How To Go Public Hunting In Iowa

Iowa is a great place to hunt, so read on and learn about how to go public hunting in Iowa. With all those green fields, and with a commitment from the state and citizens to preserve Iowa's native prairie grasses, Iowa has a wide array of America's favorite game animals. Whether you pursue deer with a black powder rifle, dig wild turkeys, call geese or take your dogs out to point pheasants, Iowa's public hunting grounds will offer something for you.

To go public hunting in Iowa, you will need:

  • A hunter safety certificate
  • A hunting license
  • Hunting tags or stamps
  • Hunting gear
  • A weekend to hunt
  1. Hunter safety. Iowa requires anyone born after January 1, 1972, whether you are public hunting land owned by the state or you are hunting private land, to complete hunter safety training before you can purchase a hunting license. Anyone new to hunting, or anyone who has been away from firearms or hunting for many years, should complete the hunter safety class. Two options are now available: online workshops followed by a one-day workshop with a hunter safety instructor, or a full course on-site with an instructor.
  2. Hunting license. Purchasing an Iowa hunting license opens the door for you to hunt public land in the state of Iowa. The easiest way to get started is online at the Iowa Department of Natural Resources website. The type of license you need will depend on your residency status, the game you want to pursue and whether you are hunting migratory or native species.
  3. Hunting tags or stamps. Tags are required for animals such as deer and turkeys. Migratory bird hunters pay the habitat fee, migratory game bird fee and purchase the federal duck stamp. Whether you go public hunting or hunt private land, all hunters must acquire the right tags and stamps.
  4. Visit the Iowa DNR interactive online maps. The Department of Natural Resources in Iowa publishes maps of public hunting grounds in the state of Iowa. You can scout the area you want to hunt, view areas where hunting is prohibited, and see where large and small public hunting grounds are provided around the state.
  5. Check the specific requirements of the hunting area you choose. Public hunting grounds come with specific requirements in the state of Iowa, and the rules are based on sharing and appropriately using resources. Check out state regulations on how duck blinds can be constructed and when they must be removed from public hunting areas. Note that you may lose a lottery for a blind or may need to yield to other hunters that have claimed a blind you built if you do not arrive on time to the blind.
  6. Plan your hunt. As soon as you are aware of the rules by which you will need to play while working public hunting grounds, make your list. Be sure to bring everything you'll need: food, water, matches in a container, a cell phone and emergency kit in case you get stuck, your skinning knife, your hunting license and tags or stamps. A safe hunter is a prepared hunter.
  7. Hunt. There is nothing like the excitement of opening day, and there's no better way to enjoy it than public hunting.

The Department of Natural Resources in Iowa created public hunting grounds to preserve the natural environment and game animals for us to enjoy. Protecting this natural landscape falls largely on hunters as the fees associated with hunting go directly to preserving and protecting these public hunting grounds.


Iowa Department of Natural Resources

Iowa DNR Interactive Mapping

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