The first two Iowa deer hunting seasons begin September 15, when the youth season and disabled hunter season open statewide.
The youth season is geared toward a positive, one-on-one experience with a mentor without the competition from other hunters.
“We want this youth season to be a positive, enjoyable experience where harvesting a deer is actually a bonus and not a make or break moment defining if the hunt was successful or not,” said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
“Mentors should take the needs of the youth in to account and keep in mind that the youth will not likely have the patience, stamina or skills of the mentor,” Litchfield said. “Ideally, the youth will learn to be ethical hunter based on the practices they learn during their time with their mentor.”
Hunting deer in September should focus on areas like clover fields, soybeans that are still green, timber with oak trees dropping acorns or along trails connecting bedding areas to food or water sources.
In 2011, 8,850 youths and 240 disabled hunters harvested nearly 3,400 deer.
Iowa residents who are younger than 16 on the day they buy their license are eligible for the youth season. If they turn 16 prior to using the youth license, they must buy a hunting license and habitat fee.
Youth hunters may hunt with a bow, shotgun or muzzleloader. Blaze orange is required for hunters using firearms. Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
All Youth season hunters must be accompanied by an adult mentor. Only one youth may accompany each adult mentor.
All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. Accurately reporting the kill is an important part of Iowa’s deer management program and plays a vital role in managing deer populations and future hunting opportunities. Hunters can report their deer on the DNR website www.iowadnr.gov, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor. For hunters with Internet access, the online reporting of your harvest is the easiest way to register your deer.