Polk County Conservation


father and son duck hunting

Two of Polk County Conservation Board’s areas are open to hunting. Most of Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt is available to hunt all game. A portion of Jester Park along Saylorville Lake is open to waterfowl hunting only. All state and federal hunting laws apply.

Waterfowl Blinds

Polk County Conservation Board initiated a controlled waterfowl hunting program at the Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt in 1973. Each year, the program allows the reservation of up to 12 hunting blinds per day. Up to four people are allowed per blind. Hunting is allowed Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays from legal opening time until 1 p.m. The controlled program runs from the start of the early duck season through November 30 yearly. Blinds are located adjacent to waters that are part of a five hundred acre refuge. The program has been very popular with central Iowa hunters. The County’s operation is the only program of its kind still operating in the state. It has been popular for older hunters who find it difficult to wade in many public marshes, but can walk to individual blinds over dry land at Chichaqua. The layout of the area, access to the blinds, and the need for no boats make it more attractive. Accommodations are available for hunters with accessibility challenges.

Waterfowl hunting blinds at Chichaqua Bottoms Greenbelt can be reserved by calling the Chichaqua office at (515) 967-2596 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The twelve blinds are located in both marsh and woodland settings. Daily reservations are $30 per hunting blind. Chichaqua is a half hour northeast of Des Moines near Elkhart and Bondurant.

Non-Toxic Shot

Non-toxic shot (non-lead) is required of shotgun hunters on all Polk County Conservation Board land. The only exceptions include deer and turkeys. Lead shot may still be used at the designated trap range at Chichaqua. This new policy brings the Polk County Conservation Board in line with current regulations on many state and federally-owned Waterfowl Production Areas.

Controlled Bowhunt

The Polk County Conservation Board issues special use permits allowing bowhunters to participate in a controlled bowhunt for antlerless deer at several Polk County Conservation Board parks.

Special use permits will be issued for Brown’s Woods, Four Mile Creek Greenbelt, Jester Park, Mally’s Park, Sycamore Trail, Thomas Mitchell Park, and Yellow Banks Park. The bowhunt is limited to antlerless deer only, and will take place from from September 15, 2018 to January 21, 2019.  

This controlled bowhunt is being held in response to continued growth in the urban deer population that has resulted in damage to natural vegetation, increased deer/vehicle collisions, and damage to private landscaping. Urban deer populations can double every 3 to 4 years if left unchecked.

To participate in this program hunters must do the following:

  • Pass an approved bowhunter safety education course
  • Pass an archery proficiency test
  • Apply with PCCB for a special use permit
  • Meet with the Conservation Board Ranger to review rules of the hunt and the boundaries of the special hunting areas
  • Purchase a special anterless deer license (Zone 48).

Contact the following organizations and people to locate other places to hunt:

Des Moines Parks and Recreation Mike Gaul 515-248-6329
West Des Moines Parks and Recreation Dave Sadler 515-222-3444
City of Johnston Jim Sanders 515-727-7760
City of Urbandale Katelynn Cook 515-331-6892
Polk County Conservation Board Brian Herrstrom 515-967-4889
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Coty Thompson 515-276-4656 ext 6508
Walnut Woods State Park Tim Gedler 515-285-4502
City of Clive Jeff Theilen/Joel Pasco 515-238-0648/515-210-7581
City of Pleasant Hill Rick Courcier 515-208-8214

Contact Us

Administration Office
12130 NW 128th St
Granger, IA 50109

P: (515) 323-5300
F: (515) 323-5354

Monday – Friday, 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

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