Polk County Conservation

Controlled Bowhunt Hunter Requirements

This fall, special use permits allowing bowhunters to participate in a controlled bowhunt for antlerless deer will be issued by the organizations listed at the bottom of this information.

The bowhunt is limited to antlerless deer only, and will take place from Sept. 15, 2018 - Jan. 27, 2019 (each organization may adjust this season). This bowhunt is being held in response to continued growth in 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, potential hunters must do the following:

  • Pass an approved "one-time" International Bowhunter Education Foundation (I.B.E.F.) bowhunter safety education course.
  • Pass an annual National Field Archery Association (N.F.A.A.) archery proficiency test. This test will consist of shooting 20 arrows—10 from 20 yards and 10 from 15 yards—at a full-sized 3-D deer target. Hunters must score 80% or better in the vital target area to pass. 
  • Apply with each respective organization for a special use permit.
  • Meet with a representative from the organization to review the rules of the hunt and the boundaries of the special hunting areas.
  • Purchase a special Polk County antlerless deer license for each harvest. (the regular bow hunting license is not valid within the deer management zone)

Bowhunter Safety Education Courses are available online by visiting http://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/HunterSafetyEducation/BowHunterEducation.aspx.

Archery Proficiency Testing is available to those hunters who wish to become certified for the upcoming season by calling Archery Field and Sports at 515-265-6500.

The following organizations offer hunting locations through the Urban Deer Bowhunt program. Each organization must be contacted separately to receive their respective special use permit and obtain permission 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


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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