Iowa – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/12/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

Iowa

Is the information easy to find?

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources: Hunting page is at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

The Iowa DNR website has a lot of information, some of this information is easy to find, such as Public Hunting, some of it takes a few clicks and reading a PDF, such as seasons and license prices.  The information might be elsewhere on the website, but following a logical progression led to a PDF in both the ‘when’ and ‘how much’ portion of trying to plan a hunt.  The web site is slightly awkward to use, the layout is interesting, but the data could be organized into a much simpler format for ease of use. One of the issues with many web sites like this is ‘below the screen’ information.  The main page gives no real indication that scrolling down presents decent information on hunting seasons.  This information should either be at the top of the page, or there should be a link to forward the user down to that section.

Grade: B

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

Iowa does use a lottery system for nonresident hunting licenses, with ‘left over quota’ licenses available on a first-come-first-served bases starting July 28th at 6am.  The state also uses a preference point system, and states that purchasing a left over tag will ZERO OUT your preference points.  Iowa publishes a six page brochure on nonresident deer hunting, along with several other nonresident resource PDFs, all available on the nonresident hunting page.

Grade: C

 How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Resident hunting licenses cost $19.00, with a $13.00 habitat fee, and a $7.00 hunting preserve fee. Resident deer tags are $28.50 for any deer, $28.50 for the first antlerless tag, and $13.00 for additional antlerless tags.  Therefor a resident who hunts deer in Iowa, provided they need the hunting preserve tag, would pay $67.50 for a general hunting license and one deer tag.  Nonresident fees are $112.00 for a general hunting license, $13.00 for a habitat fee, $7.00 for a hunting preserve tag, and $426.00 for a two deer tag, one of the two deer have to be antlerless, for a total of $558.00.  There are some savings to be had if the hunter only wants to hunt antlerless deer, that tag is $228.00, which would drop the overall cost to $360.00.  Also, if the nonresident hunter wishes to hunt in the nonresident only holiday season, that tag is $78.00, which would drop the overall cost to $210.00, but again that is for an antlerless only tag. There are no short term licenses that I can find.

This fee system would be greatly simplified by rolling several of the options up into the general hunting tag, since every nonresident must have a habitat tag, and residents between 16 and 64 must have one.

Grade: C

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

There are several locations to find the hunting seasons on the Iowa DNR web site, however the easiest is by scrolling down on the main hunting page.  The list there is simple, with which type of season, the dates, and when the licenses are available laid out in an easy to read table.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Over 300,000 acres of land is available for public hunting in Iowa, and the web page the Iowa DNR uses to inform hunters about the program is nicely formatted.  Included on this page is the Iowa Habitat and Access Program, a system of working with private land owners to open up land for public hunting in return for habitat improvement help.  Also included is a link to a very good interactive map of Iowa for outdoor activities.  The software is interesting, however I believe Iowa would be better served by converting to a Bing or Google style map system.

Grade: B

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

The issues with planning a hunt in Iowa are: high cost of nonresident hunting tags and the lottery tag system.  The cost of nonresident hunting license and deer tags is helped by the additional antlerless tag, however $558.00 is still a lot of money.  There are cheaper options, but all of those options are for antlerless deer only.

Grade: B

Summary: Final Grade B

Iowa has an interesting web site, while the Department of Natural Resources does rely heavily on PDF files to relay information, making good use of the Deer Hunting and Nonresident Hunting pages and the links on both will provide most if not all of the information needed to plan a first time hunt.  The cost is a bit high compared to other states, and the lottery system would make planning the hunt a wait-and-see proposition, unless the hunter(s) are willing to immediately call the moment the lines open for leftover quota tags. Without historical data on the number of tags left over, and being able to compare that to the most desirable areas to hunt, that increases the complexity of planning an Iowa whitetail hunt.

States Completed: AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticutDelaware

FloridaGeorgiaHawaiiIdahoIllinois, Indiana

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