Iowa Opens Door for Non-Resident Disabled Hunters

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A new Iowa law will promote many more nonresidents, age 21 years and younger and who are disabled or terminally ill, to hunt deer and turkey in the state.

There are a growing number of national and community organizations that cater to disabled young hunters, such as Make A Wish, Special Youth Challenge and Hope Outdoors. They recruit youngsters across the nation to hunt, fish and enjoy outdoor experiences under carefully planned and volunteer-supported outings. Where costs become obstacles to the youth, the organizations often help them with expenses.

There is no limit to the number of these Iowa licenses, although each person can have only one deer and one turkey license per year. The nonresidents must have a physician's certificate of disability or terminal illness, the application form for which is available from the DNR at 515-281-5918. These new nonresident licenses cost the same as regular nonresident deer and turkey licenses.

The new law was championed by Rep. Gary Worthan, R-Buena Vista and Sen. David Johnson, R-Osceola after being asked by representatives from Special Youth Challenge (SYC). A director of SYC, Phil Driver of Linn Grove, said his group of more than 100 volunteers last year raised $25,000 to take about 25 disabled youth on various hunts. Only three of those were nonresidents but he has already had seven nonresidents apply this year.

The new national director of Hope Outdoors is Aaron Volkmar of Boone. Volkmar is in the first year of a three-year effort to develop a state-of-the-art facility in southern Iowa for up to 40 disabled youth hunts per year. Volkmar, who is also owner of TNT The Outdoor Explosion television show that will debut next year, is anxious to involve national celebrities and use his TV show to share the kids' experiences and promote similar involvement around the country.

For more information, contact: Ross Harrison, ross.harrison@dnr.iowa.gov, 515-281-5973