Deer Permits To Apply For

3 Coveted Deer Permits to Apply for This Year

If you apply for deer permits in these three states, you stand a chance to take an awesome hunting trip this fall.

By the time most states' deer seasons have wound down, it's fair to say some are ready for the break. It's a good time to put the gear away and start to recover from a long hunting season. But for those of us that can't get enough, now is the time to start planning for next season and choose the drawn lottery hunts we're going to apply for.

Whether you are looking for a good deer hunt this fall or you are contributing to a long term preference point-earning strategy, you should highly consider these three states' coveted deer tags this application season. And if you have never applied, this is the year to start.

When developing this list of permits, factors such as trophy potential, public land opportunity, hunt-ability, and hunter mystique all contributed to these three choice deer permits. Check the most up-to-date info and deadlines from the respective state wildlife agencies, and apply while you can!



Iowa is legendary in deer hunting circles and has the reputation as the premier big buck producer in the country. Ranked third in total Boone and Crockett entries, Iowa has the numbers to back up that reputation. While not ranked number one in total entries (this would be Wisconsin), Iowa is still believed to be the destination to tag your giant buck.

When hunting Iowa, it'll take some research to find a property to hunt. Like most states east of the plains, public land is not exactly abundant. While there is enough to thumb through and discover a good spot, some of the best hunting might be uncovered by knocking on some doors and asking permission.

Unlike most Midwestern or eastern states, Iowa hunting is governed by lottery draw for nonresident opportunities. This keeps hunting pressure down and maximizes success potential for hunters that do hold a tag. The application period starts in May for general deer seasons, and applicants have the choice to apply for the archery season, muzzleloader season, or various gun seasons.

Iowa is separated into game management units. When filling out the application, you will choose a unit and hunting method. Some units and methods are more sought after than others, creating a distinction that's divided into "opportunity" hunts and "trophy" hunts. The difference is subtle and the odds to draw in Iowa on your first application are slim, but certain units might accommodate that hope better than others.

Luckily, Iowa does gift preference points to unsuccessful applicants that will increase your odds to draw the next time around. Applicants also have the option to purchase a preference point outright and not put their name in the drawing. This is ideal for planning hunts years down the road. Obtaining four to five preference points in Iowa is as close as you can get to a sure chance of drawing a coveted tag in this big buck paradise.

Licenses, information, and other resources can be found and researched at the Iowa DNR website, including the most recent non-resident deer hunting guide.


Kansas is another Midwestern big buck producer. It has a very respectable eighth place ranking in the Boone and Crockett record books. But unlike Iowa and other midwestern big buck destinations, Kansas has little bit of a western feel to it, and a mystique all its own. The state often finds a place on the bucket lists of hunters all across the country.

Much like Iowa, Kansas public lands only make up a small fraction of the state's total land mass. Don't get me wrong, there is plenty of public land to make a good hunt, but knocking on a landowner's door might lead to a once in a lifetime hunting experience.

Kansas utilizes a lottery draw system for nonresident hunting opportunities, and the application period spans the month of April. Applicants are asked to select a management unit and hunting method during the application process.

Odds to draw are not as staggering as Iowa, but applicants should not assume they will draw on their first or second try. Applying for a modern gun license in a desirable unit will present more difficult odds than an archery tag in a less desirable unit.

Kansas does award preference points as a consolation to unsuccessful applicants. And like Iowa, the state allows applicants to buy preference points without actually applying for a hunt in the following season.

Kansas does a good job of rewarding nonresident applicants with fair odds for tags while at the same time preserving their resource to ensure an awesome hunting experience for years to come.

All the information you'll need can be found on the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks website, and most importantly the non-resident application instructions and license fees.

New Mexico

New Mexico provides a completely different experience when compared to the states mentioned prior. This is the West. Deer hunting in this part of the world takes on a whole new meaning.

New Mexico is actually one of few states that offers huntable populations of whitetail, Coues whitetail, and mule deer, and deer tags are good for all three species. Their home ranges overlap but with a little bit of research, narrowing down a unit to target a specific species is possible.

Another thing that makes New Mexico vastly different from any Midwestern state is the sheer amount of huntable public land. More than half of New Mexico is state and federally owned land, so finding a place to chase deer shouldn't be a problem.

The lottery draw system in New Mexico is unique. It is considered a pure lottery draw and does not utilize preference or bonus points. Every applicant has the exact same odds to draw a permit as the other applicants in their pool, regardless of how many years they've applied.

New Mexico is divided into units and the application process is similar to the states previously mentioned, in that you'll be selecting a unit and method. However, depending on how and where you apply, applicants can significantly increase their odds by applying for an opportunity unit as opposed to a trophy unit.

It is worth noting that no more than 6% of state issued tags can be awarded to nonresidents, further decreasing the odds of success. In my mind, this makes it all the more intriguing. Some amazing opportunities exist if you draw this coveted permit.

For more on New Mexico hunting, check out the New Mexico Department of Fish and Game website, and be sure to read the latest regulations (which are released every year in late winter).

Even if you love hunting your home state, you should consider applying for an out-of-state hunt this fall. Traveling to new places and hunting new game can be a fun challenge. Whether you are chasing that Booner buck in states like Iowa or Kansas, or you want to explore what western deer hunting has to offer in New Mexico, you've still got to apply for the permit to have any sort of chance. And believe me, you'll be happy that you did.