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Iowa

Hunting

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

DUCK & GOOSE HUNTING ZONES

For the fall 2021 through spring 2026 seasons, the North Zone is that part of Iowa north
of a line beginning on the South Dakota-Iowa border at Interstate 29, southeast along Interstate 29 to State Highway 20 to the Iowa-Illinois border. The South Zone is that part of Iowa west of Interstate 29 and south of State Highway 92 east to the Iowa-Illinois border. The Central Zone is the remainder of the state.

Duck and Goose Hunting Zones

HARVEST INFORMATION PROGRAM (HIP)

The Harvest Information Program is a partnership between the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and state

wildlife agencies to collect information on the nation’s migratory game bird hunters and their harvests of migratory game birds. Currently, the program requires hunters to provide their contact information and answer basic harvest questions when they purchase their migratory game bird fee. The data collected is used to identify hunters to be included in a follow up survey that collects more detailed information on hunting activity and harvest. Using this more informed (stratified) survey design increases the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the survey, in other words it saves money and reduces the number of responses from hunters needed to provide reliable harvest estimates. This information is used to inform decisions about managing migratory game birds, including season framework, bag limits, hunting zones and habitat management.

Unfortunately, the reliability of this information has declined in recent years due to inconsistent hunter participation and inconsistencies with HIP registration through license vendors at the time of purchase. Changes will be implemented during the 2022 license year in order to improve the reliability of Iowa’s HIP.

STARTING DEC. 15, all migratory game bird hunters will be required to register for HIP over the internet at www.gooutdoorsiowa.com. Migratory game birds mean more than ducks and geese. Migratory game birds in Iowa include ducks, geese, coots, doves, woodcock, rails, and snipe.

Since registering through license vendors at the time of purchase has been inconsistent at best, hunters will need to register either through the Go Outdoors Iowa app on their smartphone or through a link atwww.iowadnr.gov/waterfowl. Once registered, hunters will need to write their confirmation number on their license, print an updated copy of their license or take a screenshot of their confirmation on their phone to show proof. Conservation officers will be enforcing this requirement.

Hunters want state and federal agencies to make wise decisions about managing migratory game birds and that requires good and accurate data. The majority of hunters who participated in HIP provided quality data because they know it’s important. Unfortunately, the reliability of the Iowa HIP has been declining due to inconsistent participation by hunters and third-party license vendors. This change is intended to improve hunter provided data to the HIP, which is a primary source of information for harvest surveys.

SPECIAL HUNTS

SPECIAL SEPTEMBER CANADA GOOSE SEASONS

Special September Canada goose seasons are open on specified dates during the first
two weeks of September in the Des Moines, Cedar Rapids-Iowa City, and Waterloo-Cedar Falls zones. The daily bag limit in these zones is 5 Canada geese. The zone boundary maps are available on the DNR’s web site athttp://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds.

SPECIAL SEPTEMBER TEAL SEASON

The Special September teal season allows hunters additional days to pursue teal. Hunters must be aware that only teal are legal and the shooting hours are sunrise to sunset. All general migratory game bird hunting regulationsapply. More information is available at www.iowadnr.gov/teal

YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTING DAYS

Resident hunters ages 15 or younger may hunt waterfowl on Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days without purchasing a hunting license, or federal duck stamp, or paying the Iowa habitat or migratory game bird fees. Each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older. The adult must have a hunting license and have paid the Iowa wildlife habitat and migratory game bird fees, if normally required to do so to hunt waterfowl. Only the youth may hunt ducks, geese, mergansers and coots. The accompanying adult may hunt any game that is in season, including other migratory game birds that may be in season, provided he/ she possesses a federal duck stamp. The daily bag and possession limit for ducks, geese, mergansers and coots for the youth season are the same as for the regular season. All other regulations in effect for the regular waterfowl seasons apply during the youth hunt.

LIGHT GOOSE CONSERVATION ORDER

Only light geese (white-and blue-phase snow geese and Ross’ geese) can legally be taken during the Light Goose Conservation Order. Hunters must have a valid resident or nonresident hunting license and have paid the current Iowa wildlife habitat and migratory game bird fees. A federal duck stamp is not required.

Shooting hours are 1/2-hour before sunrise until 1/2-hour after sunset each day. There is no daily bag or possession limit during the Light Goose Conservation Order. Hunters may use electronic callers and unplugged shotguns during the Light Goose Conservation Order.

NATIONAL WILDLIFE REFUGES

hunting license and have paid the Iowa wildlife habitat and migratory game bird fees, if normally required to do so to hunt waterfowl. Only the youth may hunt ducks, geese, mergansers and coots. The accompanying adult may hunt any game that is in season, including other migratory game birds that may be in season, provided he/ she possesses a federal duck stamp. The daily bag and possession limit for ducks, geese, mergansers and coots for the youth season are the same as for the regular season. All other regulations in effect for the regular waterfowl seasons apply during the youth hunt.

LIGHT GOOSE CONSERVATION ORDER

Only light geese (white-and blue-phase snow geese and Ross’ geese) can legally be taken during the Light Goose Conservation Order. Hunters must have a valid resident or nonresident hunting license and have paid the current Iowa wildlife habitat and migratory game bird fees. A federal duck stamp is not required.

Shooting hours are 1/2-hour before sunrise until 1/2-hour after sunset each day. There is no daily bag or possession limit during the Light Goose Conservation Order. Hunters may use electronic callers and unplugged shotguns during the Light Goose Conservation Order.

Some parts of the National Wildlife Refuges under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Iowa are closed to hunting. In addition, there may be other regulations that limit the species that can be hunted on these national wildlife refuge properties, as well as when and how they can be hunted.

For more details on hunting on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge lands go to:http://www.fws.gov/midwest/new...;and click on the refuge for which you want information. Or, write to: Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 5600 American Boulevard West, Suite 990, Bloomington, MN 55437-1458.

For questions about interpretations of Federal regulations call 515-961-5094 or send questions to 1306 North 14th Street, Indianola, IA 50125 or by FAX 515-961-5429.

RESTRICTED AREAS

Some parts of wildlife management areas may be posted as “restricted areas.” It is unlawful to trespass in any manner on areas posted as restricted areas, except that DNR personnel, law enforcement officials and anyone specifically authorized by the DNR may enter the area at any time in performance of their duties.

AREAS CLOSED TO CANADA GOOSE HUNTING

Canada goose hunting is closed in posted portions of 16 counties. Maps of the closed areas are online at www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds, and available from local conservation officers or DNR facilities near the Canada goose closed areas.

Areas Closed to Canada Goose Hunting

1. Emmet County; Regional Office in Spirit Lake and Prairie Lakes Wildlife Unit near Wallingford.

2. Clay/Palo Alto counties; Regional Office in Spirit Lake and Prairie Lakes Wildlife Unit near Ruthven.

3. Dickinson County; Regional Office in Spirit Lake and Great Lakes Wildlife Unit near Spirit Lake.

4. Worth/Winnebago counties; Regional Office in Spirit Lake and Clear Lake Wildlife Unit in Ventura.

5. Lucas County; Regional Office in Brighton and Rathbun Wildlife Unit near Russell.

7. Guthrie County; Regional Office in Lewis and Saylorville Wildlife Unit near Panora.

8. Adams County; Regional Office in Lewis and Grand River Wildlife Unit near Mt. Ayr.

9. Monona/Woodbury counties; Regional Office in Lewis and Missouri River Wildlife Unit near Whiting.

11. Jackson County; Regional Office in Manchester and Maquoketa Wildlife Unit near Green Island.

13. Van Buren County; Regional Office in Brighton and Sugema Wildlife Unit near Keosauqua.

14. Bremer County; Regional Office in Manchester and Cedar-Wapsi Wildlife Unit near Tripoli.

15. Butler County; Regional Office in Manchester and Cedar-Wapsi Wildlife Unit near Parkersburg.

16. Union County; Regional Office in Lewis and Grand River Wildlife Unit near Mt. Ayr.

AREAS CLOSED TO WATERFOWL HUNTING

The entire state is open to waterfowl hunting except for the following areas and the refuges:

  • The east-west road adjacent to Forney Lake in Fremont County
  • U.S. Highway 30 adjacent to Desoto National
  • Wildlife Refuge in Harrison County
  • County roads adjacent to Union Slough
  • National Wildlife Refuge in Kossuth County
  • Marked county roads near the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge in Louisa County
  • Posted dikes at Green Island Wildlife Management Area in Jackson County
  • Posted dikes at Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Tama County
  • Posted lands adjacent to Rathbun Reservoir in Appanoose and Lucas counties
  • Portions of Summit Lake in Union County
  • Posted portions of Clear Lake and Ventura Marsh in Cerro Gordo County
  • Within 150 feet of the center of Army Road from New Albin to the boat ramp on the Mississippi River, in Allamakee County.

TRUMPETER SWAN ID

Trumpeter Swan ID

Be Sure of Your Target BEFORE You Shoot

Trumpeter and tundra swans are protected by state law and cannot be shot in Iowa. Shooting a swan will result in a fine and a liquidated damage fee of $1,500.

Trumpeter swans differ from snow geese and Canada geese. Trumpeter swans weigh up to
35 pounds, have 8-foot wingspans and are completely white, including their wing feathers (gray
if they are immature swans). Snow geese weigh only 6 pounds, have 4-foot wingspans and the tips of their wing feathers are black.

GENERAL MIGRATORY GAME BIRD HUNTING REGULATIONS

FEDERAL REGULATIONS SUMMARY

A more detailed synopsis of the federal regulations governing the hunting of migratory game birds can be found at: www.iowadnr.gov/huntingregs

A complete version of all the federal regulations governing the hunting of migratory game birds can be accessed at www.fws.gov/birds/policies-and-regulations.php

NO PERSONS SHALL TAKE MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS:

  • With a trap, snare, net, crossbow, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machine gun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
  • With a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler that is incapable of being removed without disassembling the gun.
  • From a sinkbox or any other type of low floating device having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.
  • From or with the aid or use of any motor vehicle or other motor-driven land conveyance or aircraft of any kind, except that paraplegics and persons missing one or both legs may take from any stationary motor-driven land conveyance.
  • From or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, and its progress there from has ceased.
  • By the use or aid of live birds as decoys. It shall be unlawful to take migratory waterfowl
    on an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present unless such birds have been confined within an enclosure that substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of migratory waterfowl for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to such taking.
  • By the use or aid of recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds. This restriction does not apply during the Conservation Order for light geese (i.e. greater and lesser snow and Ross’s geese).
  • By means or aid of any motor-driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up any migratory bird.
  • By the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. A baited area is any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Any such area will remain a baited area for ten days following the complete removal of all such salt, grain, or other feed.

It is legal to take migratory game birds, including waterfowl and coots, on or over the following areas that are not otherwise baited:

  • Standing crops or flooded standing crops (including aquatics).
  • Standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation or normal soil stabilization practices.
  • From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation.
  • From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing or scattering of grain or other feed; or
  • Standing or flooded standing agricultural crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as a result of a hunter entering or exit-
    ing a hunting area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.

For more information on federal baiting regulations, go to https://www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-hunting-and-baiting.html

BAITING RULES FOR MOURNING DOVES

Federal regulations governing baiting for doves are different in some respects than those governing baiting for waterfowl. You may hunt doves on, over or from:

  • Lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of normal agricultural operations, which include normal agricultural harvestings, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulations, or normal agricultural practices.
  • Lands planted by means of top-sowing or aerial seeding where seeds have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, a planting for agricultural soil erosion control, or a planting for post-mining land reclamation.
  • Lands or areas where grain or feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of the manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown.
  • Standing crops.
  • Lands planted as wildlife food plots, provided the seed is planted in a manner consistent with Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service recommendations for the planting of wildlife food plots. In states without Cooperative Extension Service recommendations for the planting of food plots, the seed must be planted in accordance with Extension Service guidelines for producing a crop.
  • Lands planted as pasture improvements or for the purpose of grazing livestock. (The Fish and Wildlife Service will not make a distinc-
    tion between agricultural fields planted with the intent to gather a crop and those planted without such intent provided the planting is carried out in a manner consistent with the recommendations of State Extension Specialists).
  • Standing or manipulated natural vegetation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation.
  • A blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, provided your use of such vegetation does not expose, deposit, distribute or scatter grain or other feed. You should be aware that seeds or grains from such vegetation could create a baited area.

For more information on the federal regulations that govern baiting for doves, go to: http://www.fws.gov/le/HuntFish...

WANTON WASTE OF MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS

No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in his/her actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his/her vehicle or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his/her personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

NONTOXIC SHOT

No person may take ducks, geese (including brant), rails, snipe, or coots while possessing shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzle-loading) other than approved nontoxic shot. For a list of approved nontoxic shot, see https://www. fws.gov/birds/bird-enthusiasts/hunting/non-toxic.php

DOVES

Dove hunters are required to have a plug in their gun limiting them to three shells. They must also register with HIP when they buy their small game hunting license or by calling 1-855-242-3683 or

by registering online. Go to www.iowadnr.gov and click on the “Buy Your License” sales site link. Hunters may use lead shot to hunt doves, except on the wildlife areas listed.

DEFINITIONS:

DAILY BAG LIMIT: The maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season in any one specified geographic area for which a daily bag limit is prescribed.

AGGREGATE DAILY BAG LIMIT:The maximum number of migratory game birds permitted
to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season when such person hunts in more than one specified geographic area and/or for more than one species for which a combined daily bag limit is prescribed. The aggregate daily bag limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest daily bag limit prescribed for any one species or for any onespecified geographic area in which taking occurs.

FIELD POSSESSION LIMIT

No person shall possess, have in custody, or transport more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies, of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged, at or between the place where taken and either (a) his vehicle or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

POSSESSION LIMIT

The maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or a combination of species permitted to be possessed by any one person when lawfully taken in the United States in any one specified geographic area for which a possession limit is prescribed.

AGGREGATE POSSESSION LIMIT

The maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination of species taken in the United States permitted to be possessed by any one person when taking and possession occurs in more than one specifiedgeographic area for which a possession limit
is prescribed. The aggregate possession limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest possession limit prescribed for any one of the species or specified geographic areas in which taking and possession occurs.

PERSONAL ABODE

One’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of abode or dwelling such as a hunting club, or any club house, cabin, tent or trailer house used as a hunting club, or any hotel, motel or rooming house used during a hunting, pleasure or business trip.

SPECIES IDENTIFICATION REQUIREMENT FOR TRANSPORTATION

No person shall transport within the United States any migratory game birds, except doves and band-tailed pigeons, unless the head or one fully feathered wing remains attached to each such bird at all times while being transported from the place where taken until they have arrived at the personal abode of the possessor or a migratory bird preservation facility.

TRANSPORTATION OF BIRDS OF ANOTHER

No person shall transport migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.

TAGGING REQUIREMENT

No person shall put or leave any migratory game birds at any place (other than at his personal abode), or in the custody of another person for picking, cleaning, processing, shipping, transportation, or storage (including temporary storage), or for the purpose of having taxidermy services performed, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter, stating his address, the total number and species of birds, and the date such birds were killed. Migratorygame birds being transported in any vehicle as the personal baggage of the possessor shall not be considered as being in storage or temporary storage.

CUSTODY OF BIRDS OF ANOTHER

No person shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.

GIFT OF MIGRATORY GAME BIRDS

No person may receive, possess, or give to another, any freshly killed migratory game birds as a gift, except at the personal abodes of the donor or donee, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter who took the birds, stating such hunter’s address, the total number and species of birds and the date such birds were taken.

REPORT BANDED BIRDS

www.reportband.gov

Reporting the harvest of banded waterfowl provides valuable information which helps sustain waterfowl populations and hunting for the future.

As of July 2, 2017, band reports will no longer be accepted by phone. All reports must be through www.reportband.gov even if the band has a phone number inscribed on it.

Questions should be directed to bandreports@usgs.gov or Orrin Jones at 641-357-3517 ext. 23, Orrin.Jones@dnr.iowa.gov.

Thank you for helping manage migratory birds!

IOWA REGULATIONS SUMMARY

BLINDS

A blind is a constructed place of concealment for hunting, observing or photographing wildlife. You may construct a blind on a game management area using only the natural vegetation found on the area, except that no trees or parts of trees other than willows can be cut for that purpose. The use of such blinds is on a first-come, first-served basis whether or not you constructed the blind. You cannot drive or otherwise place any nail, spike, pin or any other object, metal or otherwise, into any tree on a game management area to construct a blind or to make access to a blind or to a hunting location above the ground. Portable blinds are prohibited on game management areas from one hour after sunset until midnight of each day. Portable blinds which are built on, or are part of, a boat shall be considered as removed from an area when the boat and blind are tied up or moored at an approved access site. No boat may be anchored away from shore and left unattended unless it is attached to a legal buoy. Special regulations regarding the use and construction of blinds on parts of the Mississippi River are described below.

DECOYS

A “decoy” is a likeness of a bird or animal used to lure game within shooting range. Decoys are prohibited on all game management areas from one hour after sunset until midnight of each day. Decoys are considered removed from an area if they are in a boat or other container at an approved access site. Decoys cannot be left unattended for more than 30 minutes between midnight and one-half hour after sunset. Special regulations regarding the use of decoys on parts of the Mississippi River are described below.

STATIONARY BLINDS & USE OF DECOYS ON MISSISSIPPI RIVER POOLS 14-18

Hunters wishing to build a stationary blind on Pool 14 downstream of Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge River Mile 502, near Princeton, Iowa, and Pools 15, 16,

17 and 18 of the Mississippi River must register their blind site with the Department of Natural Resources by completing a registration card and designating the blind’s location on a map. Registration is held in August at a site publicly announced by the Department. Registration is for a five-year period and requires a fee of $100. The blind registration number must be visibly posted at the blind’s entrance. Blinds must be

at least four feet by eight feet in size, but cannot have a floor space larger than 500-square feet, not including a boat hide. Blinds must be constructed of biodegradable materials. Treated lumber, treated plywood, woven wire, chicken wire, cattle panels, tin and sheet metal, vinyl and plastic, and other non-biodegradable

materials are not allowed unless they are removed within three days after the close of the waterfowl season. The use of metal and
nylon fasteners including but not limited to nails, screws, lag bolts, staples and ties is allowed.
No brush or trees, other than willows, may be removed around the blind. Blind registrants must occupy their blind by the opening of shooting time each day to claim the blind for that day. After this time, unoccupied blinds will be available to any other hunters. No person will claim or attempt to claim a blind that is legally occupied and no person will harass, in any manner, the occupants of a blind that has been legally occupied. Blinds may not be locked. Decoys may be left out for the entire waterfowl season but must be picked up and removed from the area within three days after the close of the waterfowl season. All jugs and other floating devices used to attract waterfowl are considered decoys.

POSSESSION OF LIVE BIRDS

Wounded birds reduced to possession must be immediately killed and included in the daily bag limit.

SHOOTING OR HAWKING HOURS

You cannot take migratory game birds except during the hours open to shooting and hawking. For complete falconry information, visit the Iowa DNR’s web site at www.iowadnr.gov/huntingregs.