In Case Involving Hunting Rights of Nonresident Landowners, Iowa Supreme Court Says That Landownership Does Not Give Owners Right To Hunt Property

December 9, 2013 | Kristine Tidgren


In a recent decision, the Iowa Supreme Court unequivocally held that “landownership in Iowa is not accompanied by the right to hunt on one's own land.” The Court reasoned that the legislature had extinguished any such right that may have existed at common law.

The question arose because three Iowa landowners challenged the Department of Natural Resources’ revocation of their resident hunting licenses on the ground that they did not qualify as Iowa residents under Iowa Code Chapter 483A. The landowners argued there was not substantial evidence to support the DNR’s finding that they were not “residents.” The landowners also asserted that Iowa Code § 483A.24, which grants certain hunting privileges to resident landowners but not to nonresident landowners, was an unconstitutional impairment of privileges protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV, Section 2, of the United States Constitution. The Court rejected each argument in turn.

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