mean entering the right-ofway
of a public road or highway. Railroad right-ofways
are considered private property.
This paragraph does not prohibit the unarmed
pursuit of game or furbearing animals lawfully
injured or killed which come to rest on or escape to
the property of another.
Hunting Accidents Must be Reported
Anyone involved in a hunting accident involving
a firearm which results in a personal injury or
property damage exceeding $100 must report the
accident within 12 hours to the sheriff¡¦s office in the
county where the accident occurred or to the local
conservation officer. If the conservation officer is
not immediately available, and it is between normal
office hours of 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. M-F, report the
incident to the law enforcement bureau of the DNR
at the central office in Des Moines at 515-281-5918.
Anyone who intentionally discharges a firearm
in a reckless manner is committing an offense,
ranging from a simple misdemeanor to a felony,
depending on the seriousness of the personal injury
or damage to property.
General Hunting Regulations
field. ¡§Usable portion¡¨ in this instance means the
following: 1) for game, that part of an animal that is
customarily processed for consumption; and 2) for
furbearing animals, the fur or hide of the animal.
Possession and Storage of Game and Hides
You cannot possess game or furbearing animals
or their pelts, except deer venison, for more than
30 days after the close of the season for that species.
A person in lawful possession of deer venison
taken with a valid license, may hold the venison
until the following September 1. From September
1 until the first day of the next deer open season
for which the person holds a valid deer hunting
license, the person shall not possess more than 25
pounds of deer venison. Any person may possess
up to 25 pounds of deer venison if the deer was
lawfully obtained.
A permit to hold for a longer period may be
granted by the DNR. The permit application will
be verified in person and show the number and
varieties of the skins or hides you may hold. The
permit will authorize the holder to sell or otherwise
dispose of such skins or hides.
Obstruction of Hunting or Trapping
No one may intentionally obstruct the participation
of another in the lawful activity of hunting or
trapping, including but not limited to:
A) intentionally placing oneself in a location
where human presence may affect the behavior
of a furbearing animal, game bird or other game
or the feasibilty of killing or taking a furbearing
animal, game bird or other game with the intent of
obstructing or harassing another person who is lawfully
hunting or trapping.
B) intentionally creating a visual, aural, olfactory
or physical stimulus for the purpose of affecting the
behavior of a furbearing animal, game bird or other
game with the intent of obstructing or harassing
another person who is lawfully hunting or trapping.
C) intentionally affecting the condition or altering
the placement of personal property used for the
purpose of taking furbearing animals, birds or other
game with the intent of obstructing or harassing
another person who is lawfully hunting or trapping.
A person shall not interfere with the lawful hunting
or trapping activities of another person where
hunting or trapping is authorized by a custodian of
public property or an owner or lessee of private property.
This rule does not prohibit a landowner, tenant
or an employee of the landowner or tenant from
performing normal agricultural operations or a law
enforcement officer from performing official duties.
A blind is a constructed place of concealment for
hunting, observing or photographing wildlife. You
may construct a blind on a game management area
using only the natural vegetation found in the area,
except that no trees or parts of trees other than willows
can be cut for that purpose. The use of such
blinds is on a first-come, first-served basis whether or
not you constructed the blind.
You cannot drive or otherwise place any nail,
spike, pin or any other object, metal or otherwise,
into any tree on a game management area to construct
a blind or to make access to a blind or to a
hunting location above the ground.
Portable blinds placed in trees and used for purposes
other than hunting waterfowl may be left on
an area for a continuous period of time from seven
days prior to the open season for hunting deer or wild
turkey to seven days after the final day of the respective
seasons. See p. 23 for deer blinds.
Live animals may not be used as decoys for any
type of hunting. A ¡§decoy¡¨ is a likeness of a bird or
animal used to lure game within shooting range.
Selling Game
Except as otherwise provided, you cannot buy or
sell, dead or alive, a bird or animal, including fish, or
any part of one which is protected. This does not apply
to furbearing animals and the skins, plumage and
antlers of legally taken game. You cannot purchase,
sell, barter or offer to purchase, sell or barter migratory
game birds; and for millinery or ornamental use,
the same applies to the feathers of migratory game
Unlawful Sale
You cannot buy or sell any wild animal or part of a
wild animal if the wild animal was unlawfully taken,
transported or possessed.
General Hunting Regulations
Transporting Firearms
A person, except as permitted by law, shall not
have or carry a gun in or on a vehicle on a public
highway, unless the gun is taken down or totally
contained in a securely fastened case, and its barrels
and attached magazines are unloaded. Handguns
must be transported unloaded in a closed
container or securely wrapped package too large to
conceal on your person or which is not readily accessible
to any person in the vehicle. Muzzleloaders
must be cased but will be considered unloaded
if the cap is removed from the nipple or the priming
charge is removed from the pan.
Prohibited Hunting Near Buildings
Although you can hunt in a road ditch in Iowa
using a shotgun shooting shot, you cannot discharge
a firearm or shoot or attempt to shoot a
game or furbearing animal within 200 yards of a
building inhabited by people or domestic livestock
or a feedlot unless the owner or tenant has given
consent to do so. Feedlot means a lot, yard or corral
where livestock is confined for the purpose of
feeding and growth prior to slaughter. Pastures,
hayfields or cropfields where animals are allowed
to graze are not considered feedlots.
Protection of Public Hunting Areas
If a public hunting area was in place prior to
the construction of an adjacent feedlot or building
inhabited by people or livestock and such
construction occurred on or after May 14, 2004,
then consent is not required to shoot on the public
hunting area or within 200 yards of the feedlot or
building. This act protects existing uses of public
hunting areas from infringements caused by new
construction and development.
As used in this subsection, ¡§public hunting
area¡¨ means public lands or waters available for
hunting by the public and identified as a public
hunting area by the city, county, state or federal
Hunting by Artificial Light
Sights that project a light beam, including laser
sights, are not legal for hunting. You cannot cast
the rays of a spotlight, headlight or other artificial
light on a highway or in a field, woodland or forest
for the purpose of spotting, locating, taking or
attempting to take or hunt a bird or animal, while
having in possession or control, either singly or as
one of a group of persons, any firearm, bow or other
device capable of killing or taking a bird or animal.
This rule does not apply to hunting raccoons or
other furbearing animals when they are treed with
the aid of dogs.
This rule also does not apply to deer being taken
by or under the control of a local government body
within its corporate limits pursuant to an approved
special deer population control plan.
Shooting Rifle Over Water or Highway
You cannot shoot any rifle on or over any of the
public highways or waters of the state or any railroad
right-of-way. You cannot discharge a shotgun
shooting a slug, pistol or revolver on or over a public
roadway (see diagram below).
Additionally, no person shall discharge a rifle, including
a muzzleloading rifle or musket, or a handgun
from a highway; or discharge a shotgun shooting slugs
from a highway north of U.S. Highway 30, while deer
¡§Roadway¡¨ means the portion of the highway
improved, designed or ordinarily used for vehicular
travel, including the shoulder.
¡§Highway¡¨ means the entire width between
property lines, from fenceline to fenceline (includes
the ditches).
Hunting from Aircraft or Snowmobiles
A person shall not intentionally kill or wound, attempt
to kill or wound, or pursue any animal, fowl,
or fish from or with an aircraft in flight or from or
with any vehicles commonly known as snowmobiles.
Private Property
Private Property
Highway or
shoulder) {
General Hunting Regulations
Restrictions on Game Management Areas
The use of motor vehicles on all game management
areas is restricted.
Roads and parking lots. Motor vehicles are
prohibited on a game management area except on
constructed and designated roads and parking lots
unless specifically permitted.
Physically handicapped persons. Physically
handicapped persons may use certain motor vehicles
on game management areas, according to the
restrictions set out as follows, so that they might
enjoy such uses as are available to others. (See
definitions of ¡§Motor Vehicle¡¨ and ¡§Physically
handicapped person¡¨ on p. 12.)
¡§Permits.¡¨ Each physically disabled person
must have a permit issued by the director of the
DNR to use motor vehicles on game management
areas. Such permits will be issued without charge.
An applicant must submit a certificate from their
doctor stating he or she meets the criteria for physically
disabled persons. Permit applications are
available online at or by
visiting the regional or district offices on p. 45, or
by calling the DNR at 515-281-5918.
¡§Approved Areas.¡¨ A permit holder must annually
contact the technician or wildlife biologist of
the specific area(s) the permit holder wishes to use.
General Hunting Regulations
The technician or wildlife biologist will determine
which areas or portions of areas will not be open
to use by permittees to protect the permittee from
hazards or to protect certain natural resources of the
area. The technician or wildlife biologist will assist
by arranging access to the area and by designating
specific sites on the area where the motor vehicle
may be used, and where it may not be used. The
technician or wildlife biologist will provide a map of
the area showing the sites where use is permitted and
bearing the technician¡¦s or wildlife biologist¡¦s signature
and the date. Non-handicapped companions of
permit holders are not covered under the conditions
of the permit.
¡§Exclusive use.¡¨ The issuance of a permit does
not imply that the permittee has exclusive use of the
area. Permittees shall take reasonable care so as not
to unduly interfere with the use of the area by others.
¡§Prohibited acts.¡¨ Except as provided, the use of
a motor vehicle on any game management area by
a person without a valid permit, or at any site not
approved on a signed map, is prohibited. Permits
and maps must be carried by the permittee at all
times that the permittee is using a motor vehicle on
a game management area, and must be exhibited to
any DNR employee or law enforcement official upon
Benton County, Iowa River Corridor; Boone
County, Harrier Marsh WMA; Buena Vista
County, all state and federal areas; Calhoun
County, South Twin Lake, Cerro Gordo County,
all state and federal areas; Clay County, all state
and federal areas except the Ocheyedan WMA
target shooting range; Dickinson County, all state
and federal areas except the Spring Run WMA
target shooting area; Emmet County, all state
and federal areas; Franklin County, all state and
federal areas; Greene County, all state and federal
areas except Rippey Access and McMahon Access;
Guthrie County, McCord Pond, Lakin Slough and
Bays Branch WMAs, excluding the target shooting
range at Bays Branch WMA.
Also, Hamilton County, Little Wall Lake, Gordon
Marsh and Bauer Slough WMAs; Hancock
County, all state and federal areas; Humboldt
County, all state and federal areas; Iowa County,
Iowa River Corridor, Jasper County, Chichaqua
Wildlife Management Area; Kossuth County, all
state and federal areas; Osceola County, all state
and federal areas; Palo Alto County, all state and
federal areas; Pocahontas County; all state and
federal areas except Kalsow Prairie; Polk County,
Paul Errington Marsh WMA and Chichaqua
WMAs; Sac County, all state and federal areas
except White Horse Access and Sac City Access;
Story County, Colo Bog and Hendrickson Marsh;
Tama County, Iowa River Corridor; Winnebago
County, all state and federal areas; Worth
County, all state and federal areas; and Wright
County, all state and federal areas.
Target shooting on these areas will also require the
use of nontoxic shot.
Iowa Wildlife Management Areas Requiring Nontoxic Shot for ALL Hunting
[excluding deer and wild turkey]
General Hunting Regulations
The DNR has designated portions of some wildlife management areas as ¡§wildlife refuges¡¨ or ¡§waterfowl
refuges.¡¨ The areas and the restrictions that apply to them are described below. In addition,
portions of some wildlife areas may be posted as ¡§restricted areas.¡¨ It is unlawful to trespass in any
manner within the posted boundaries of restricted areas, except department personnel and law enforcement
officials may enter these areas at any time in performance of their duties.
Wildlife Refuges
Restrictions: The following areas under the jurisdiction of the DNR are established as wildlife refuges
where posted. It shall be unlawful to hunt, pursue, kill, trap, or take any wild animal, bird, or game on
these areas at any time, and no one shall carry firearms thereon, except where and when specifically
authorized by the DNR. It shall also be unlawful to trespass in any manner on the following areas, where
posted, during the dates posted, both dates inclusive, except that DNR personnel and law enforcement
officials may enter the area at any time in performance of their duties, and hunters, under the supervision
of department staff, may enter when specifically authorized by the DNR.
Waterfowl Refuges
Restrictions. The following areas under the jurisdiction of the DNR are established as waterfowl refuges.
It shall be unlawful to hunt ducks and geese on the following areas, where posted, at any time during
the year. It shall be unlawful to trespass in any manner on the following areas, where posted, during the
dates posted, both dates inclusive, except that DNR personnel and law enforcement officials may enter
the area at any time in performance of their duties, and hunters, under the supervision of department
staff, may enter when specifically authorized by the DNR.
Area County
South Twin Lake Calhoun
Allen Green Refuge Des Moines
Henderson Dickinson
Ingham Lake Emmet
Hawkeye Wildlife Area Johnson
Colyn Area Lucas
Area County
Gladys Black Eagle Refuge Marion
Five Island Lake Palo Alto
Polk City Refuge Polk
Smith Area Pottawattamie
Green Valley Lake Union
Area County
Lake Icaria Adams
Pool Slough Wildlife Area Allamakee
Rathbun Area Appanoose, Lucas,
Sedan Bottoms Appanoose
Sweet Marsh Bremer
Big Marsh Butler
Ventura Marsh Cerro Gordo
Round Lake Clay
Jemmerson Slough Complex Dickinson
Forney Lake Fremont
Riverton Area Fremont
Dunbar Slough Greene
Bays Branch Guthrie
Crystal Hills Hancock
Area County
Eagle Flats Hancock
Eagle Lake Hancock
Green Island Area Jackson
Muskrat Slough Jones
Red Rock Area Marion, Polk, Warren
Badger Lake Monona
Chichaqua Area Polk
McCausland Scott
Princeton Area Scott
Otter Creek Marsh Tama
Three Mile Lake Union
Lake Sugema Van Buren
Rice Lake Area Winnebago
Snyder Bend Lake Woodbury
Elk Creek Marsh Worth
Iowa Refuges
Liquidated Damages
In addition to penalties assessed by the court, a person
who is convicted of unlawfully selling, taking, catching,
killing, injuring, destroying or having in their possession
any animal, shall reimburse the state for the value of the
animal as follows:
1. For each antlered deer, reimbursement shall be based on
the score of the antlered deer as measured by the Boone and
Crockett club¡¦s scoring system for whitetail deer as follows:
(a) 150 gross inches or less....................... $2,000 to $5,000
and 80 hours of community service or, in lieu of the
community service, a minimum of $4,000 and not more
than $10,000, in an amount that is deemed reasonable by
the court.
(b) More than 150 gross inches.............. $5,000 to $10,000
and 80 hours of community service or, in lieu of the
community service, a minimum of $10,000 and not more
than $20,000, in an amount that is deemed reasonable by
the court.
2. For each deer ....................................................... $1,500
3. For each bobcat, wild turkey, beaver, mink, otter,
red fox, gray fox or raccoon ................................... $200
4. For each animal or bird or the raw pelt or plumage of
such animal or bird for which damages are not otherwise
prescribed.................................................................. $50
5. For each reptile, mussel or amphibian...................... $15
6. For each animal classified by the Natural Resource
Commission as an endangered or threatened species .....
..................................................................... $1,000
7. For each wild elk, antelope, buffalo or moose ..... $2,500
8. For each swan or crane......................................... $1,500
9. For each conviction of unlawfully harvesting ginseng,
the state will be reimbursed 150 percent of the
ginseng¡¦s market value as determined by the department.
Wildlife Violator Compact is an agreement between participating states that prohibits a person whose
hunting or fishing privileges are suspended in one state from participating in those activities in another state
(see Iowa Courts Online). Member states include Iowa, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida,
Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi,
Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma,
Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Other states may be in the process of joining the compact.
Multiple Offender Program for Fish and
Wildlife Violators
Convictions are assigned point values as determined
by the Iowa Administrative Code. Licenses
will be suspended or revoked for a specific period
as determined by the number of points accumulated.
Point values range from one to three points
depending on the seriousness of the violation.
A ¡§Multiple Offender¡¨ is any person who has
equaled or exceeded five points during a consecutive
three year period. This program applies even if
all violations occur as a single event with no previous
This program is administered by the DNR and
is in addition to any penalties or revocations/suspensions
imposed by the court for the same violation.
Persons with suspended or revoked hunting
and fishing privileges will not be allowed to purchase
licenses during the suspension period.
Fines and Damages
Poaching is A Crime!
If you observe or know
of a fish or wildlife violation,
report it to TIP as
soon as possible by
calling 1-800-532-2020.
Provide as much information
as possible when
you call, such as a description of the possible
violator, the vehicle and the time and location
of the violation.
A conservation officer will be dispatched to
investigate. Since the TIP program began in
1985, about $200,000 has been approved in
reward payments.
Turn In Poachers
or online at
You can remain anonymous!
Upland Game Hunting Information
General Hunting Regulations that may also
apply to upland game hunters:
See ¡§General Hunting Regulations¡¨ p. 12.
Resident and Nonresident License Requirements
and Fees
See p. 4 and 9.
Upland Game
Upland game includes pheasant, quail, gray partridge,
ruffed grouse, and cottontails.
Hunter Orange Required
To hunt upland game birds, including ruffed
grouse, you must wear at least one of the following
articles of visible, external apparel with at least
50 percent of its surface area solid blaze orange in
color: hat, cap, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, shirt or
Furbearer Hunting and Trapping Seasons,
Limits and Shooting Hours
See p. 5.
Furbearing Animals
The following are considered furbearing animals
and may be legally harvested: beaver, badger, bobcat,
mink, muskrat, raccoon, striped skunk, opossum,
weasel, coyote, groundhog (woodchuck), red
fox, gray fox and otter. Gray wolf is also a furbearer
but may not be trapped or hunted.
Furharvester License
Hunters and Trappers must have a furharvester
license and have paid the habitat fee (see p. 4) to
hunt all furbearers, except coyote and groundhog,
and to trap any furbearing animal. A hunting
license is not needed when hunting furbearers.
Coyote and groundhog may be hunted with a hunting
or furharvester license.
Permit to Hold Hides (see p. 13)
Hunting and Trapping Furbearing Animals
Transporting Pheasants
A foot, fully feathered wing, or fully feathered
head must remain attached to any pheasant transported
within the state. The bird may be field
dressed, but the carcass must remain intact.
Youth Pheasant Season
Resident hunters ages 15 or younger may hunt
rooster (male) pheasants during the Youth Pheasant
Season without having a Hunting License, paying
the Habitat Fee, or passing a hunter education
course. The youth hunter must be accompanied
by an adult 18 years old or older who has a valid
Hunting License and has paid the Habitat Fee if
normally required to do so to hunt. Only the youth
may shoot pheasants. The adult may shoot other
game if seasons are open. All other regulations in
effect for the regular pheasant season apply during
the youth hunt.
Disturbing Dens
You cannot molest or disturb, in any manner, any
den, lodge or house of a furbearing animal or beaver
dam except by written permission of an officer appointed
by the director of the DNR. You cannot use
any chemical, explosive, smoking device, mechanical
ferret, wire, tool, instrument or water to remove
furbearing animals from their dens.
Box Traps
A person shall not use or attempt to use colony traps
in taking, capturing, trapping or killing any game or
furbearing animals except muskrats as determined by
rule of the commission. Box traps capable of capturing
more than one game or furbearing animal at each
setting are prohibited. A valid hunting license is required
for box trapping cottontail rabbits and squirrels.
Removal of Animals from Traps and Snares
All animals or animal carcasses caught in any type
of trap or snare, except those that are placed entirely
under water and designed to drown the animal immediately,
must be removed from the trap or snare, by the
Upland Hunting, Trapping Furbearers
The Iowa DNR publishes its pheasant and small game population survey in early September online
trap or snare user, immediately upon discovery and
within 24 hours of the time the animal is caught.
For the purpose of law enforcement, snares are
considered to be traps.
No person shall set or maintain any snare in any
public road right-of-way so the snare, when fully
extended, can touch any fence. A snare set on private
land other than roadsides within 30 yards of
a pond, lake, creek, drainage ditch, stream or river
must have a loop size of 11 inches or less in horizontal
measurement. All other snares must have a
loop size of 8 inches or less in horizontal measurement,
except for snares with at least one-half of
the loop under water. Snares cannot be attached
to a drag. All snares must have a functional deer
lock which will not allow the snare loop to close
smaller than 2 1/2 inches.
Mechanical Snares
It is illegal to set any mechanically-powered
snare designed to capture an animal by the neck or
body unless the snare is placed completely under
Body-gripping and Conibear-type Traps
You cannot set or maintain any body-gripping or
conibear-type trap on any public road right-of-way
within 5 feet of any fence.
Humane traps, or traps designed to kill instantly,
with a jaw spread as originally manufactured that
exceeds 8 inches, are unlawful to use except when
placed entirely under water.
Public Roadside Limitations
Conibear-type traps and snares must not be set
on the right-of-way of a public road within 200
yards of the entry to a private drive serving a residence
without the permission of the occupant. You
cannot set or maintain any snare or conibear-type
trap within any public road right-of-way within
200 yards of buildings inhabited by humans unless
a resident of the dwelling adjacent to the public
road right-of-way has given permission, or unless
the body-gripping or conibear-type trap is completely
under water or at least one-half of the loop
of the snare is under water. This does not limit
the use of foothold traps or box-type live traps in
public road right-of-ways. A person may not place
a trap, stake or non-indigenous set making material
upon any public road right-of-way except during
a period of time that begins two weeks before the
trapping season opens and ends on the last day of
the season.
Foothold and Leghold Traps
You cannot set or maintain, on land, any foothold
or leghold trap with metal serrated jaws,
metal-toothed jaws or a spread inside the set jaws
greater than 7 inches.
Trap Tag Requirements
All traps and snares, whether set or not, possessed
by a person who can reasonably be presumed
to be trapping must have a metal tag
attached, plainly labeled with the user¡¦s name
and address. Officers appointed by the DNR can
confiscate such traps and snares when not properly
labeled or checked.
Exposed Bait
You cannot set or maintain any foothold or
body-gripping trap or snare within 20 feet of exposed
bait on land anywhere in the state, or over
water in the following areas:
a) Mississippi River corridor - Allamakee, Clayton,
Dubuque, Jackson, Clinton, Scott, Muscatine,
Louisa, Des Moines and Lee counties.
b) Missouri River corridor - Those portions of
Woodbury, Monona, Harrison, Pottawattamie,
Mills and Fremont counties west of Interstate 29.
c) Des Moines River corridor- Boone, Dallas,
Polk, Marion, Mahaska, Wapello and Van Buren
¡§Exposed bait¡¨ means meat or viscera of any
animal, bird, fish, amphibian or reptile with or
without skin, hide or feathers that is visible to
soaring birds.
Trapping Furbearers
Trapping on Game Management Areas Marking
Trap Sites
You cannot place on any game management
area any trap, stake, flag, marker or any other
item or device to trap furbearers, or to mark or
otherwise claim any site to trap furbearers, except
during the open season for taking furbearers other
than coyote.
Bobcat Hunting and Trapping
Hunters and Trappers must have a furharvester
license and pay the habitat fee to trap bobcats, if
normally required to have them to trap. A regular
hunting license will not be adequate.
The season is open in the following counties:
Adair, Adams, Appanoose, Cass, Clarke, Davis,
Decatur, Des Moines, Fremont, Guthrie, Harrison,
Henry, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lee, Louisa, Lucas,
Madison, Mahaska, Marion, Mills, Monona,
Monroe, Montgomery, Page, Pottawattamie, Ringgold,
Taylor, Union, Van Buren, Wapello, Warren,
Washington, Wayne and Woodbury.
The open zone quota is 350 bobcats, plus any
that are trapped up to midnight of the following
day after the quota is reached.
Season Limit: 1 bobcat per licensed furharvester,
regardless if it was hunted or trapped.
Trapping Furbearers
River Otter Trapping
Trappers must have a furharvester license and
pay the habitat fee to trap otter, if normally required
to have them to trap
The season is open statewide with a quota of 650
otters, plus any trapped in a 48 hour grace period.
Season Limit: 3 otters per licensed furharvester.
Reporting Requirements
Otter and Bobcat furharvesters must call
a Conservation Officer within 24 hours of
capturing an otter or harvesting a bobcat.
The DNR will post the quota remaining
daily on its website
and on a telephone hot-line 515-281-5918.
Once the quota is reached, trappers may
keep any otter or bobcat trapped prior to
midnight of the following day. Otters and
bobcats accidentally captured after that
grace period and bobcats accidentally captured
in an area of the state closed to bobcat
harvesting, must be turned over to DNR
without penalty. The website and hot-line
will be updated daily to tell trappers when
the season ends, when the grace period
ends, and when otters and bobcats must be
turned over to the DNR. Otter and bobcat
carcasses will be collected by DNR for study purposes.
Tagging Requirements
Anyone who takes a river otter or bobcat must
report the harvest to a DNR conservation officer or
designated DNR employee within 24 hours. The
fur harvester must arrange to receive a CITES tag
from the officer or DNR employee within 7 days of
the time the harvest is reported. The river otter or
bobcat shall be skinned and the carcass turned over
at the time the CITES tag is issued. If the specimen
is to be kept whole for taxidermy purposes a
cut shall be made by the trapper between the gum
line and eye so the CITES can be attached to the
skin. The taxidermist must turn the carcass over to
a conservation officer or DNR employee once that
animal has been skinned.
Have A Question?
Call the DNR office in Des Moines at 515-281-
5918, or a regional office on p. 45.
Bobcat Season Open in Shaded Counties Only

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