Iowa’s young hunters will get to experience the first cackle and flush of the year during the youth only pheasant season Oct. 24-25.
The residents-only youth season gives Iowans age 15 and younger the opportunity to hunt for rooster pheasants without purchasing a license, habitat fee or taking hunter education. Youths must hunt under direct supervision of an adult age 18 or older that has a valid hunting license and habitat fee.
Special youth only seasons allows young hunters an opportunity for success without pressure or competition from other hunters. Only the youth are allowed shoot pheasants and they may bag one rooster per day.
Participants this year may experience higher success than in year past based on two factors: the crop harvest is running ahead of schedule and the pheasant population is its highest in the last eight years.
As the crops come out, pheasants will increasingly relate areas with habitat providing the youth hunters the opportunity for a higher success rate than in years when there is a lot of standing corn.
That extra 37 percent more pheasants counted in the August roadside survey will be a welcomed sight to the youth hunters.
Tips for a Safe Hunt
- Iowa law requires hunters to wear at least one of the following articles of visible, external apparel with at least 50 percent of its surface area solid blaze orange: hat, cap, vest, coat, jacket, sweatshirt, shirt or coveralls.
- Hunters should stay in communication with each other and to stay in a straight line while pushing a field.
- Discuss the hunting plan that spells out how the hunt will take place, each person’s role in the hunt and where each person will be at all times.
- Know exactly where standers will be located, especially when hunting standing corn or tall switch grass to avoid having the standers get shot by the pushers as they near the end of the field and the birds begin to flush.
- Make sure to unload the gun when crossing a fence or other obstacle to avoid it accidentally discharging.
- Properly identify the target and what is beyond it especially if hunting in fields that still have standing corn.
- If hunting with a dog, never lay a loaded gun against a fence. Hunting dogs are usually excited to be in the field and could knock the gun over causing it to discharge.
- Share the hunt. Take someone new along to help keep Iowa’s great hunting tradition alive.