Deer Management In Ottumwa

Goodwins deerThe purpose of this program is to manage the deer herd within the city limits of Ottumwa.  This helps reduce the instances of property damage and vehicle accidents caused by deer.   Since 2005, hundreds of deer have been safely harvested from within the city limits.   Removing female deer from the herd helps stabilize the population; a critical part of successful deer herd management.  If does are not removed, a deer population has the potential to double in size every year.


  • The City of Ottumwa Deer Harvest Program is limited to BOW HUNTING ONLY!  Firearms are strictly prohibited.   Each hunter must pass an annual archery shooting proficiency test.  The test consists of eight (8) out of ten (10) shots at an 8-inch diameter target placed at twenty (20) yards away. Proof of completed test must be presented with the permit application. Testing will be completed at Whitetail Outdoors in Agency, Iowa. Proficiency tests from other participating Iowa Cities will be accepted. Hunters must pass the proficiency test with the bow they intend to use while participating in the program.


  • Every hunter must possess a State of Iowa hunting license.   Hunters must comply with all Iowa DNR rules regulating archery hunting of deer. Ottumwa permits are only good within the city limits of Ottumwa.
    Download the 2016-2017 Iowa Hunting Regulations.


  • Each hunter must also possess an Ottumwa deer tag and comply with the City of Ottumwa Rules and Regulations for the Ottumwa Deer Hunt.  The Ottumwa deer tags are only available through the Wapello County Recorder’s Office.   The recorder’s office will be selling ALL tags including incentive buck tags. These tags are only valid within the City limits of Ottumwa.    View or download PDF copy of Ottumwa’s Deer Hunt Rules and Regulations.

The goal of the hunt is to maintain a stable deer population by managing the number of female deer in the herd.  As an incentive to harvest does, hunters who successfully harvest a minimum of three does during this season will qualify for an either sex license (buck tag) for the 2017-2018 season.
View or download a PDF copy of the Hunter Incentive Program Policy.

All hunters must obtain permission from property owners before hunting on private land.  Anyone hunting on private property without permission is trespassing and subject to criminal charges.      Iowa law does allow a hunter to enter property in pursuit of game lawfully injured or killed which come to rest on or escape to the property of another.

The hunter agrees to maintain a minimum distance of 150 feet from any occupied buildings, 150 feet from any property owned by the Ottumwa School District, 75 feet from any unoccupied buildings, and 75 feet from any street or trail, unless permission is granted from a property owner. Hunters may hunt the property lines (except property owned by the school district) but may not shoot across the property line without permission of the adjacent property owner.

     City property available for hunting, and their boundaries include:      

A. Wildwood Park, south of the Kettle Creek Bridge, west of the Frisbee golf hole #2 to the property line, signs will be posted. After Nov. 1 from 7:00 AM to 4:30 PM. No hunting in September or October. Hunters MUST locate their stands a safe distance from the roadway and Frisbee golf hole #2. Hunters should refrain from removing animals in the presence of children or by-standers.

B. Ottumwa Cemeteries- Only with the permission and under the direction of the superintendent. Contact 641-683-0687 or 641-680-1522.

ARROW IDENTIFICATION:  Each registered hunter will be issued a number for the purposes of tracking the ownership of un-recovered deer and investigating any complaints. These numbers will be written and clearly visible on every arrow used in the city of Ottumwa. Hunters may mark their arrows on either the fletching or the shaft. The numbers shall be written with a permanent marker in color that can be seen.  All hunters registering for the 2017/2018 season will receive a new arrow identification number.


Hunters who choose to hunt on city property are required to wear and secure a safety harness when hunting from a tree/tree stand.  Tree stand accidents are one of the leading causes of injury while hunting. According to the Iowa DNR, one in three hunters hunting from an elevated position will have a fall resulting in serious injury.


Any questions should be directed to Sgt. Blake Lefler, Ottumwa Police Department at 641.683.0661 or by email.   In case of an emergency and Sgt. Lefler is not available, ask the dispatcher to speak to the on duty supervisor.     

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The Ottumwa deer harvest program is a privilege granted by the City of Ottumwa and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources for the purposes of safely managing the deer herd within the City of Ottumwa.   The privilege of participating in this program is extended by the City of Ottumwa and can be suspended or revoked at any time for violations of fish and game laws set forth by the State of Iowa, rules established specifically for this program, and crimes committed against the City of Ottumwa.



Ottumwa’s deer season for bow hunters is September 16, 2017 through January 10, 2018.

For more information, contact Sgt. Blake Lefler, Ottumwa Police Department at 641.683.0661.

Each hunter must pass a proficiency test. Testing is conducted and certified by Whitetail Outdoors, 212 W Main Street in Agency, Iowa: Telephone (641) 937-0600.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources manages controlled deer hunting in 18 communities and 25 state and county parks across the state.

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If you observe or know of a fish or wildlife violation, report it to TIP as soon as possible!
Provide as much information as possible when you call, such as a description of the individual, vehicle and time and location of the violation. A state officer will be dispatched to investigate. Since 1985, the TIP program has approved $230,000 in reward payments. You can remain anonymous!


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Iowa Law requires hunters to show their license, certificate or permit to any peace officer or the owner or person in lawful control of the land or water on which they are hunting or trapping. Hunters must have their license, certificate or permit in their possession while hunting.

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