Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Iowa [Check Laws Here]

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Pigeons look for places with plenty of food and protection from predators and weather. So, your lush green garden might be their new perfect home. It is complicated to remove pigeons after they have moved in. But is it illegal to kill pigeons in Iowa?  

No. It is not illegal to kill a pigeon in Iowa. However, causing any harm to wildlife for no valid reason is forbidden. Most pigeon species are unprotected. So you can hunt them at any time. But, to hunt migratory pigeons, you will have to wait for Small games.  

Killing pigeons is not illegal, but you must know the rules. This article explains all pigeon hunting rules and regulations in the state. 

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Iowa?

It is legal to hunt and eat all pigeon species in Iowa. The state protects almost all the birds except for game birds in season and Feral pigeons. So, you can take down as many Rock pigeons as you want at any time. But to hunt Mourning doves and Eurasian collared doves, you will have to wait for Small game.  

The dove hunting season begins in September. It continues for the next 70 consecutive days in the entire state. During hunting season, you can harvest 15 doves daily. But the possession limit is 30 of each dove specie. It is unlawful to take down doves off-season. So, it might be better for you to recognize their features before going on a hunt.  

Eurasian collared dove 

Eurasian collared doves have plump bodies, small heads, and long tails. They are longer than the Mourning doves. Their wings are tan, broad, and slightly rounded at the edge. They are chalky light brown with white tail feathers and dark-tapped wings.  

Mourning dove 

Mourning doves are tan brown with pointed tails bordered in white. They are 9 to 13 inches long, and the head is small and round with a dark prominent black spot under the eye. They have black spots on the wings. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Iowa?

It is not illegal to hunt and eat pigeons in Iowa. But the federal authorities prohibit hunting of doves off-season. There are two dove species in the state Mourning doves and Eurasian-collared doves.  

The state protects Mourning doves as they are migratory birds. All migratory birds are under MBTA or Migratory Bird Treaty Act. According to this act, one cannot kill, harm, sell or trade migratory pigeons without a permit. So, to hunt Mourning doves, you will have to wait for hunting season or Small games.  

Eurasian collared doves are nonnative pigeon species. They were introduced in the state. Few states protect these doves, while others allow hunting them all year. But Iowa wildlife association allow collared dove hunting only during small games, making them a protected specie. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Iowa State 

Every citizen must live their life by the law. So, hunters must follow the rules. These laws are to conserve wildlife and to ensure safe hunting within limits. It is also the most effective way to control the population of pigeons. The following are the essential rules that you must know before hunting. 

Hunting Education Course  

Iowa law requires that anyone born on or after January 1, 1972, must have a hunter education certificate before purchasing a hunting license. There is no charge for the course. It is a ten-hour program that teaches ethics and responsibilities.

Hunter education also guides the students on the use of firearms and safety measures. People above 11 can take this course. But those who are 11 and have completed the program will be given the certificate once they turn 12. There are four options for classes, and you can easily apply online. 

Hunting License  

All hunters must possess a hunting license on the field. The hunting license depends on your residence, age, and background. Resident hunters under 16 can hunt without a hunting license. But, they must be under the direct supervision of an adult licensed hunter above 18.

Non-residents under age hunters are required to have their non-resident youth preserve license and habitat fee. However, it is not necessary for them to complete hunter education. 

Removal Of Nuisance Wildlife 

It is better to contact NWCO or National Wildlife Control Operation to remove nuisance pigeons from your property. They help you remove pigeons or any other wildlife from your home or business. NWCO is not a government-run organization. It is a private business licensed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

Hunting Hours 

Legal pigeon shooting hours in Iowa begin a half hour before sunrise to sunset.   

The state allows two types of firearms for pigeon hunting: air rifles and shotguns. Handguns or air rifles can only be used for Rock pigeons. The shotguns are to hunt doves. They must not have a cartilage larger than No.6. Plus, shotguns must not hold more than three pallets while hunting migratory doves. 

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Iowa state? 

Pigeon hunting is legal. But it is easy only if you know the law. So, you must know all the rules and procedures before going on a hunt. Given below are some pointers to help you.  

  • Complete the Hunter education program online or in class. You must have a certificate to purchase the hunting license. 
  • The hunting license is available online, or you can also buy it via an agent. 
  • Carry your hunting license and permit on the field. The hunting license can be in print or on an e-device.   
  • It is not necessary for people under 16 to have a hunting license. 
  • To take down doves, you will have to wait for small games. Dove hunting usually begins in September. You must have a permit to participate in it. 
  • It is not legal to use the weapon on Sunday. 
  • The authorities prohibit decoys, traps, and electronic callings to hunt doves.   
  • Avoid shooting pigeons on public roads, streets, highways, leave, or any railroad. It is also illegal to hunt birds from a motorized vehicle or boat.   
  • Wear at least 500 meters of blaze pink or orange clothing on the hunting field.  
  • Collect harvest in separate bags according to their species.   
  • Inform the bag count and possession limit of the wildlife authorities.   

Summing Up

It is legal to shoot and hunt pigeons in Iowa. But for dove hunting, you will have to wait for the hunting season or Small games. The doves in the state are protected species. But you can take down Rock pigeons at any time.  

When nuisance pigeons loiter on your property, it is better to contact the NWCO rather than take them down on your own. Pigeon or dove shooting might sound easy, but you must abide by the laws. The essential hunting laws are discussed above. These laws are for your own safety and to conserve wildlife.