Quick and easy access to recreational privileges in Iowa, including hunting, fishing, and specialty licenses:
Purchase Your Licenses Online
Buy your Hunting and Fishing license online today! We offer multi-year packages and combos for whatever you need to stay licensed.
Support conservation in Iowa by buying a natural resource plate for your vehicle.
Make your online reservation for state park cabins, camping sites and lodges.
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Getting started hunting can be challenging and
intimidating. Don’t let this discourage
you. We can help you get started by
providing the information and resources you will need to enjoy hunting safely
and responsibly in the great Iowa Outdoors.
NEW Apprentice Hunting License
Interested in hunting but haven't had a chance
to take hunter education? Starting July 13, 2016 anyone 16 and older may
purchase an apprentice hunting license without first completing hunter
education. The apprentice hunter must be accompanied and aided while
hunting by a competent adult mentor who is properly licensed. In other
words, the mentor must maintain constant direction and control of the
apprentice hunter and stay within a distance from the apprentice hunter that enables
the mentor to give uninterrupted, unaided visual and auditory communications to
the apprentice hunter.
Get Your Apprentice License Online Here
Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that maintains the health and abundance of game species and the balance of our natural resources. Hunters play an important role in managing wildlife and it is their excise tax dollars paid through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and hunting licenses and fees that pay for the majority of wildlife management by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Pittman-Robertson creates a direct link between those that hunt and participate in the shooting sports and the resources needed to expand and enhance opportunities to hunt and shoot. Known as the North American model of wildlife conservation, this user pays public benefit model is extremely successful because sportsmen and women and the industries that serve them have always been willing to pay extra to enhance, expand and protect America’s hunting, shooting and conservation heritage.
Pittman Roberston Facts
Iowa law requires that anyone born after January 1, 1972 must be certified in hunter education before they are eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license. The minimum number of hours to complete the class is 10. Typically there is no charge for the course, unless lunch is furnished or room rental is required. Iowa recognizes hunter education certificates issued by another state and some foreign nations.
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 which becomes valid on that person's 12th birthday. Iowa residents under the age of 12 can be issued a deer or turkey license; however, a licensed adult hunter must accompany each youth hunter. If the certificate is lost, a replacement certificate may be obtained from any ELSI vendor during regular business hours for $4.50.
Classes are typically held from March 1 - November 15 each year. Our courses are taught by volunteer instructors who are hunters so there are very few classes that take place after November 15.
For more information on the types of hunter education options available or to search for an upcoming class visit: www.iowadnr.gov/huntered.
This license allows hunters age 16 and older to bypass the hunter education requirement for purchasing a hunting license while they hunt under the direct supervision of a licensed hunter. They may purchase the apprentice hunting license up to two times without having completed hunter education. Both the resident and nonresident licenses include the hunting and habitat fee.
Customer Fee to Purchase:
Resident License- $30.00
Nonresident License- $123.00
Purchase your apprentice hunting license here.
Other Requirements to be Aware of:
The Iowa DNR has created a hunting atlas for you to view public hunting locations across the state. It is an interactive map that shows ALL lands (Wildlife Management Areas, State Forests, County Conservation Board Management Areas, Army Corps of Engineers, Habitat and Access Program and some U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuges) open to public hunting in the state, totaling over 685,000 acres. The Hunting Atlas also gives basic information about those areas such as: acres, general habitat description, expected species and links to more information and maps, if available. It will also tell a user what hunting zones any area of the state falls into. Check it out to help you plan your next hunt!
Iowa Hunting Atlas
The Department offers several public shooting ranges across the state offer hunters a place to practice shooting safely and conveniently.
Iowa DNR Hunting Ranges
If you ask life-long hunters to describe their favorite outdoor adventure, you will find that they typically recall a family member or friend taking them hunting for the first time. This type of mentorship is very common among avid hunters, but unfortunately, the absence of this opportunity becomes a barrier for some. Conservation organizations, county conservation boards and the Iowa DNR have partnered to offer mentored hunts and learn to hunt programs for all ages. These hunts and programs are offered throughout the year at various locations across the state.
Click here to find an upcoming mentored or learn to hunt opportunity!
It’s always more exciting, and safer, to hunt with a friend. If you don’t know anyone else interested in hunting, look up your local conservation clubs, or contact us to speak to someone who can point you in the right direction. Club members are usually seasoned hunters with a passion for teaching new hunters.
Only certain species of animals can legally be hunted in Iowa and each species has a specified hunting season and regulations that accompany it. As a good hunter, it is important to know as much as possible about the species you are hunting before you go out.
Hunting Season Dates
Hunting Licenses and Laws
Deer Hunting in Iowa
Deer Hunting Fact Sheet
Migratory Game Birds
Hunting Migratory Game Birds
Mourning Doves Information
Mourning Dove Hunting Fact Sheet
Upland Game Hunting
Iowa’s Upland Game Hunting
Pheasant Hunting Fact Sheet
Cottontail Rabbit Hunting Fact Sheet
Squirrel Hunting Fact Sheet
Crow Hunting Fact Sheet
Turkey Hunting in Iowa
Turkey Hunting Fact Sheet
Trapping & Fur Harvesting
Trapping in Iowa
Check out these additional videos before you head to the field! Hunter Education Videos
Interested in hunting but want to learn a bit more? Check out our recommended reading list:
Call of the Mild: Learning to Hunt My Own Dinner, Lily Raff McCaulou
Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time, Georgia Pellegrini
The Mindful Carnivore: A Vegetarian's Hunt for Sustenance, Tovar Cerulli
The Beginner's Guide to Hunting Deer for Food, Jackson Landers
Gut It. Cut It. Cook It. The Deer Hunter's Guide to Processing & Preparing Venison, Eric Fromm & Al Cambronne
Hunting For Food: Guide to Harvesting, Field Dressing, and Cooking Wild Game, Jenny Nguyen & Rick Wheatley
Confessions of an Eco-Redneck, Steve Chapple
Last Stories of the Old Duck Hunters, Gordon MacQuarrie
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, Michael Pollan
Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv
Hunt S.A.F.E. to Prevent Firearm Incidents
Proper firearm storage is the number one way to prevent firearm incidents. With this in mind Iowa Department of Natural Resources is working with the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remind hunters that “The Hunt Isn’t Over Until You Are S.A.F.E.”
S.A.F.E. stands for Store firearms responsibly, Always practice firearm safety, Focus on your responsibilities as a firearm owner, and Education is key to preventing incidents. Project ChildSafe emphasizes safely securing firearms when they are not in use as the #1 way to prevent firearm incidents.
The hunting season is a time of year when a lot of firearms are in use and in transport, so we urge hunters to remember what they can do to prevent firearm incidents in the field, at the range, at home and everywhere in between.
To complement Iowa’s hunter education program and provide you with additional resources on proper firearm storage and safety, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, as part of its Project ChildSafe program, has made several resources available, which can be found on www.iowadnr.gov/learntohunt and www.projectchildsafe.com, including:
The idea is to help everyone hunt responsibly, return home safe, and securely store their unloaded firearms. Together we can help prevent firearm incidents.
Ten Rules of Safe Firearms Handling
For more basic firearms safety tips, visit: www.nssf.org/safety/basics