Iowa Pheasant and Small Game Hunting Regulations

The following information and links have been reposted from the Iowa DNR website to assist you in obtaining the information you need to hunt Iowa gamebirds and refer to laws and regulations in Iowa only.  It is YOUR responsibility to know the laws in your state. We will do our best to keep up with changes, but please refer to the Iowa DNR website for the most up-to-date information or clarifications. Please let us know if you find something needs to be updated.

Pheasant and Small Game Licenses

Licenses can be obtained from license agents throughout the state, purchased online or through the Telephone Ordering System (1-800-367-1188). There is a convenience fee applied to all online purchases and for purchases made using the telephone ordering system.

People born after January 1, 1972 must have a valid hunter safety certificate from Iowa or their home state to purchase a hunting license.

Frequently Asked Questions about Small Game Hunting

Must I wear blaze orange to hunt small game in Iowa?

  • Iowa requires upland game bird hunters to wear at least one of the following articles of visible, external apparel, of which at least 50% of the surface area is solid blaze orange in color: hat, cap, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, sweater, shirt or coveralls.

When does pheasant hunting season open?

  • According to Iowa Code – Iowa’s pheasant season always opens the last Saturday in October and runs thru Jan 10th.

How do I obtain a copy of the small game distribution map?

  • The Game Distribution Map is available online or contact the Iowa DNR, Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034 or call (515) 281-5918.
  • What are the requirements for transporting pheasants in Iowa?
    Individuals cannot transport a pheasant within the state without a FOOT or FULLY FEATHERED WING, or FULLY FEATHERED HEAD attached to the carcass.
  • Does Iowa have any special regulations or permits when bringing hunting dogs into the state?
    Dog owners are required to carry proof of vaccination against standard canine diseases.
  • Is non-toxic shot required to hunt small game in Iowa?
    Non-toxic shot is required to hunt all game animals (except deer and turkey) on selected public hunting areas in north-central and northwest Iowa. See the current hunting regulations booklet for a list of areas where non-toxic shot is required.

Hunting/Shooting Preserves

Obtain a copy of Iowa’s Licensed Shooting Preserves online or by writing the Iowa DNR, Wallace State Office Building, Des Moines, IA 50319-0034, or by calling (515) 281-5918.

Public Hunting Areas

View our online information under Places to Hunt & Shoot or contact the Iowa DNR by calling 515-281-5918.
Obtain a copy of the Iowa Sportsman’s Atlas online or by calling 800-568-8334.

Source: Iowa DNR Small Game Regulation Website February 21, 2014