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Public Land: Hunting and Fishing in Iowa

March 15, 2013
Public Land: Hunting and Fishing in Iowa - 0

Iowa is well known for its exceptional whitetail hunting. What it's not known for is abundant public land. And for good reason. Iowa ranks 49th in the nation in terms of publicly-owned land.

Shimek State Forest

• 9,148 acres in southeast Iowa 

• Forest is broken into several tracts 

• Hunting opportunities include deer, turkeys and small game 

Loess Hills State Forest

• 11,000 acres

• Divided into four units in Western Iowa

• Offers deer and small game hunting

Stephens State Forest

• 15,000 acres

• Divided into seven units in south-central Iowa

• Hunting options include deer, turkeys, small game

Dekalb Wildlife Management Area

• 2,170 acres

• Offers upland bird hunting

• Deer, turkey and small game hunting options

Rathbun Wildlife Management Area

• 15,822 acres

• Contains Rathbun Lake which offers excellent warmwater fishing

• Hunting options include whitetails, turkeys, small game and pheasants

More Links

Where to Fish

Iowa WMAs

Find more public land access opportunities with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Hunt Planner.

Photo: Loess Hills State Forest

Photo credit: flickr

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About Open Country

Hunters and anglers across the nation consistently list one challenge as their primary obstacle to spending more time in the field: Access.

Outdoor Life's Open Country program aims to tackle that issue head on and with boots on the ground. The program highlights volunteer-driven efforts to improve access along with habitat improvements to make existing public lands even better places to hunt and fish. The program's goal is to substantially increase sportsman's access across the country by promoting events that make a difference.

Here on Open Country's blog page, contributors take a close look at access issues across the country. Some are public-policy discussions, where we investigate the nuances of public access. In other blogs, we shine a light on attempts to turn public recreation opportunities into private hunting and fishing domains. In still other blogs, we interview decision makers about access issues. Together, we fight for the ability of America's hunters and anglers to have a place to swing a gun or wet a line.

We promise the discussion is always lively, interesting, and fresh, so visit this page frequently to tune into the latest access issue.

The Open Country program culminates in grants and awards with top projects and participants being honored.

Submit a project for the Open Country Grant Award.
Nominate an individual for the Open Country Award.

Open Country



Event Calendar

  • June 1: Red Oak Planting in Gwinn Forest Management Unit
  • June 7: Pinegrass Restoration, Willamette River (Eugene, OR REMF Chapter). Contact.
  • June 7-8: Lower Deschutes River Thistle Cut (OR Foundation for North American Wild Sheep and OR Fish and Wildlife). Contact.
  • June 13-15: Prairie City Aspen Habitat Enhancement (Oregon Hunters Association, Capitol Chapter) Contact: 503-399-1234
  • June 21: Smith Ridge Meadows (Eugene, OR Chapter RMEF). Contact.