The first two Iowa deer hunting seasons begin September 21, when the youth season and disabled hunter season open statewide. The youth season is an opportunity for a mentor to provide a positive, one-on-one experience without competition from other hunters.
Mentors should strive to make the time in the field a positive, enjoyable experience. Harvesting a deer is actually a bonus and should not define if the hunt was ultimately successful or not. Mentors should keep in mind that the youth will not likely have the patience, stamina or skills of the mentor.
Hunters 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 to increase their chance of seeing a deer.
Hunters should also be prepared to deal with warm weather. This means having something to drink and being prepared to process any deer quickly by getting the deer to a locker or skinning and boning the deer out and getting it in a cooler and on ice.
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. All Youth season hunters must be accompanied by an adult mentor. Only one youth may accompany each adult mentor.
In 2012, nearly 9,700 youths and 290 disabled hunters harvested more than 3,900 deer. 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.
Any 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.