Deer Hunting in Iowa

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  • B
  • 350,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 340,000

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $70

    A resident hunting license is $22 and a deer permit is $33 (same price for bow, gun or muzzleloader). There is a $15 habitat fee.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $644 (plus preference points)

    A non-resident hunting license and habitat fee is $146 and an any-deer permit is $498. Preference points are $60.50.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • 202"

    Taken by David Brenigar in Wapello Co., IA in 1969.

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • 749

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 307 5/8"

    Taken by Tony Lovstuen in Monroe County in 2003. Ranks No. 4 of all time.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 542

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

A stud of a whitetail. (Photo courtesy of Adair)

Season Dates (2019):

Bow season opens October 1 and runs until December 6. It reopens from December 23 to January 10. Shotgun season is offered in two segments: December 7 to 11 and December 14 to 22. Muzzleloader season runs October 12 to 20. There's also a late muzzleloader season December 23 to January 10. Youth and disabled season is September 21 to October 6. These are the dates set when published, please check the state DNR's website to confirm.

The Grade: B

Eyebrows were raised when we gave Iowa a "B" the first time around. All were expecting an easy A. The same rationale that prevented Iowa from earning that coveted A rating the first time remains: Tags are crazy expensive for non-residents, a preference point alone costs you an arm and a leg, public land is hard to come by and it'll take you three or four years to draw a tag in many areas if you're a non-resident.

EHD took a significant toll on the herd in some areas a few years ago, but has rebounded fairly well. That said, the southern portion of the state has been hit once again. The state has received increased hunting presure and because of that you have a state that, while still great, isn't quite what it once was. Still better than just about everywhere else in terms of giant bucks? Yep.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

Iowa has one of the nation's best venison donation programs. The Help Us Stop Hunger program allows hunters to donate venison that is used to feed families in need throughout Iowa. One dollar from most deer licenses sold goes toward funding the HUSH program.

Iowa Harvests

  • Eric Hodina

    Brooklyn, Iowa

  • Eric Hodina

    Brooklyn, Iowa

From the Realtree Trophy Den