female pheasant hunters walking through a fall field

Discover Small Game

Looking to get out and hunt dove, rabbit, squirrel, pheasant, quail or waterfowl this fall? Small game hunting is a great way to get outdoors, enjoy time with friends and family, and potentially harvest wild game for your table! Start your learning journey today with these four steps - learn about the species you'd like to hunt, complete hunter education, buy a license and scout for game. Click the links below to learn more.


Dove Hunting

two dove hunters standing by a truck

Mourning and Eurasian Collared Dove Season Dates
September 1, 2022 - November 29, 2022

  • Bag Limit -15 daily
  • Hunting Hours-1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset

Buy Your License Now

Squirrel Hunting

sisters squirrel hunting, looking up into the trees

Fox and Gray Squirrel Season Dates
September 4, 2022 - January 31, 2023

  • Bag Limit -6 daily, 12 possession
  • Hunting Hours-No Restrictions

Buy Your License Now

Rabbit Hunting

two female hunters walking with dog seeking rabbits

Cottontail Rabbit Season Dates
September 4, 2022 - Feb 28, 2023

  • Bag Limit - 10 daily, 20 possession
  • Hunting Hours - Sunrise - Sunset

Buy Your License Now

Iowa offers both in person and virtual learning opportunities, as well as a host of video and print resources. These events and resources will aid you as you learn not only about the different small game species in Iowa, but different hunting tactics, as well as how to scout and find suitable hunting land.

 

In-Person Events

Class Location Registration & More Information
Women's Mentored Pheasant Hunt Big Oak Elk Ranch

West Union, IA

November 4 & 5, 2022 - Women's Mentored Pheasant Hunt
Women's Workshop & Mentored Pheasant Hunt Olofson Shooting Range
Polk City, IA
November 18 & 19, 2022 - Mentored Pheasant Hunt

 

Virtual Events

Class Location Registration
Upland Hunting Q&A Webinar Zoom link sent after registration October 25, 2022 - Upland Hunting Q&A Webinar

 

Online Hunting Videos

Learn to Hunt Iowa
Online Video Series

Rabbit & Squirrel Hunting Upland Hunting How to Purchase a Hunting License

Cottontail Rabbit Season Dates
September 4, 2022 - Feb 28, 2023

  • Bag Limit - 10 daily, 20 possession
  • Hunting Hours - Sunrise - Sunset

Fox & Gray Squirrel Season Dates
September 4, 2022 - January 31, 2023

  • Bag Limit - 6 daily, 12 possession
  • Hunting Hours - No Restrictions
Rooster Pheasant Season Dates
October 29, 2022 - January 9, 2023

 

  • Bag Limit - 3 daily, 12 possession
  • Hunting Hours - 8am - 4:30pm
Resident Hunting License Options

 

  • Resident Hunting & Habitat Fee - $35
  • Outdoor Combo License- $55
  • Apprentice Hunting License - $35

Buy Your License Now

Buy Your License Now

Buy Your License Now

Want to learn more? Check out the free Learn to Hunt Iowa Online Video Series for your next step to getting out in the hunting field! Create a login and enjoy over twenty videos designed to get you started.

video series

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. Iowa recognizes hunter education certificates issued by another state and some foreign nations.

There are three ways to complete hunter education. The first option is to take a traditional course. These in-person classes are typically taught March 1 - November 15 each year by volunteer instructors. The in-person class are often 8-10 hours of instruction and demonstration focused on safe firearm use, hunter ethics, game identification, and conservation management, followed by a multiple choice test.

The second option is a hybrid format. This option is traditionally attended by persons under 18 or individuals with busy schedules. The student completes all course work online at www.hunter-ed.com/iowa. When the online work is completed, the student will print off a voucher and then attend a 4 hour in-person field day. During the field day, students recap their learning, have hands-on instruction, learn about Iowa laws and complete a multiple choice test. To find upcoming field day classes, visit gooutdoorsiowa.com

The third option is completed 100% online. This options is designed for persons over the age of 18. Students register and pay for the course at www.hunter-ed.com/iowa.

Apprentice Hunting License

Looking to go hunting with another licensed adult mentor? The apprentice hunting 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. You may purchase the apprentice hunting license up to two times without having completed hunter education.

Apprentice Hunting License Info

click for the interactive hunting atlas

Iowa DNR Hunting Atlas
The Iowa DNR created a hunting atlas for you to view public hunting locations across the state. This interactive map 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 Iowa, totaling over 721,806 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 Habitat and Access Program
The Iowa Habitat and Access Program has grown to nearly 32,000 acres, significantly increasing the amount of land available to hunters in Iowa. These opportunities are thanks to landowners who participate in the Iowa Habitat and Access (IHAP) program. Landowners receive funding and expertise for habitat improvements when they enroll in the program, and in turn allow public access to their land for hunting.

Iowa DNR Wildlife Management Areas
Public hunting and wildlife management area maps for additional hunting areas.

Iowa DNR Shooting Ranges
The DNR offers several public shooting ranges across the state which offer hunters a place to practice shooting safely and conveniently.

Upland Hunting

two female hunters celebrating a successful pheasant hunt

Rooster Pheasant Season Dates
October 29, 2022 - January 9, 2023

 

  • Bag Limit - 3 daily, 12 possession
  • Hunting Hours - 8am - 4:30pm

Buy Your License Now

Waterfowl Hunting

two female hunters celebrating a successful pheasant hunt

Waterfowl Season Dates
October 1, 2022 - December 20, 2023, depending on zone.  
Find your hunting zone

 

  • Bag Limit - Varies by Species
  • Hunting Hours - 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset, except woodcock and September teal, sunrise to sunset

Buy Your License Now

Purchase Your Hunting License

 

Resident Hunting License Options

 

  • Resident Hunting & Habitat Fee - $35
  • Outdoor Combo License - $55
  • Apprentice Hunting License - $35
  • Iowa Migratory Bird Fee - $25
  • Federal Migratory Bird Fee - $35

Buy Your License Now

Buy Your License

A hunting license is your ticket to get outdoors, make memories and refresh. In Iowa, you can purchase a resident or a non-resident license. Essentially, if your driver's license shows that you have lived in Iowa for more than 90 days, you are eligible to buy a resident hunting license, which is at a reduced rate than those that do not live in Iowa.

A hunting license is required to hunt game in the state of Iowa. Most residents aged 16 to 64 are also required to pay a Wildlife Habitat Fee. This fee is used across the state of Iowa for habitat development. Resident hunters can purchase the Hunting/Habitat Fee Combo for $35 or the Outdoor Combo license which includes your fishing license, hunting license as well as the habitat fee for $55. With the purchase of either of these licenses, you can hunt squirrel, rabbit, pheasant, and grouse.

Ducks, geese, and doves are all migratory birds. To maintain sustainable populations, migratory birds are managed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. All hunters must register for Harvest Information Program or HIP. This allows biologists to determine how many people were hunting a particular species and how many birds were harvested during the year. To hunt ducks and geese, you must purchase a Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp (Federal Duck Stamp) and an Iowa Migratory Game Bird fee. All of these can be purchased online at GoOutdoors Iowa.

 

Game Species License & Fee Requirement Harvest Information Program (HIP) Registration
Dove Hunting License and Habitat Fee Yes
Squirrel Hunting License and Habitat Fee No
Rabbit Hunting License and Habitat Fee No
Pheasant Hunting License and Habitat Fee No
Duck Hunting License, Habitat Fee, Federal Duck Stamp, Iowa Migratory Bird Fee Yes
Geese Hunting License, Habitat Fee, Federal Duck Stamp, Iowa Migratory Bird Fee Yes

 

Buy Your License Now


Let's Go Hunting partners