Iowa Deer Hunting for Non-Residents: Understanding the Iowa Deer Draw

Share this article

Notice: The 2024 Iowa nonresident deer draw plans have not yet been released. The information below is either tentative 2024 data or 2023 actual data. You can add this application to your OnPoint account to get updated dates as they are announced, available on Web, Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Iowa Deer Draw for Nonresidents

Iowa is renowned for its exceptional deer hunting opportunities, particularly its whitetail population and the potential for trophy bucks. In this article, we will dive into the Iowa Deer Draw system and provide you with a comprehensive understanding of how non-residents can secure a deer tag to hunt in Iowa. Read on to learn about Iowa whitetail, deer preference points, nonresident deer tags, hunting licenses, and other essential information.

How do I get a non-resident deer license in Iowa?

Non-residents can obtain an Iowa nonresident deer tag by successfully participating in the nonresident draw. The draw determines the allocation of deer tags to non-resident hunters. If selected, the non-resident hunter will be awarded a deer tag, granting them the opportunity to hunt deer in Iowa. Applications are handled through the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

How does the Iowa non-resident deer draw work?

The Iowa Deer Draw is a lottery system that allocates a limited number of deer tags to non-resident hunters. The draw uses a preference point system, with tags being allocated to those with the highest point number.

Iowa typically issues 6,000 general deer licenses and receives over 10,000 applications. These are divided between 10 hunting zones, and draw odds are based on the specific zone applied to. The Iowa zones are shown below.

iowa deer units

Gun and archery applications are performed as part of the same drawing and taken from the same pool of available tags. Archery tags are capped at 35% of the total nonresident tag allocation. Below are the 2023 tag quotas.

Iowa tag quantity

How do deer preference points work for non-residents?

Applicants earn Iowa deer preference points if they apply for the draw and are unsuccessful, or elect to purchase points directly without an accompanying application. Hunters who are unsuccessful will automatically be charged for a preference point.

In 2023 purchasing a point cost $60.50. No license is required to purchase a point only. Points accrue over the years. Upon successful draw application, preference points are reset to zero. Preference points do not apply to antlerless-only licenses, only to the standard general deer license.

When is the 2024 Iowa nonresident deer draw?

The draw normally opens in early May and closes in early June. Dates for the 2024 have not yet been released, but tentative dates for the Iowa non-resident deer draw are below. You can add this draw and others to you OnPoint calendar to never miss an application.

EventDate (all tentative)
Online Application OpensMay 4th, 2023
Deadline to ApplyJune 2nd, 2023
Draw Results PostedJune 14th, 2023

What are the required licenses and permits for Iowa non-resident deer hunting?

In addition to the Non-Resident Whitetail or Either-Species/Either-Sex Deer Permit, non-residents must also purchase a hunting license and pay the Iowa Habitat Fee.

Hunters must provide proof of hunter’s education before submitting an application. If this is your first year applying, please get this started early as it must be validated before you are able to apply.

Hunters who are required to have Hunter Education Certification will need to provide proof by sending an image of your Hunter Education Certification card to

How much is a non-resident deer tag in Iowa?

2024 prices have not yet been released. For the 2023 hunting season, a non-resident general deer license cost $498 and the required general hunting license cost $131. A Habitat Fee of $15 is also required.

General Deer License$498.00
Anntlerless Deer$266.50
Hunting License$131.00
Habitat Fee$15.00

Iowa Deer Hunting FAQ

Can a non resident buy a deer tag over the counter in Iowa?2023-05-15T20:06:37+00:00

No, non-residents cannot purchase an Iowa deer tag over the counter. The only way for non-residents to obtain a deer tag  in Iowa is through the draw.

Get the OnPoint app!

Get the OnPoint app!

Get every application, details, deadlines, and more at your fingertips with the OnPoint mobile app!

Go to Top