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Iowa’s youth deer season begins September 17

Ready... aim... fire!
Ready… aim… fire!

DES MOINES – The Iowa deer hunting tradition will be passed on to about 10,000 youths who are participating in the youth deer hunting season, which opens on Sept. 17. This season provides an opportunity to teach deer hunting, wildlife behavior, and safe hunting practices to resident youths while they are under the watchful eye of a licensed adult.

For many young hunters, this will be their first experience hunting deer, and mentors are encouraged to take the needs of the new hunter into account when planning the hunt.

The goal of the hunt should be a positive, enjoyable, and ethical experience, and harvesting a deer should be considered a bonus, not define the success of the hunt.

The youth season coincides with the disabled hunter deer season for hunters who meet certain criteria. Each season runs September 17 through October 2.

Each youth must be under direct supervision of an adult mentor, with a valid license and habitat fee (if required). The youth license is valid statewide.

An unfilled youth season tag may be used during the early or late muzzleloader season or one of the two shotgun seasons only. That youth must follow all other rules specified for each season. However party hunting with a youth tag is not allowed. A deer must be harvested by the youth with the tag. However, that tag holder may obtain deer tags for other season, just as any other hunter can do.

The youth deer season usually has mild temperatures and biting insects. Hunters should be prepared in case they youth harvests a deer by bringing bags of ice to cool the deer cavity and by having a locker that can accept the deer for processing.

All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. Harvest reporting is a very important part of the deer management program in Iowa, playing a vital role in managing deer populations and hunting opportunities. Hunters can report their deer on the DNR website at, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.

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