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WHAT TO DO: Non-Resident First-Timers

I have had a lot of people call me inquiring about hunts that do not know what it takes to hunt in Southern Iowa as a non-resident. So, this post will be to explain just that.


Setup an online user account with the Iowa DNR in their Licensing Portal

This is where you set up your account with your personal information, driver's license info, mailing address, etc. If you are born on or after Jan 1st 1972, you will also need to supply The Iowa DNR with your Hunter Safety Card/Certificate (proof of completion) so that you are allowed to apply for a deer tag in the future. This can be done by emailing The Iowa DNR Help Desk here: Be sure to supply them with your account info: full name, DOB, mailing address, DNR account number, phone number. They will reply back once completed. If you don't hear anything in one week, send a follow-up email. Of course, we can help you with this. Just ask! This account is what is going to allow you to purchase preference points and tags & licensing when the time comes. Without it, you're dead in the water. Do NOT procrastinate. Get it done yourself or let us do it for you!


Create a timeline and plan to hunt with MDLO per a specific season based on the current and predicted Iowa DNR Non-Resident Deer Tag Lottery System.

To learn more about the Iowa Non-Resident DNR Application Process, you can find it here on our website: where we have our own spin on the process. You can then go to the DNR's main page for Iowa Non-Resident Hunting here: to review information, dates, rules, guidelines, resources, etc. Last, if you still need help with something or understanding this system, you can call us directly at 563-320-6875 or read The Iowa DNR's webpage over the tag application & preference point process here:

You can NOT obtain an any sex (buck) tag AND a preference point in the same year. Annually, during the tag app and point purchasing window, you are able to 1) buy a point and skip the draw, which is best if you are still compiling the needed points to draw, or 2) use the current point balance from the prior cycle to apply for an any sex (buck) tag in a. respective season in a respective zone (TBD with MDLO). Drawing a tag will reduce points to 0 and it is not transferable nor refundable. Tag results come out in mid-to-late June each year.


Discuss options, availability, and then booking your hunt with MDLO

Besides the internet, calling and speaking with us verbally is one of your greatest resources to understand what goes into these hunts and acquiring these tags. We understand how difficult the process is, obviously, but for someone going through this from scratch for the first time, it can be a bit overwhelming. Please utilize MDLO to help you. We need you to select your hunt based on when you are likely to draw the tag. Bookings will take place 1-3 years out from the date of the hunt, and with the preference point topic with the tag system, you need to plan ahead and not procrastinate. Time is wasting and spots go fast when you only allow for 3-4 hunters per week. Part of this is knowing that if you want to hunt archery, you will (currently) need 5-6 preference points which means a 6-7 year wait if you are starting at 0 points. Everyone who is bowhunting Iowa goes through this long wait, so as painful as it is, it's not too painful to not hunt here. Also, the 2 regular season gun tags (Gun 1, Gun 2) are taking 0-1 point to draw right now. Late Muzzleloader is taking 1-2 points to draw right now. So, you could potentially hunt 3-6 times with a gun in Iowa before being able to do it with your bow. If you are split between gun and bow, that is truly your decision to make. If you want or need context to help decide, call us. We'd be happy to help. Once decided, and within the timeframe of 1-3 years out from your hunt, we recommend getting a deposit in. We only charge $500 for the deposit. If you book within 12 months of your hunt date, we require a 50% deposit with the remaining 50% being due after you draw by August 1st. Once your deposit is in, your slot is secure for you and you alone. Here is a list of what to do from the point of booking to the point of hunting:

If this still leaves some questions, do not hesitate to call us! We would love to help you come hunt with us. Thanks for reading!

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