Deer Hunting in Iowa

Nonresident Application Process

When are applications being taken?
The application period for applying for deer tags is always the first Saturday in May through the first Sunday in June. For 2016, the dates are Saturday May 7th through Sunday June 5th. This is the same time that preference points are on sale for those who have decided not to apply for a deer tag.

How do I apply for a tag?
Call 800-367-1188 or online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site.

I don’t think I want to apply this year, how much are preference points and how do I apply for one?
Preference points are $50.00 and may be applied for or online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site or by calling 800-367-1188.

What do I need to purchase when I apply online?
When applying online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site you will need to purchase (in this order); your habitat stamp, hunting license and the deer tags for the zone and season that you would like to hunt.

What is the total cost to apply?
To hunt in Iowa, nonresidents need to purchase a hunting license ($112.00) and a nonresident habitat fee ($13.00). To hunt deer you will also need your tags, sold as an any-sex tag and antlerless tag combination ($426.00). The total for a deer hunting application will be $551.00 plus applicable fees. For turkey, you will need a hunting license, habitat fee and turkey tag ($102.00) for your season/zone of interest. The total for applying for a turkey tag will be $227.00 plus applicable fees.

Is the application cost the same for children under the age of 18?
The license requirements for nonresidents under the age of 18 include a nonresident under 18 hunting license ($32.00) and the nonresident habitat fee ($13.00). To hunt deer you will also need your tags, sold as a an any-sex tag and antlerless tag combination ($426.00). The total for a youth deer hunting application will be $471.00.00 plus applicable fees. For turkey, you will need a hunting license, habitat fee and turkey tag ($102.00) for your season/zone of interest. The total for applying for a youth turkey hunting application will be $147.00 plus applicable fees.

I’ve already purchased my hunting and habitat fee for the year. Will I have to purchase these again in order to apply for a deer or turkey tag?
You will not have to purchase you hunting license and habitat fee again; the system will allow a sale of just a deer tag in these cases.

I’m disabled; do I get a free license?
We do not have any options for free licenses or tags for nonresident hunters. Nonresident disabled hunters can obtain a tag for the disabled deer season by completing the application to acquire an Iowa nonresident severely disabled hunting license. This is valid for the disabled deer season only. We do not have a disabled season for Spring turkey.

Do I have to have hunter safety at the time of application?
If you are applying for tags you will need to purchase a hunting license and habitat fee. In order to obtain the hunting license you will need to have hunter safety certification on file. To add your hunter safety certification to your account, please call 800-367-1188.

Are children under the age of 16 required to have hunter safety?
All nonresidents born after January 1, 1972 are required to have hunter safety certification.

May I apply for more than one season or zone?
No, you can only choose one season and one zone.

How do I apply in a group?
To apply as a group, you will have to choose a group leader. The group leader will either apply online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site or call in FIRST to make his/her application. Once he/she has applied, the rest of the group members may apply, providing the group leader's DNR number (each person will have to know this number) at time of application.

If we apply as a group with someone who has lesser points, what happens?
The group preference point status will be the same as the person in the group with the fewest amount of points on his/her record. For example, John has two preference points, Bill has one and you have three. As a group you would go into the draw with one preference point.

How and when will I be notified if I am successful in the draw?
Draw results will be posted by mid-July (deer) or the beginning of February (turkey). If you sign up for our informational emails, you will be emailed the minute the results are posted. To subscribe, send a blank E-mail to: join-nrhunting@lists.ia.gov. Once results are posted you can log in to your online account via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site. Once logged in, choose ‘View Application Status’ on the right hand side of the page.

If I’m successful, when will I get my license?
Successful applicants for the deer drawing will receive their licenses in August. Turkey tags are filled in the month of March. All tags are mailed to the address listed on your account, so be sure to double check your address listed online.

If I am not successful in the draw, do I get a refund?
You will get a refund 6-8 weeks after the draw results are posted. Your refund will not be credited to your credit card. All refunds will be issued in the form of a check and mailed to the address on your account. The check will be a refund of everything except the cost of the preference point ($50.00) and any convenience fees.

When can I purchase/apply for a preference point?
The time for purchasing preference points is the same as the application period. You cannot purchase points before or after this time and you can only purchase one per year.

How do I find out how many preference points I have?
You can find the information by logging into your account online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site. To log in to your account, enter your social security number or DNR number and your date of birth. Once logged in, you can view your preference point status by choosing ‘View Application Status’ on the right hand side of the page.

Do preference points expire?
Preference points do not expire or leave your account until you are successful in obtaining a tag in the state of Iowa. For deer, it would be until you are successful in obtaining an any-sex tag.

Is party hunting allowed?
Party hunting is allowed in the first and second shotgun seasons.

If I own land in Iowa, do I still have to apply to get a buck tag?
In order to obtain an any-sex tag in the state of Iowa as a landowner, you will need to apply through our drawing.

What are my odds of being drawn the first year I apply?
Please look at current draw statistics for more information on this. Please keep in mind that these statistics do not reflect ALL people who have purchased preference points. These reflect those who purchased preference points just last year.

I’m going to purchase an antlerless-only tag; does this take away my preference points?
Purchasing an antlerless tag does not affect your preference points. Preference points are only removed from your account when you have obtained an any-sex deer tag.

I wasn't successful in obtaining an any-sex deer tag, now what are my options for deer hunting this fall?
Once tags have been awarded, you have only two options to obtain a tag for hunting in Iowa. Depending on the excess tag quotas (found online via the Iowa DNR Online License & Registration site), you could obtain a general tag for Shotgun 1, Shotgun 2 or the Late Muzzleloader season. The other option would be an antlerless-only tag for the Shotgun 1, Shotgun 2 or Disabled season. The general tags awarded in this way would remove any preference points obtained on your record. Antlerless-only tag purchased do not clear preference points.

If I go with an outfitter, am I guaranteed a tag?
No, this doesn’t guarantee you a tag.

Do you have a list of outfitters in Iowa?
Iowa does not license outfitters therefore we do not have a list of these available.