Iowa Deer Hunting

Iowa deer hunting history is a great example how fast things can go bad without good conservation efforts.  Within a hundred years from the time white settlers first came to Iowa, the deer population was so near being extinct that deer season was legally closed (1898).  It took another half a century for conservation efforts and natural migration to result in a deer herd that was healthy enough to hunt.  1953 was the first modern deer hunting season in the 20th century.

This is astounding given the fact that deer thrive in the state of Iowa.  The state is far enough south that winters are relatively easy to survive, and being a state known for its agriculture, the deer have plenty of standing corn and other crops to feed on.  In fact, crops are so abundant in Iowa that many folks estimate the land could support nearly 100 deer per square mile.  Obviously, this would be a severe economic burden on farmers.  If left unchecked, the deer herd would grow 20-40% per year in Iowa.  Thankfully there are plenty of deer hunters in Iowa who help maintain that delicate balance between overpopulation and overhunting.

Iowa Deer Hunting Facts

  • Iowa deer herd numbers approximately 200,000 after a full deer season of hunting.
  • Iowa does have very high rates of reproduction, with many having one fawn their first mating season, and two fawns a year after that.  A small percentage of Iowa does even have three fawns!
  • Largest typical buck taken in Iowa dates back to 1974, when Wayne Bills down a buck that scored a 201 4/8
  • Largest non-typical : 307 5/8

Popular Public Hunting Areas in Iowa

Currently there are 340 wildlife areas open to the public, totalling 270,000+ acres.  We’ve provided a link in our resources below that will allow a prospective hunter to get information on public hunting in any county in the state of Iowa. 

Iowa Private Hunting Areas
Do you own private hunting land or offer guided hunts in Iowa? Contact us about a listing in this section!

Other Resources

View public hunting areas by county at IA DNR

Iowa Hunting, Trapping and Fishing Regulations are also located at IA DNR