Iowa Deer Season Begins Saturday

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The first deer hunting opportunities of the year begin Saturday when the youth and disabled hunter deer seasons open.

In 2009, more than 8,700 youth hunters and 250 disabled hunters participated in the seasons, harvesting more than 3,500 deer. All youth season hunters must be accompanied by an adult mentor, and only one youth hunter is allowed per adult mentor.

"The goal of the youth hunt is for the participating youth to have a positive, enjoyable and ethical experience. Harvesting a deer should be considered a bonus and not define if the hunt was a success or not," said Tom Litchfield, deer research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"Deer will still be in their summer movement patterns for the most part," he said. Clover fields and soybeans that are still green would be two good options, as well as trails connecting bedding areas to feeding areas.

"We encourage the mentors to keep in mind the young hunter is not likely to have the patience, stamina or skills of an experienced or mature hunter," Litchfield said.

He said mentors can have a large influence on the youth hunter and they should not portray harvesting a buck as more important to harvesting a doe. "Harvesting antlerless deer is an important tool we use to manage our deer herd," Litchfield said.

The youth and disabled deer hunting seasons are open Sept. 18 to Oct. 3. Shooting hours are one half hour before sunrise to one half hour after sunset. Hunters using firearms are required to wear blaze orange. All deer taken must be reported using the harvest reporting system by midnight of 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.

Hunters may report their deer on the DNR's website, by calling the toll-free reporting hotline 1-800-771-4692, or at any license vendor. For hunters with internet access, reporting the harvest online is the easiest way to register the deer.