Chariton, IA – Iowa’s first two deer hunting seasons, the youth and the disabled hunter, open Sept. 17 and allow participants to hunt deer in a comfortable setting.

“These two seasons provide a wonderful opportunity for a young hunter or a disabled hunter to hunt deer in pretty favorable conditions when compared to the December shotgun seasons,” said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Each youth hunter must be accompanied by an adult mentor who has a valid hunting license and has paid the habitat fee. Mentors are encouraged to keep the needs and abilities of the youth in mind and to not make harvesting an antlered deer the definition of success.

“We want our hunters to have an enjoyable and successful experience, and harvesting a deer should not be the only focus. Mentors serve an important role in this regard,” Litchfield said.

Since deer are still in their late summer patterns, hunters should plan to hunt near food sources, such as clover fields or white oak trees bearing acorns because acorns are an attractive food source once they begin to fall.

Litchfield said mentors should be patient and not try to push the youth beyond their skills or stamina and to talk to the youth about sound deer herd management, including harvesting does.

The youth and disabled hunter seasons close Oct. 2.

In 2010, 8,550 youth hunters and 230 disabled hunters harvested 3,200 deer. Hunters may choose to use a firearm or bow during these two seasons. If using a firearm, the hunters are required to wear blaze orange. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset.

All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight the day after the deer is recovered. Accurately reporting the harvest is an important part of Iowa’s deer management program and plays a vital role in managing deer populations and future hunting opportunities.

For hunters with Internet access, the online harvest reporting is the easiest way to register the deer. Hunters can report their deer online at, by calling the toll free reporting number 1-800-771-4692 or at any license vendor.

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