Buck Hollow Sporting Goods - click or touch to visit their website Midwest Habitat Company

Question for NR's

Thinkin Rut

PMA Member
I'm curious to know....if Iowa hovers at or slightly below in our deer population, are we still miles ahead of your home state to the point of buying ground here? Let us know your home state and the last time that you hunted Iowa.
Body size, rack potential, far exceed what we have in Alabama. I hunted Iowa in 2012, and yes if I could afford to buy land out there I would
Thinkin, Iowa is still far ahead of my home state of PA for a few different reasons but the most glaring is lack of hunting pressure. Guys here constantly say stay at home and fix your own deer herd, etc. It's difficult with our hunting pressure. I think Iowa grows big deer primarily because of comparatively low hunting pressure. In PA we put nearly 1 million, yes million, gun hunters in the woods the first day of rifle season. Iowa 's pressure is a tenth of that. I enjoy not being bothered and that is why I bought in Iowa. I would say the next destination state will be North Dakota for the same reasons. No people.

But, as stated in other threads Iowa is supplementing lack of pressure with more and longer seasons impacting the deer population. Unless curtailed I do think NR's will seek other states.
Last edited:
I'm curious to know....if Iowa hovers at or slightly below in our deer population, are we still miles ahead of your home state to the point of buying ground here? Let us know your home state and the last time that you hunted Iowa.

I have not hunted Iowa before. I do have several contacts in the state and I'm sitting on 3 points currently. My home state is Indiana. The biggest advantage to Iowa has nothing to do with deer population. You have more management minded landowners who own larger parcels than my home state. The genetics are better and more deer get to reach maturity in certain areas of your state.

Not all ground in Iowa is worth buying nor was it at any point IMO. You have to locate the right management minded area to make it worth your while. Simply buying in Monroe, Davis, Wayne, Wapello, Henry etc is not enough IMO.

If I purchase ground in Iowa it's a pure investment play as it would be in any other state I buy in. Right now isn't the time to buy in Iowa.
Deer numbers are probably lower in Iowa than here in Ky, but hunting pressure is lower and age structure is much better in Iowa.

I will become a Iowa resident as soon as possible.........
I think the thing most people miss who purchase ground is the economics of hunting there. It's nearly impossible to control unless you hook up with a trustworthy resident to manage the property for you. Pulling a tag 1 out of every 3-4 years it's worth tying up a ton of money in ground. States such as Kansas, Missouri, Nenraska or Oklahoma can offer just as big of deer for comparable prices that you can hunt every year.....
Comparing Iowa's deer herd to Arizona's is truly apples to oranges. We have some monster muleys and the Coue's whitetail are a blast, but an adult Coue's whitetails is still smaller than a yearling Iowa whitetail. Most Iowa does are bigger than most AZ bucks of either species. Having said that, I'd buy land in Iowa in a heartbeat, but not strictly for hunting purposes. I grew up there, spending the first 23 years of my life there. Iowa truly is one of the best, if not THE best, place to raise a family. At some point, I'd like to move my family back there if I can tear myself away from the mountains and big elk. I'd consider spending my summer/fall in Iowa and then coming back down to Arizona in the winter (especially after seeing your winter this year)! Of course, I wouldn't leave for Arizona until after the rut!

I hunted a family farm in Iowa back in 2011 and harvested a nice buck. I've actually said the following before in a post a few years ago asking the same question. I'd buy land there, but I wouldn't expect or demand that I get a tag to hunt deer every year. I'd play the waiting game just like any other NR. That's the way it should be. I don't think NRLOs in Arizona (not that we have a bunch with all of our public) should have a tag to hunt every year just because they own land. Every state should always favor its residents over its NRs. If (when) I own land back there, I will have it managed by a trusted resident friend or two who will have sole access and hunting rights every year that I don't have a tag. My wife and I have spoken several times about buying out part of one of the family farms I hunt when my cousin's parents pass away to ensure that it stays in his family. His siblings have no interest in it, so we figure we'd buy those shares and then sell them back to my cousin's youngest son when he's got his feet under him. That way, the family farm will always stay in the family.

I may have a different approach and motivator than some NRLOs, but that's where I stand.
Iowa is better than my area in MN.

APR in SE MN has it creeping up the ladder, if our state expands APR we will have good hunting!!
Iowa is much better than my area of MN. I ended up buying in Missouri in 2005 and again in 2008. I would have bought in Iowa if not for the NR regs. My last Iowa hunt was in 2010 and it was marginal compared to previous hunts. I have enough points to draw this year but likely won't enter the draw for a few reasons. 1. My 2010 hunt was only so-so by Iowa standards and since then the population has taken a hit. 2. My Missouri hunts have been good the last 2 years. 3. It's damn spendy!!
This is one thing I can't understand. Buying ground right by the Missouri border in Iowa to hunt every 3 years. I personally would just buy in Missouri if it came to that.
I would say Iowa is lower in deer density compared to my home state of Pa but excels in quality for obvious reasons. The rich, fertile soil and age structure are key as well as the genetics that you have. We would be lucky in ten life times to even get a glimpse at a 160 class buck around here although there are some dandies since more areas practice QDM but not everywhere.

I have not hunted Iowa though I have 3 preference points and dream of the opportunity that now seems out of reach since I lost my job of 35 years two years ago and land purchase is not even thought of. I did hunt Saskatchewan a couple times and Illinois for 10 consecutive years looking for the once in a life time buck. Saskatchewan didn't provide me any opportunities for what I was looking for so I researched trophy records and decided to give Illinois a try since it was easier to get a tag and I was able to do a self hunt on private land.

My quest paid of there several times (one over 200") and the deer sightings were abundant in 2001 through 2003 in Illinois. It went down hill after that due to the outfitter craze that started back then and areas were over hunted. For the 1st several years I never seen another out of state vehicle on the back roads and the only traffic was the school bus and mail man. Boy has that changed! Do what you can to keep what you have!!!

I can understand animosity against non- residents to some point if they shoot anything they see but the outfitters are the ones who influence the deer populations the most because they get blinded by dollar signs and don't care about maintaining a good population. There are some that do and truly care and don't over hunt areas, especially the one I hope to have the privilege to hunt with some day.
My name is Jake. I live in the northern part of the lower peninsula of Michigan. We get the cold and a ton of snow due to the lake enhancement. There is a little agriculture and a few apple orchards around here in Manistee County. My biggest buck here in my home state is a 95" 3-1/2 year old. My two best friends killed 3 year old deer this year. Both 4x4 and one scored about 105" and the other 115" at best. And man we were pumped...these are nice deer. And just so you know the ages I mentioned were all confirmed by different taxidermists. We have sandy soil.... ( poor) and a bunch of pine trees for the deer to eat in the winter. So yes not a good combination. I say per square mile we have more deer than Iowa..but again that's not necessarily a good thing. To make the state's record book your typical deer has to score 100" if that tells you anything. I have hunted Iowa twice and have always had a great time.( private land) Personally I would not buy land in Iowa I would pick up a chunk in Missouri or Nebraska only because of the over the counter tag system.
This is one thing I can't understand. Buying ground right by the Missouri border in Iowa to hunt every 3 years. I personally would just buy in Missouri if it came to that.

I was born, raised in iowa never left and never plan on leaving and this is one thing you guys should look in to the ground is also alot cheaper in the area, the normal guy or even the semi rich guy doesn't have a chance of just walking in to iowa and buying land, most people who have land either fell in to it or it has been in the family for generations.
Ground in northern Missouri is not that far behind Iowa ground from a price standpoint. Not sure what you mean by fell into it but many would be surprised on the numbers of not so rich guys who own land. I bought land in Iowa by deciding to put money aside I would normally use in other areas. Also, my employer has a 401k plan and as a rule of thumb some put about 10% of their gross income into that plan. I decided to split that 10% by placing 5% in my 401 and using the other 5% to invest in land. It diversifies investments and enables me to enjoy the land investment as it gains value. One day I will sell my land as it is primarily an investment for later in life. Point is many sacrifice a ton to have land, did not have it handed down or are rich.
I am a nrlo. I also own land in Wisconsin which is managed fairly well. Even with the numbers being "lower" than other years, there still is no comparison to the deer we shoot in iowa compared to wi. I may hunt 2 4.5s and 5 3.5s per year in wi and have triple or more shooters in iowa. Granted we only shoot 5 yr olds in iowa, we have no problem filling tags when we come down. I am happy to see 10 deer a day in wi and see 50 to 100 a day in iowa. And pass on bucks almost every sit that I would take in a heartbeat in wi.
In my part of Northwest Michigan deer hunting, compared to Iowa is like comparing Iowas fishing to Michigans...there is no comparison. We have a lot of deer, a massive amount of hunters...and a mindset of kill the first legal buck that walks by (for the most part) I have not hunted Iowa for a number of years now and am awaiting the day I can return. I have hunted quite a few states and while I love hunting here at home...the quality of our deer just does not stack up to the rest of the mid west.
Just imagine...as good as Iowa was, (and will be in a few years once it recovers from EHD, overharvest, drought stress ) how incredible it would be IF it had a ONE buck limit like Ohio, Kansas, Kentucky.... maybe 2 bucks tops if you were a landowner. I believe Iowa could possibly blow all other states out of the water. One and Done = 2 Booners behind every tree ! ....would have to start planting more trees just to hide them all...
Been a NRLO since 2003. Live in one of the best counties in southern Michigan and it still stinks compared to our ground in Iowa. I haven’t hunted in Michigan in November in 15 years.

I’ve hunted deer in Iowa 04, 06, 07, 10, 12, 13.

This past November I didn’t really notice much of a decline in heard size from past years but all the landowners in our section manager their land for trophy bucks. We have missed EHD both of the last two years also. Best day this past fall I saw 13 different bucks, 8 were mature. If I'm lucky I'll see one 3.5er in Michigan each year.

We’re selling our ground this year cuz there’s no way I’m waiting 3-4 years to bow hunt. Prolly going to buy in Missouri, Illinois, or Kentucky. If it doesn’t sell I’ll start gun hunting it. I have a good spot in Nebraska I can bow hunt every year.
Whether it's perception or not. I still believe it would take a decade of terrible hunting before people would turn their head. Deer hunting in a lot of states is just that poor. Which reiterates the point of why would ANYONE NR or Resident want to ruin what Iowa has.
Last edited:
Top Bottom