If you're a landowner in Iowa and have noticed you have a nice population of animals that roam your fields, ditches, creaks, or grass knolls, do you need a license to hunt these animals?

See Also: What's The Youngest Age You Can Hunt Alone in Iowa?

From what I can tell, it depends on the animal you would like to hunt or fish. You might be surprised to know that it appears that there are certain animals that you can lawfully hunt without securing a license.


Can You Legally Hunt/Fish Your Own Land Without a License?

Firstly, I do not work with the Iowa DNR and I am not a lawyer. I'm simply sharing what I've found from the Iowa Legislature. If you have questions about hunting your property without a license, it's always smart to call Iowa's Department of Natural Resources at 515-725-8200.

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According to Iowa Legislature Code 483A.24 if you own land or are a tenant of land, you can hunt certain small game without obtaining a license. Code 483A.24 says

"Owners or tenants of land, and their minor children, may hunt, fish or trap upon such lands and may shoot by lawful means ground squirrels, gophers, or woodchucks upon adjacent roads without securing a license so to do."

Not only can adult landowners hunt these small game animals without a license, but their children can also legally hunt, without a license, as long as they are on the family's property.

The law is fairly specific about what a family member is as well. A family member is someone who is a resident of Iowa, is the spouse or child of the owner or tenant, and also resides with the owner or tenant.

From what I gather, this means that your brother or cousin will need a non-residential hunting license to hunt on your property if they are coming from a different state, no matter what the animal is that they are hunting.

Turkey and Deer

These bigger animals are where we see a change. The rules are different for deer and/or turkey. The rules between turkey and deer also differ. Code 483A.24 says

"special licenses to hunt deer and wild turkey shall be required of owners and tenants but they shall not be required to have a special wild turkey hunting license to hunt wild turkey on a hunting preserve license."

If you notice an abundance of deer on your property and are gearing up for the deer opener on December 9th, you'll still need a deer license to hunt on your land. The good news is that if you want to hunt on your property, you could get a license or two for free, for both deer and turkey. If you apply for turkey, you could receive 1 free wild turkey license or two free deer hunting licenses.

Code 483A.24 says this about deer:

"Upon written application on forms furnished by the department, the department shall issue annually without fee two deer hunting licenses, one antlered or any sex deer hunting license and one antlerless deer only deer hunting license, to the owner of a farm unit or a member of the owner’s family, but only a total of two licenses for both, and to the tenant of a farm unit or a member of the tenant’s family, but only a total of two licenses for both. The deer hunting licenses issued shall be valid only for use on the farm unit for which the applicant applies."

Once again, I do not work with the Iowa DNR and this is information I gathered from the Iowa Legislature. As far as I can tell, you can hunt certain animals on your land during the hunting season, without a license. For bigger animals, you'll need a license but you can potentially get one free of charge every year.

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