Crossbow Hunting Regulations in Iowa

Our goal is to provide accurate information concerning the regulations for crossbow hunting in Iowa. These mandates are updated quite frequently and we may have missed one. Be sure that you check with your local government before hinting in Iowa with a crossbow. If you are not aware of how this is done, you may contact us for assistance.

Make sure to checkout our list of top 5 recommended crossbows for hunting in the USA if you’re looking to get started.

Crossbow Regulations in Iowa

Disabled hunters may obtain a crossbow hunting permit to harvest turkey and/or deer. Permanently disabled persons need only submit one application. Those who are temporarily disabled must submit an application to obtain a temporary hunting permit. This temporary permit is only valid for four months starting from the date of which it was issued. This permit may be renewed, if applicable, at that time.

The Iowa Administrative Code 571-15 (PDF) defines disabled person as a person who has a physical handicap of the upper extremities which makes it impossible to shoot a bow and arrow. This is to include difficulties in reaching or lifting with arms as well as fingering and handling.

  • Residents who are 70 years of age and older may obtain a permit for harvesting antlerless deer permit for use statewide.
  • The word crossbow indicates a weapon which consists of a bow mounted transversely on a frame or stock and designed to shoot an arrow, bolt, or quarrel by releasing the string. The trigger should be mechanical or electronic and possess a functional safety.
  • It is not lawful to harvest turkey or deer with crossbows that are designed to be fired with one hand or with pistol grips.
  • The projectiles used with crossbows for harvesting deer must be equipped with broadheads which are designed with at least 3 blades.
  • Explosives and/or chemicals may not be used with broadheads or arrows.
  • There are no current minimum diameter for broadheads or draw weights for bows.

Possible Errors

The data provided above is as accurate as possible to our knowledge. It is still possible that there may be an error. Should you discover an error in the above data please inform us so that we may correct it.


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  1. I am permanently disabled with Parkinson’s Disease. I am on disability. How do I receive permission to hunt with a crossbow and what are the requirements to buying a crossbow?

    1. You can download the application on line from the ia dnr site. You have to have a Dr fillin 3 check marks certifying you are disabled. Then you can fax or mail the form to the DNR and reveive your permit in a week or 3. Costs $4.00 for permanent permit.

  2. I’m a recently medically retired wounded Warrior. After 22 years as an Active Duty Infantryman and the last 15 years of deployments mostly with the 101st Airborne Division, I was anxious to get back to hunting after my Army career come to an abrupt end recently. I downloaded the Iowa DNR crossbow exemption form, had my doctor sign it (permanent), faxed the form back to the Des Moines office, waited an hour, called back to the Des Moines DNR office and paid the $2.00 fee via credit card. Since my wife dropped a REALLY sweet crossbow under the Christmas tree for me early, I wanted to get out asap so I went to Walmart immediately, purchased my archery tag. For the crossbow exemption, they went into the “Replacements” menu and I paid for it again to have printed right away so I can go hunting tomorrow morning. I could have waited a day or two for the Des Moines one to arrive but chose to replace the crossbow tag the DNR had mailed so I didn’t have to wait for it in the mail. Like to get out there before Gun 1 opens up. That’s my story and Im sticking to it.

  3. I have a crossbow permit due to being permanently disabled. Am I restricted to hunt during deer season only dates? Someone told me I could hunt the youth season. Is this correct?
    Thank you

    1. No, I am quite confident you need a permit from each Stare you wish to hunt if required by that particular state. Print off the disabled application and take it to your Dr and have him fill it out and sign it.

  4. Addition to prior post.
    Be sure to photocopy it/them prior to mailing it off to the respective state.
    I fell 25-30’ while setting a stand while coyote hunting and have severe lower back pain. Not a problem, the pain is a constant reminder of the Grace I’ve received. Blessed to be alive!
    I received a permanent IA permit and a five year MO permit… this was six years ago.

  5. Can you use a crossbow on spring turkey in place of a shotgun tag? I have severe back pain still after surgery on my back, and my balance is also terrible after my quadricep was cut in half by a chainsaw makes it difficult to do anything. Do you think these would pass for use?

  6. I will be 9 months pregnant in October and will not be able to pull back the bow safely and accurately. Does this count for a “temporary disability” so I can get my crossbow permit?

  7. Can anyone hung with crossbow during last muzzleloader season? I know some people who think they can without Dr. Signed disability form and I disagree

    1. No, it is illegal to use pistol grip crossbows that can be used with one hand in the state of Iowa to harvest a deer.

    1. You can, but you will still need to apply for a crossbow license like everyone else. You will have to have a physician sign off on the form as temporary or permanent disabled. Then send in the form. Otherwise you can hunt with a crossbow during late muzzleloader season.

  8. I don’t see what the difference is between being allowed use of a crossbow during late deer muzzleloader season by anyone regardless of age or health vs use of a crossbow by anyone during season 4 of the spring turkey season in last part of April through May…

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