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Iowa youth and disabled hunter deer season begins Sept. 19

From the Iowa Department of Natural Resources

-- Iowa deer hunting tradition will be passed on to about 8,000 youths who are participating in the youth deer hunting season, which opens  Sept. 19. 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.

"Our experienced hunters understand that harvesting does is crucial to sound deer herd management, and we need to pass that principle along to the next generation of hunters. Killing a buck should not be portrayed as being more important than taking a doe," said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The youth season runs through Oct. 4. Concurrently, disabled deer hunters who meet certain criteria will also have the opportunity to enjoy this early season opportunity.

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.

The deer, for the most part, are still in their summer movement patterns which make them a bit more predictable than they will be as autumn progresses. Clover and soybeans are currently attractive to deer and some activity is beginning to show up around pin oaks as well. Trails connecting feeding and bedding areas are also good bets with deer in summer patterns that are keeping their activities to a minimum.

Hunting hours are from one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. All hunters are reminded that if an antlered deer is killed, the transportation tag must be placed on the animal's antler. It is recommended that the tag be placed on the antler beam either at the base or between two points.

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 (, by calling (800) 771-4692) or at any license vendor.

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