Legal Methods for Hunting Deer
The legal methods of deer hunting are listed below by equipment. For more information about the seasons when each type of equipment is allowed, see Iowa’s hunting regulations.
- Longbows, recurve bows, and compound bows that shoot broadhead arrows that are at least 18 inches long
- Draw locks on compound bows
- The arrow must not contain poison or any stupefying chemical.
- The arrowhead tip must not have an explosive tip.
- Crossbows are not legal, except for:
- Physically handicapped hunters who have a special permit.
- Residents 70 years of age and older who have an antlerless-only statewide crossbow deer license.
Centerfire Rifles: Centerfire rifles must be .24 caliber or larger.
- Centerfire handguns .357 caliber or larger, shooting straight wall ammunition with an expanding-type bullet
- Those centerfire cartridges that are listed as legal in Iowa’s hunting regulations
- The minimum barrel length must be at least 4" for all handguns.
- Shoulder stock or long barrel modifications are not allowed.
- Hunters with an archery tag may not carry a handgun while hunting, unless they have an unfilled transportation tag for a season that allows handguns.
- Hunters 16 years of age and younger may not use handguns.
- Hunters 17 to 20 years of age may use a handgun only if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian, or spouse who is at least 21 years old.
- Flintlock or percussion cap muzzleloading rifles or muskets between .44 and .775 caliber shooting single projectiles
- Muzzleloading pistols .44 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches and no shoulder stock or long barrel modifications
- In-line or disk-type muzzleloaders
- Muzzleloaders equipped with electronic ignition are not legal.
- 10-, 12-, 16-, and 20-gauge
- Shoot only single slugs