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Iowa's Archery Deer Season Begins October 1

  • 9/22/2015 12:00:00 PM
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Deer hunters have October 1 circled on their calendar marking the beginning to Iowa’s popular archery deer season. 

An expected 50,000 hunters will be hiding among the branches on tree stands in the timber across Iowa forests and field edges waiting for the next legendary Iowa buck to walk by. 

“The herd is in excellent condition statewide following the mild winter and early spring and the population is about where we want it. If they put in the time scouting and sight in their bow, I expect hunters will have another good year in the timber,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau. 

Regulation changes incorporated last year have helped to stabilize Iowa’s herd. There were no regulation changes for 2015. The archery season is open through Dec. 4, when it closes for the shotgun deer seasons. It then reopens Dec. 21 and runs until Jan. 10, 2016.

Youth Season Open Through Oct. 4
Iowa’s archery season crosses over with the youth only season for the first four days. The youth only deer hunting season opened Sept 19.  

Around 9,500 youth under 16 years of age participate in the special season each year. They must hunt under the supervision of an adult mentor who has a valid hunting license and habitat fee.  Only one youth hunter may accompany each adult mentor.
Youth hunters harvested more than 3,300 deer in the 2014 special season.  The 2015 season closes on Oct. 4.

Where to Hunt
Looking for new areas to hunt? Try Iowa’s online hunting atlas, highlighting more than 600,000 acres of public hunting land. The atlas is available at

The atlas shows which zone the area is in, type of shot allowed, wildlife likely to be found, gives the user an overhead look at the terrain and provides a downloadable or printable map. The mobile version of the atlas will show hunter location on the area if granted permission. 

Another resource is the Iowa Habitat Access Program (IHAP), where private landowners receive assistance to improve habitat on their land in exchange for opening the property for hunter access.  The program has added more than 9,000 acres where hunters can access private property. 

Site maps are available at showing boundaries, which species would be most likely attracted to the habitat and the location of a comment box where hunters can leave their thoughts on the program. 

Walk-in public hunting through IHAP is available between September 1 and May 31.