A new option is available for Iowa residents as the state launches apprentice license program.
Residents in the state of Iowa will soon have a new avenue for getting youth and others involved in hunting through an apprentice license program with no hunter safety course required. Signed by Governor Terry Branstad during the 2015 legislative session, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) hopes the new apprentice license program will bring a sudden influx of new hunters into the sportsman community.
The apprentice program is set up to offer those who have not hunted in the past an opportunity to experience various hunting seasons so long as they're accompanied by an experienced, safety certified hunter during all of their hunts for that season. As reported in the Spencer Daily News, hunter education administrator for the Iowa DNR, Megan Wisecup stated, "The idea behind this program is to catch the generation of Iowans who missed hunter education when they were 12 and are now in their 20s and 30s and are interested in trying dove hunting or small game hunting."
The Iowa DNR will host a public hearing in Des Moines from 1-2 PM on April 20th, 2016. The hearing will offer a format for comment or questions from those interested in the program or opposed to it.
While those under the age of 16 will still be required to obtain youth licenses through traditional means, attending hunter education courses and purchasing youth season licenses, anyone age 16 or older may choose to forego hunter education training and purchase a license under the apprentice license program, so long as they are hunting with another licensed, trained partner during their time in the field.
However, those who take advantage of this apprentice license program are only allowed to do so twice before they are required to enroll in an approved hunter education course. Like an appetizer, the Iowa DNR is hoping this small taste of hunting will be enough to convince these hunters to go on to receive proper training and becoming life long hunters.
Comments and suggestions on the program will be accepted until April 20th. Parties wishing to comment may contact Megan Wisecup, Law Enforcement Bureau, Department of Natural Resources at 502 E. Ninth St., Des Moines, IA 50319, or by emailing [email protected].