October Woodlands

Posted by on Oct 20, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on October Woodlands

October Woodlands

The season is changing and white-tail bucks are beginning to shift gears.  Along the edge of Iowa’s woodlands, fresh scrapes are beginning to appear as bucks mark territories  and announce their presence.  I normally don’t start bow hunting for deer until the first week of November.  This year, however, I decided to do my own gear shifting and take advantage of what has recently turned out to be beautiful October weather.    Settling into the edge of a mature woodland, it didn’t take long to realize that I had made a good...

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Best Duck Season Ever

Posted by on Oct 12, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Best Duck Season Ever

Best Duck Season Ever

A Year Like No Other – an early season duck hunt in Cerro Gordo County, 1979. Back row [left to right] Lowell Washburn, Earl Leaman, Sterling Washburn, Leonard Washburn, Ed Kotz, Jr. / Front row – Sandy the Chesapeake & Shad the Lab Photo By: Ed Kotz, Sr.   Duck hunters love to reminisce. Recounting the great hunts of yesteryear is a popular and time-honored tradition. Determining exactly which hunting season ranks above all others is purely a matter of perspective and is largely dependent upon when and where a person...

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Day of the Merlin

Posted by on Oct 8, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Day of the Merlin

Day of the Merlin

  DULUTH, MN. — According to our calendars, autumn has officially begun. If you look to the skies, there are some undeniable signs that the season is changing. In America’s North Country, the annual raptor migration is in full swing. Although the grand passage can be viewed from a variety of locations, there is no better place to witness the winged spectacle than in the famous Hawk Ridge region of Lake Superior’s northern shore. Lake Superior is the world’s largest freshwater lake. Roughly the size of Austria, the lake...

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Surprise Visitors

Posted by on Oct 3, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Surprise Visitors

Surprise Visitors

We’ve all heard that “Variety is the Spice of Life”.  Although generally applied to other topics, the familiar saying can certainly hold true for the outdoors as well.  One of the things I like most about duck hunting, for example, is that you just never know what’s going to drop into the decoys.  Some visitors come as a surprise.  Some of the surprises are small.  Some are large.  Some are very large – like the two deer who suddenly emerged from the shoreline willows at the edge of my spread.  The breeze was in my favor and...

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Bighorn Recovery

Posted by on Sep 30, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Bighorn Recovery

Bighorn Recovery

Black Hills Bighorn Recovery Inches Forward National Wildlife Federation Aids in Securing Safe Habitat CUSTER, SD —- I saw my first wild bighorn in the summer of 1959. Feeding near a roadway in the Black Hills of western South Dakota, the animal was a spectacular full curl ram. Perfect in every detail, the ram was far more majestic in real life than any of the wild sheep I’d previously viewed in books or magazines. For me, it was love at first sight. Since that first encounter, I’ve never missed an opportunity to observe or...

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Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

Posted by on Sep 23, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

Cheeriest Bird in the Marsh

  Iowa’s prairie wetlands are one of our richest natural treasures. Wetlands benefit everyone. They store runoff and reduce downstream flooding. Wetlands help stabilize water tables and recharge underground aquifers. Serving as efficient natural filters, aquatic plant life consumes excess nutrients and purifies water by absorbing harmful chemical pollutants. Those are the practical benefits of Iowa marshlands. But for most of us, wetlands are best known for their wildlife. Acre for acre, square foot for square foot; Iowa wetlands...

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Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

Fall Flavors are Currently in Season

  Blue-winged teal are as fun to eat as they are to hunt. Likewise, for fall mushrooms. Fortunately for us, both Iowa delicacies are currently in season. Iowa’s teal season runs until September 16th. Migrating teal have been plentiful and hunters are bringing home plenty of birds. Fall mushrooms love wet weather, and local woodlands are harboring bumper crops of puff balls, chicken-of-the-woods, sulfur shelves, and others. Grilled teal and fall mushrooms make a great combination – they go together like a hand and glove. High on...

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DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

DNR Officers List Weekend Teal Opener As Nothing Short Of Phenomenal

The 2014 reinstatement of the Iowa teal season is the best single change of waterfowl regulations in the past half century. For thousands of Iowans who participated in the September 1st teal season opener, the credibility of that statement was more than obvious. Although much of the state was blanketed by heavily overcast skies, fog, and precipitation that ranged from light drizzle to frog-strangling downpours; the adverse weather appears to have done little to dampen hunter success. Most parties bagged their fair share of teal; many left the...

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Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Iowa Teal Season is Underway

Iowa’s fifth annual, Teal-Only Duck Hunting Season is underway. The early hunt began September 1 and runs through September 16. Shooting hours are from sunrise to sunset each day. Only teal are legal game during the special season; the daily bag limit is six blue-winged or green-winged teal. The 16-day hunt is timed to coincide with peak migrations of blue-winged teal – one of the continent’s most abundant but least utilized waterfowl. Iowa’s teal season is offered to hunters as a free bonus and does not subtract from the state’s...

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

Posted by on Sep 18, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Good Duck Numbers For 2018

Duck hunters can expect to see good numbers of waterfowl during the 2018 hunting seasons. And although total duck numbers have decreased by 13 percent from 2017; populations remain strong and are17 percent above the long term – 1955 to 2017 — average [LTA]. That’s the official assessment from this year’s North American Breeding Duck and Habitat Survey released this week by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. Conducted every year since 1955, the continent-wide annual survey measures trends in duck breeding populations and monitors...

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