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Iowa Hunting License

All hunters in IA must possess a valid Iowa hunting license prior to going out on any hunting trips on state-sanctioned land. Without the proper hunting permit, hunters found hunting will be subject to fines, penalties and possible poaching charges. Therefore, all hunters should buy hunting licenses prior to hunting in the state. Each license to hunt is regulated and issued by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to both residents and non residents in the state. Hunting licenses are categorized based on factors such as the license’s period of validity before expiration, the type of animal being hunted, the applicant’s age at the time of application and the applicant’s residency status. Fees are also determined based on these factors. Prior to buying hunting licenses, hunters must first complete all hunter education requirements set by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Hunter education courses are taught by wildlife experts and cover topics such as the proper way to handle a firearm, wildlife survival skills and hunting ethics. Once the hunter education course is complete, students can use the completion certificate to complete the hunting license application process. The Department of Natural Resources allows hunters to buy hunting licenses online, by phone or in person. To find out more about how to get hunting licenses in Iowa, read the sections outlined below:

  • Exemptions for hunting licenses in Iowa
  • Types of hunting licenses in Iowa
  • Special types of hunting licenses in Iowa
  • How to buy hunting licenses in Iowa
  • Renewing Iowa hunting licenses
  • Replacing Iowa hunting licenses
  • Hunter education in Iowa


Who does not need a hunting license in Iowa?

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources designates certain groups of individuals as exempt from hunting license requirements. These groups include residents younger than 16 years of age (must be accompanied by an adult with a valid hunting license during hunting trips). Additionally, residents and visitors who are tenants or landowners (as well as their children) do not need to obtain a license to hunt on their own land.

What are the hunting licenses available in Iowa?

In Iowa, hunting licenses are generally classified in accordance with the type of animal hunted. Hunting licenses are issued by the Department of Natural Resources and include deer hunting licenses, small game hunting licenses, game turkey licenses, migratory game bird licenses, and pheasant licenses.

Both residents and nonresidents can buy hunting licenses from the Department of Natural Resources, though the types available for each group may differ. There are also special hunting licenses available for disabled individuals, senior citizens and veterans.

Additionally, the wildlife department offers extended hunting license options, including the Hunter’s Special (a three-year hunting license, with habitat stamp included) and the Outdoor Combo License (an annual hunting, fishing and habitat combination license).

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources also offers new resident hunting licenses and non-resident hunting licenses, including the resident fur harvester and habitat combo, the resident hunting and habitat combo, the non-resident hunting and habitat combo, the non-resident fur dealer licenses (one location and one day) and the non-resident fur harvester and habitat licenses (annual).

What are the special types of hunting licenses in Iowa?

Specialty hunting licenses in Iowa are issued to disabled individuals, veterans and senior citizens. For example, free annual hunting and fishing licenses are available to low-income Iowa residents who are disabled as well as low-income senior citizens older than 65 years of age. Veterans can also apply for a Veteran Lifetime Hunting and Fishing License. Individuals considered severely disabled can obtain a Resident Severely Disabled Deer Hunting License.

Disabled members of the military have a number of options for buying hunting licenses, including special non resident disabled military deer hunting licenses, special non resident disabled military turkey licenses, special non resident disabled military small game hunting licenses and non resident severely disabled deer hunting licenses.

Deer and turkey crossbow hunting licenses are available to both residents and nonresidents.

How can I buy an Iowa hunting license?

Hunters in Iowa can buy hunting licenses from the Department of Natural Resources online, by phone or in person. To buy hunting licenses online, visit the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Hunting and Fishing Online Registration system. On the system, applicants must create a customer account and enter some personal information. Make sure to prepare a credit card or e-check in order to pay the processing fees for the hunting license. Some licenses to hunt can be printed and used immediately, while others will be sent by mail.

Hunters who decide to get a hunting license by phone can call the toll-free licensing hotline to order. Make sure to have a credit card on hand to pay the license fee. Hunters who would like to purchase a license in person can visit any authorized license retailer in the state.

How can I renew an Iowa hunting license?

IA hunting licenses typically expire around January 10 of the license’s current year. As a result, hunting licenses must be renewed on time for the year to come. Renewals can be made at any certified license retailer.

How can I replace an Iowa hunting license?

Hunting licenses may get lost, stolen or damaged, and hunters must obtain duplicates in order to keep hunting legally in Iowa. To buy replacement hunting licenses, visit the online licensing service of the Department of Natural Resources. Replacement hunting licenses can also be purchased in person from an authorized retailer. Hunters are required to pay the appropriate replacement license fees during application.

How can I get a hunter’s education in Iowa?

Hunter education classes are required for most individuals looking to buy a hunting license from the Department of Natural Resources. To be eligible to buy a hunting license, hunters born after January 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education program (either inside or outside of the state). Students must complete at least 10 hours of class sessions to finish the program. Classes are typically free of charge and begin on March 1 and end on November 15. Once the hunting season begins, no more classes are held, as many instructors are hunters themselves.

There are several options for hunting education class formats, including hunter education classroom instruction, hunter education online courses (must attend the required field day) and adult online-only hunter education courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. All throughout the United States, hunters safety classes must be completed in order for applicants to obtain their desired hunting permits and stamps. Failure to take this specific course will result in the rejection of your hunting license request, thus requiring you to start over.
Depending on your state of residence, you may be able to buy hunting licenses in a variety of ways, including online (through your state department’s portal), by mail, by phone or in person. Choose the option that is most convenient for you. Make sure to also have any type of official documentation and payment for fees on hand.
No. Different states have different limits and regulations on hunting licensure. Certain animals may be considered “prohibited species,” whereas other animals may be legal to hunt, so long as you have the necessary hunting permit/stamp. Keep in mind that if you do hunt for any type of prohibited species, you will be subject to serious consequences.
Yes. States typically offer various short-term hunters license options, such as one-day and one-week passes, to those who do not meet residency requirements. In order to receive issuance of a short-term hunting license, make sure to get in touch with your state/hunting wildlife department to find out the available methods you have to apply.
In the event your hunting credentials are lost, stolen, damaged or destroyed, contact your state hunting/wildlife department to order a hunting license replacement. You may have to make an in-person visit to a local office to complete the process. At the time of your replacement request, you may be asked to present your state driving license or another type of identification.
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