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So how does it work?
Hello, I am nearing retirement and it could happen sometime in the next 3-6 years. I am from AZ but I would like to do a few out of state hunts once I retire and Iowa has always been a state that intrigued me. So how does it work for a non resident? I buy points for 3-5 years and hopefully get drawn after about 5 or 6 years? Once drawn is there plenty of state or federal land to hunt on or do I then have to find a landowner and pay them for access? Do I pick units to apply or is the entire state available for me to find a place to hunt? Sorry if my questions are out of place but I have always hunted out west on public land and have never had to deal with private property. I know I have a lot to learn but I'm trying to get this right. Thanks for any information, replies or suggestions.
You’re too late to apply for a preference point for this year, (application period is in May) but you will most likely need 3-4 preference points (for a majority of the zones) before you will be able to draw an archery tag. As a nonresident, you need to designate which zone you are applying for when you do try to draw a tag, but not when just purchasing a p point. You are pretty much guaranteed to draw a tag in any zone in the state with 5 points, and several zones can be drawn with less. There is not a ton of state land, but there is a decent amount, depending on the area of the state you’re looking at. Basically zero federal lands. Some guys have some success knocking on doors to gain access, but odds are not in your favor to do so. Leasing land is pretty prevalent more so in the southern half of the state than elsewhere, but that’s also traditionally the better area for some of the best hunting as well, EHD not withstanding.
I own my hunting property, so, fortunately, I don’t have to try and get access. I don’t know who to steer you towards contacting, but fortunately, you have plenty of time to research some options. You might reach out to some of your local friends in Arizona, and see if they might have any relatives that live and/or farm in Iowa. Lots of snowbirds from Iowa winter in Arizona, plus quite a few retirees from here have moved down there as well. You might get lucky and find a place to hunt for free that way. Southern, SE and NE Iowa get the majority of the positive press as far as being the best areas, and rightfully so, but there is great hunting to be had in practically every area of the state, with tremendous trophy potential in all four corners. Hopefully, that helps answer a few of your questions....Good luck!
Go to Iowa DNR site. It has annual draw stats for NR, how many points it took for each zone and percentages drawn. It gives that for archery and gun. Their site also has lists of public grounds and maps as well.
Limited public lands in Iowa, but they can be very good. You need to do some homework to determine private and public areas to target.