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The first of Iowa’s two-day youth waterfowl seasons begin Sept. 25 in the north zone, allowing the kids to experience the fun of the hunt, without the pressure of keeping up with the adults, or fighting lousy weather.
“The young hunters get to spend some time outdoors and learn from an experienced waterfowl hunter in a one on one situation, and that’s priceless,” said Orrin Jones, state waterfowl biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
According to the Iowa DNRs weekly waterfowl survey, local ducks are still around, and some migrants have shown up. The DNR produces a weekly waterfowl survey from 19 areas that provide a snapshot of what ducks are here at a given time. The report is available online at https://www.iowadnr.gov/Hunting/Migratory-Game-Birds/Waterfowl-Migration-Survey.
Youth season in the north zone is Sept. 25-26, in the central zone is Oct. 2-3, and in the south zone is Oct. 9-10. Daily and possession limits for the youth season is the same as for the regular season.
The youth waterfowl season is for residents only, age 15 or younger, who may hunt without purchasing a hunting license, or federal duck stamp, or paying the Iowa habitat or migratory game bird fee. Each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult 18 years old or older and the adult must have a hunting license and have paid the Iowa wildlife habitat and migratory game bird fees.
Hunters planning to take a young person on this special hunt are reminded that only the youth may participate in the hunt and only ducks, geese, mergansers and coots are legal species. All other regulations in effect for the regular waterfowl seasons apply during the youth hunt.
New zone boundaries established for the 2021 season
New waterfowl hunting zone boundaries will be implemented during the 2021 waterfowl hunting season. It is important that hunters carefully review the zone boundaries and season dates relative to their intended hunting location. The new boundaries may change which zone certain locations fall within. For example, Green Island WMA in Jackson County was historically included in the North Zone, but will now be in the Central Zone. Season dates differ between zones.
For the fall 2021 through spring 2026 seasons, the North Zone is that part of Iowa north of a line beginning on the South Dakota-Iowa border at Interstate 29, southeast along Interstate 29 to State Highway 20 to the Iowa-Illinois border. The South Zone is that part of Iowa west of Interstate 29 and south of State Highway 92 east to the Iowa-Illinois border. The Central Zone is the remainder of the state.
DNR advising hunters to look for a change in HIP registration **Next Year**
Beginning Dec. 15, 2021, when the 2022 hunting licenses go on sale, all hunters who pursues migratory game birds will be required to register for HIP either through the Go Outdoors Iowa app on their smartphone, through a link at www.iowadnr.gov/waterfowl or at www.gooutdoorsiowa.com. Migratory game birds mean more than ducks and geese; in Iowa it includes ducks, geese, coots, doves, woodcock, rails, and snipe.
Once registered, hunters will need to write a confirmation number on their license, print an updated copy of their license with the confirmation or take a screenshot of their confirmation on their phone to show proof of registration. Requiring a confirmation number will allow the DNR to better track migratory bird hunters – a federal requirement.
The change was necessitated because registering through license vendors at the time of purchase has been inconsistent.