Coyote Hunting in Iowa [Rules & Regulations 2023-2024]

If you want to learn about the rules and regulations regarding coyote hunting in Iowa. Iowa offers some of the most liberal seasons and bag limits in the nation when it comes to hunting coyotes. Many hunters consider Iowa a coyote hunting paradise thanks to millions of acres of public hunting land. This article goes into an in-depth analysis of laws and regulations regarding coyote hunting in the Hawkeye State of Iowa. Along the way, I will also try to answer a few FAQs related to coyote hunting in Iowa.

Coyote Hunting in Iowa

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources regulates all the coyote hunting activities in Iowa. Additionally, the department is also responsible for protecting and managing land, water, fish, and wildlife. It also helps in providing access to outdoor recreation opportunities in Iowa.

The state of Iowa has classified coyotes as Furbearing Mammals. That is why there is neither any closed season nor any bag limits while hunting coyotes in Iowa.

Related: Coyote Hunting in Mississippi: Rules and Regulations 2022

Do you need a license to hunt coyotes in Iowa?

Both residents and non-residents will need to purchase a hunting or fur-harvester license to hunt coyotes in Iowa. However, if you want to trap coyotes, you must purchase a fur harvester license.

A hunting license is not required for youths under 16 if accompanied by a licensed adult(18 or older). Moreover, qualifying resident and nonresident landowners or tenants may not require a hunting license when hunting or trapping coyotes on their own land. Lifetime hunting licenses are also available for qualifying residents.

Nonresident fur harvester wanting to purchase an Iowa nonresident fur harvester license may do so only if their state of residence also sells a nonresident Fur harvester/Trapping License to Iowa residents.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources collects social security numbers from all persons obtaining hunting, fishing, or other recreational licenses under section 252J.8 of the Code of Iowa and 42 U.S. Code 666(a)(13). To determine your eligibility for licenses, your social security number will serve as your primary identification number. It will be made available to enforcement agencies for them to establish, modify, and enforce child support and tax obligations. Don’t worry, it WILL NOT appear on your hunting or fishing license.

Bear in mind, upon request, you must show your license, certificate, or permit to any peace officer or the owner or person in lawful control of the land/water on which you are hunting or trapping. You must possess your license, certificate, or permit either in physical or electronic form.

You can purchase all the necessary licenses and permits to hunt coyotes in Iowa through GoOutdoorsIowa.

Hunting Education Course Iowa

Both resident and nonresident hunters born after January 1, 1972, must satisfactorily complete a hunter education course in order to obtain a hunting license. A person who is 11 years old or older may enroll in a course, but those who are 11 and successfully complete the course shall be issued a certificate of completion, which becomes valid only on that person’s 12th birthday. Residents under the age of 12 can be issued deer and turkey licenses, but the youth hunter must be accompanied by and under the immediate control of, or direct supervision of, a licensed adult hunter. For fore information on the course, class dates, and locations, please call 515-725-8200 or visit

Alternatively, a hunter education certificate issued by another state or certain foreign nations will also meet the above requirement. However, you will require proof of completion before purchasing your first Iowa hunting license.

Coyote Hunting seasons in Iowa

There is no closed season for hunting coyotes in Iowa. You may hunt coyotes 24 hours a day year-round. However, coyote trapping season starts on November 6 and ends on January 31, 2022.

Can you hunt coyotes at night in Iowa?

You may hunt coyotes even at night in Iowa. Just remember that sights that project a light beam, including laser sights, are not legal for hunting coyotes in Iowa. Bear in mind, you may use an infrared light source to hunt coyotes as long as the infrared light source is mounted to the instrument used to hunt or to a scope mounted on the instrument used for hunting. HOWEVER, you may not use an infrared light source while hunting coyotes during any established muzzleloader, bow, or shotgun deer hunting season in Iowa.

Moreover, you cannot cast the rays of a spotlight, headlight, or other artificial light on a highway or in a field, woodland, or forest for the purpose of spotting, locating, taking, or attempting to take or hunt a coyote while having in possession or control, either singly or as one of a group of persons, any firearm, bow or other devices capable of killing or taking a bird or animal. This rule doesn’t apply to hunting raccoons or other fur-bearing animals when they are treed with the aid of dogs.

Bag limits for coyote hunting in Iowa

Since coyotes are classified as Furbearer species, there are no daily, or annual bag limits on hunting coyotes in Iowa. Additionally, there are also no bag limits for trapping coyotes in Iowa. All in all, you may hunt coyotes in Iowa year-round without having to worry about the season or bag limits.

Where to hunt Coyotes in Iowa?

Iowa provides excellent habitat for hunting coyotes across much of the state’s vast checkerboard of agricultural land interspersed with woods, brush and grasslands well-suited for the adaptable canine. Public land access exists in the form of wildlife management areas, state forests and federal waterfowl production zones harboring dense coyote populations.

Northcentral Iowa contains robust coyote numbers on the 40,000 acre Eagle Lake Wildlife Management complex spanning Hancock and Cerro Gordo counties. The area provides the mix of open fields and wooded tracts that coyotes thrive within while hunting rabbits, deer and livestock. In Eastern Iowa, Maquoketa Caves State Park also hosts populations.

The far western counties lining the Missouri River also offer prime coyote habitat on Loess Hills State Forest and neighboring wilderness tracts that harbor the clever canines year-round for hunters willing to use calling techniques. Decatur County in particular sees consistent populations on its public lands. Checking seasons and regulations is advised.

You may use a one or two-way mobile radio transmitter to communicate the location or direction of coyotes or to coordinate the movement of other hunters. However, the use of a two-way radio transmitter is unlawful during the two shotgun deer hunting seasons. Bear in mind, if you are hunting coyotes with the aid of dogs, you may use a one-way mobile transmitter to track or aid in the recovery of the dog at any time.

Using the aid of decoys while hunting coyotes is perfectly legal in Iowa. A “decoy” is a replica of a bird or animal that is used to attract game into shooting range. Motorized or mechanical decoys are only legal for waterfowl hunting. Furthermore, from one-half hour after sunset until midnight each day, the employment of decoys is prohibited in all wildlife management zones. Additionally, between midnight and one-half hour after sunset, you must not leave decoys unattended for more than 30 minutes.

Since the ownership of suppressors is not legal, you may not hunt coyotes using suppressors in Iowa. There are no specific restrictions for firearms. However, any firearm deemed in Iowa Code as offensive or exceptionally dangerous is not lawful to hunt coyotes in Iowa.

You cannot use any chemical, explosive, smoking device, mechanical ferret, wire, tool, instrument, or water to remove fur-bearing animals from their dens. Moreover, you shall not molest or disturb, in any manner any den, lodge, or house of a coyote except by written permission of an officer appointed by the director of the DNR.

You cannot shoot any rifle on the public highways or waters of the state or any railroad right-of-way in Iowa. Furthermore, you must not discharge a shotgun shooting a slug, pistol, or revolver on or over a public roadway.

You may not discharge a firearm or hunt coyotes within 200yds of a building inhabited by people or livestock. The only exception is if the owner or tenant has given you the consent to do so.

Can you use dogs to hunt coyotes in Iowa?

You can use dogs to pursue or hunt coyotes in Iowa. However, you must have a hunting license or a fur-harvester license and habitat fee to train a dog on coyotes. Dogs are restricted on state-owned game management areas between March 15 and July 15 of each year. Dog training, on the other hand, is legal in designated training areas.

Coyotes, when pursued to a tree or den, shall not be further chased or removed in any manner from the tree or den. You may only use a pistol, revolver, or other gun shooting blank cartridges while training dogs during closed hunting seasons.

If a dog enters a licensed field trial, the hunter does not need any type of hunting license to participate in the event or to exercise the dog on the area on which the field trial is to be held during the 24-hour period preceding the trial.

Remember, bringing dogs six months or older into the state of Iowa requires you to have in possession a health certificate verifying rabies and other vaccinations of the dog.

Can you hunt coyotes from a vehicle in Iowa?

You may not intentionally attempt to pursue, kill or hunt coyotes from or within an aircraft in flight, or with any vehicles including snowmobiles. Bear in mind, the US Federal Government considers Drones as aircraft. Therefore, you can not use drones while coyote hunting in Iowa.

Furthermore, the use of any motorized vehicle is unlawful in all game management areas. Motor vehicles in this case mean any self-propelled vehicles, including ATCs and snowmobiles. The exception is, of course, on areas designated as roads and parking lots.

Keep in mind, any individual who has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits their ability to walk, stand, bend, or lift may access game management areas with a manually-operated or power-driven wheelchair or scooter if the device is designed primarily for use by such individuals.

Additionally, mobility disabled persons who wish to use some other power-driven device for mobility assistance, such as an ATV, or golf cart, must contact the manager prior to accessing any game management areas.

You shall not carry a gun in or on a vehicle on a public highway; unless the gun is taken apart, broken down, or totally contained in a securely fastened case and its barrels and attached magazines are unloaded.

Moreover, you must transport handguns unloaded in a closed and fastened container or securely wrapped package too large to conceal on your person or in a cargo or luggage compartment that is not readily accessible to any person in a vehicle.

And lastly, in the case of muzzleloaders, you must case them too. It’s considered “unloaded” if the cap is removed from the nipple or the priming charge is removed from the pan.

Are there are bounty programs for hunting coyotes in Iowa?

No, there aren’t any bounty programs for coyote hunting in Iowa at this time. However, if any news pops up, we will update this section accordingly.

Final Thought on Coyote Hunting in Iowa

Hunters must remember that their hunting methods reflect on all hunters. We want to emphasize respect for landowners and property lines in particular with our coyote hunters.

Before you go hunting, make sure you have permission. Take the extra time to close their gates, follow the rules for safe shooting, and thank the landowner.

The majority of coyote hunting occurs on private land, and hunters occasionally cross property lines, resulting in trespassing complaints.

  • Close all gates that has been opened, do not trespass where permission has not been granted, and follow fair chase principles.
  • You must not shoot over any road right-of-way, whether gravel or paved.
  • If you’re going to run dogs, make sure you have permission from all of the landowners in the area where the hunt will take place.
  • Make certain that the target is a coyote and not a dog.

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