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Iowa’s youth deer season begins Sept. 16

  • 9/12/2017 3:55:00 PM
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The Iowa deer hunting tradition will be passed on to about 10,000 youths who will participate in the youth deer hunting season, which opens on Sept. 16. 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. 

“This season is all about creating a positive experience for the hunter. It’s a learning season where mentors work one on one with the youth teaching hunting ethics and woodsmanship skills,” said Jim Coffey, forest wildlife research biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

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

Coffey said during late September, hunters should set up near movement areas, like between bedding sites and food sources, along known deer paths and by acorn producing white oak trees.

The youth season coincides with the disabled hunter deer season for hunters who meet eligibility criteria.  Both seasons runs Sept. 16 through Oct. 1.

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

In addition, an unfilled youth season tag is valid for use during the early or late muzzleloader season or one of the two shotgun seasons. 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. Youth hunters are also allowed to obtain deer tags for other season, just as any other hunter can do.

The youth deer season can bring mild temperatures and biting insects.  Hunters should be prepared for success by talking to the meat locker ahead of time and bringing frozen water jugs and/or bags of ice to cool the deer cavity. They may want to bring a protective cover like cheese cloth to help keep bugs off the fresh harvest as well.

All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system before 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 have three options for reporting their harvested deer, the DNR website at, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor.