Iowa Deer Hunting Season 2023-2024

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Iowa hunting season is excellent for hunters of all ages. Known for its vast farmlands, you can rest assured that your hunting season will be exciting. Before we get into the season, you need to make sure that you purchase the correct hunting licenses and permits. It’s also crucial that your weapons meet the specifications set by Iowa. We have compiled a list of season dates, permits and fees, and weapon requirements to help you prepare for the season.

Season Dates 

Iowa season dates are split between residents and non-residents, choice of weapon, and age. Take note of the season dates that fit your category below:

Deer Start DateEnd Date
Archery (Early Split)1-Oct2-Dec
Archery (Late Split)19-Dec10-Jan
Muzzleloader (Residents)15-Oct23-Oct
Muzzleloader (Nonresidents)29-Oct6-Nov
Shotgun (Antlerless)11-Nov21-Nov
Shotgun (Buck)22-Nov10-Dec
Alternative Methods (Residents)17-Dec2-Jan
Alternative Methods (Nonresidents)24-Dec1-Jan

For more information on hunting seasons, you can refer to the Iowa e-regulations page.

Licensing & Draw License Fees

Now that you know when your hunting seasons are, you need to purchase the corresponding license for it. Take a look below at the license options you have to choose from:

License TypesPrice
Resident Hunting$22.00
Lifetime Hunting$61.50
Resident Hunting / Habitat$35.00
Resident Apprentice License$35.00
Hunter’s Special 3-year license$101.00
Outdoor Combo$55.00
Resident Any-Sex Tages$33.00
Resident 1st Antlerless Tag$28.50
Resident Additional Antlerless$15.00
Resident Landowner / Tenant Any-Sex$2.00
Resident Landowner / Tenant Doe Tag$2.00
Resident Landowner / Tenant Additional Doe Tags =2$15.00ea

What Weapons can you Hunt Deer Within Iowa?

Getting your weapon ready is also essential as deer hunting season draws closer. In the tables below, we have given you the minimum weapons specifications to hunt with your weapon of choice legally. For a more in-depth breakdown, take a look at the e-regulations page.


ShotgunsMust be a minimum of 10 gauge. Loaded with single slugs. Barrel must be a minimum of 18 inches long. The minimum overall length must be 26 inches.
Centerfire rifle 0.24 Caliber and up with a magnum load or centerfire cartridge.
Handguns43 caliber and down with a barrel no longer than four and a half inches. 

Bow and Arrow:

ArrowsArrows must be 18 inches in length.
BroadheadsNo minimum broadhead
Bow characteristicsNo minimum draw weight.


Crossbow draw weightCrossbows have a minimum draw weight of 125 lbs. and must be mechanically safe. Draw length must be a minimum of 14 inches.
Arrows/ boltsThe arrow/ bolt must be at least 16 inches, excluding the broad head.
BroadheadsIt must be ⅞ inches at the widest point. 

Muzzleloading Rifle:

Powderblack powder or black powder substitute only.
CaliberA single barrel of .44 caliber or greater.
Legal projectileMuzzleloaders can be smoothbore or rifled. Must be a single barrel that fires a single projectile.
IgnitionMatchlock, flintlock ignition system, percussion ignition system with a primer or percussion cap, or a wheel-lock.

What Types of Deer Are Popular in Iowa?

In Iowa, you will find that the two most popular deer to hunt are the Mule Deer and White-tailed deer. Like the rest of the US, the White-tailed deer generally garners the most favor. These two deer species can be easily mistaken at a glance, so it’s crucial to identify them correctly.

White-tailed deer are prevalent throughout Iowa, and their population is well-managed through hunting regulations and conservation efforts. They are medium-sized deer with a distinctive white underside of their tail, visible when they are alarmed and raise their seat. Their coats are reddish brown and change to greyish brown with seasons. 

Mule deer, on the other hand, are less common in Iowa and are primarily found in the western part of the state, closer to the Missouri River region. Known for its large ears, the Mule deer is also greyish brown and is a similar size to the White-tailed deer. They have a black tip at the end of their tail, and their horns branch as they grow. 

What Else is Popular to Hunt in Iowa?

With its focus on produce, there is an abundance of other animals you can hunt in Iowa. Why settle for deer when you can have the unique experience of hunting other species that provide different challenges? Below is a list of all the animals you can legally hunt in Iowa:

Big Game:

  • White-tailed Deer
  • Wild Turkey
  • Black Bear (limited hunting season)

Upland Birds:

  • Ring-necked Pheasant
  • Hungarian Partridge (Gray Partridge)
  • Bobwhite Quail
  • Ruffed Grouse


  • Canada Goose
  • Snow Goose
  • Various duck species (e.g., Mallard, Teal, Gadwall)

Small Game:

  • Cottontail Rabbit
  • Eastern Gray Squirrel
  • Fox Squirrel
  • Groundhog (Woodchuck)
  • Coyote
  • Striped Skunk
  • Raccoon
  • Opossum
  • Red Fox


  • Beaver
  • Muskrat
  • Mink
  • River Otter
  • Red Fox
  • Gray Fox
  • Coyote
  • Badger

Remember that each species listed above will have a different season designated to them, they will require separate licenses, and your weapons will need to meet different requirements. To find out more, refer to the Iowa e-regulations page.

Hi there! I'm a passionate bowman and a fan of all target sports in general. You'll often find me at my local archery and shooting ranges honing my skills.

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