Sticker Shock: Iowa Non-Resident Deer Tags Cost $544

Iowa has had, for the last several years, one of the priciest non-resident deer tags going. Still, in the seasons I was lucky enough to draw (it is typically a 3-year wait for an NR bow tag), I gladly paid the $400-plus fee. In my experience, there are few places better than Iowa if you're a whitetail nut with big deer on the brain. Plus, I'm fortunate enough to have a couple of good buddies that a) live there b) own fine whitetail ground, and c) let me hunt. Honestly, I go there just as much for the camaraderie as I do the world-class hunting.

But I have to admit to a little sticker shock when I found out a Hawkeye State deer tag has now risen--make that soared--to over $500. This fee includes an either-sex deer tag, a mandatory antlerless-only tag, a hunting license, and a habitat stamp. Sure, the hunting license/habitat fee can also be used for small game and upland birds, but if I have no interest in those species (many hunters don't), I'm paying $544 for a deer tag.

Am I alone in feeling this is an awfully hefty price? There are few nonresidents who enjoy hunting Iowa deer as much as I do. And maybe it's the economy in general that has me troubled over this sudden license hike. There are two weeks left for the application deadline, and every time I sit down to fill the thing out I just can't complete the task. As one friend noted the other day: "Of course Iowa has every right to charge whatever they want for these licenses. Supply/demand is part of our economy. But for me, the demand part of the equation just took a big hit."

Your thoughts?