Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Sandstone cliffs, deep valleys and coldwater trout streams aren't typical Iowa terrain, but these unique habitats are all part of Driftless Area NWR in the northeast part of the state. The refuge is located in the "driftless area" of the Upper Midwest, a portion of the region that remained unglaciated during the last Ice Age about 12,000 years ago. Existing glaciers surrounded, but did not pass over, this land. Today, this refuge is home to the Iowa Pleistocene snail, found only in this area. The refuge permits archery and muzzleloader hunting for deer, which are numerous in the wooded habitat. Upland bird and game hunting is also open. While Iowa is best known by bird hunters for its pheasant, the refuge provides a good, and overlooked, opportunity for ruffed grouse hunting. The woodlands and steep slopes provide perfect habitat for this fast-flying game bird.  For more information visit the rules and policies page.