Public Lands & Waters photo

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