Wild Turkeys Provide A Lifelong Education

Posted by on Apr 16, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Wild Turkeys Provide A Lifelong Education

Wild Turkeys Provide A Lifelong Education

Blessed with extraordinary hearing, keen eyesight, and a profound ability to detect danger; the eastern wild turkey is America’s most challenging gamebird. The Long Beard’s instinct for survival is legendary. No other creature has been the subject of more hype, myth and folk lore than the elusive gobbler. In spite of major technological improvements to shotguns, ammunition, archery tackle and other turkey hunting equipment; the bird remains as difficult as ever to bring to bag. During an average year, only one in four Iowa hunters...

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Spring Turkeys – Nebraska Style

Posted by on Apr 6, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spring Turkeys – Nebraska Style

Spring Turkeys – Nebraska Style

Turkey Season Kickoff: The great state of Nebraska is one my favorite destinations for pursuing wild turkeys. Nebraska’s early archery season begins in late March and for the past nine years, Dave Thomas and I have used the early days for our turkey season kickoff. Nebraska has some of the best turkey hunting in the nation. Over the years, Dave and I have enjoyed better than average success at bringing birds to bag. Nebraska’s rural roadways can be iffy during the best of years; with 2019’s late snow melt and widespread...

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Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

Posted by on Mar 28, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

Iowa’s Spring Turkey Hunt is Just Around the Corner

PRESEASON SCOUTING CAN BRING EARLY SEASON SUCCESS The first segment of Iowa’s four-part, spring turkey season begins April 8. With snow drifts melted and mature gobblers currently making the timbers ring, hunters are already pacing the floor in anticipation of the upcoming season. But what a lot of hunters don’t realize is that there’s no reason to wait until opening day to visit your favorite woodland, practice your calling, and maybe even lure in an excited gobbler or two. There is a reason why so many turkey enthusiasts are...

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Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

Posted by on Mar 19, 2019 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

Cooper’s hawks — Love ’em or hate ’em, you have to admire their speed and agility

It would be hard to think of a bird exhibiting more cunning, speed, and raw savagery than the crow-sized Cooper’s hawk. Equally at home in wilderness forest and suburban hedgerow, the highly maneuverable Cooper’s is perhaps best known for its surprise attacks on backyard bird feeders — raids that usually result in an unfortunate dove, cardinal, or blue jay becoming a fast food menu item. It’s an ongoing drama that flares tempers and raises the blood pressure of bird feeding Grandmas everywhere. I have a love-hate...

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Visiting Siskins

Posted by on Mar 5, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Visiting Siskins

Visiting Siskins

Considering the dramatic mix of weather we’ve endured during the past several weeks, I’m guessin’ that it would be hard for most of us to think of Northern Iowa as a Sunny South, winter destination. You know, the kind of place you’d go to escape unreasonably deep snow cover, extreme cold, polar wind chills and other winter unpleasantries. But for an energetic little finch known as the pine siskin, that’s exactly what Iowa is – a virtual Banana Belt of luxurious winter warmth and comparatively easy livin’. Siskins are...

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Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Posted by on Feb 21, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Iowa Cottontails Present Late Winter Challenge

Rabbit hunting is one of my favorite winter pastimes. I especially love getting out in new snow. Fresh, crisp, and clean; the winter woodlands are never more beautiful. The rabbits sit tight, and every track is fresh. I’m not alone in my enthusiasm. An important link in the natural food chain, rabbits have been a time-honored menu item for foxes, owls and, of course, humans. When I first started tromping the winter thickets, it seemed that everyone hunted rabbits. By everyone, I mean everyone. Kids, dads, Grandpas; didn’t...

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Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Posted by on Feb 8, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Freezing Drizzle Threatens Wild Bird Survival

Tailless black-capped chickadee – Feb. 7, 2019 Here in northern Iowa, the first week of February has provided an incredibly diverse mix of weather – everything from 40-degree temps to double digit, below zero wind chills and new snow. On Feb. 6th, prolonged periods of freezing drizzle turned to snow during the overnight hours. As snow continued into the morning, the backyard bird feeders became predictably busy as goldfinches, pine siskins, house finches, and a host of other species appeared in droves. Nothing unusual. Feeding birds...

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Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

Posted by on Feb 7, 2019 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

Winter Weather Extremes Bring Bizarre Wildlife Sighting

No one will argue that our Iowa winter has been one of weather extremes. Gone but not forgotten, the month of January provided our most dramatic example; offering everything from unseasonable warmth to polar blasts of life threatening cold and minus 60-degree wind chills. The month included a rich variety of rain showers, freezing drizzle, fog, heavy snowfall, and at least one white-out ground blizzard. Across Iowa’s northern half, some of the weather’s most extreme mood swings seemed to occur overnight. During the last week of...

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Surviving the Cold

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Surviving the Cold

Surviving the Cold

Regardless of Species – Winter is a Hard Time for Iowa Wildlife You probably don’t need a reminder that Iowans have just endured one of the most vicious mid-winter cold snaps on record. The multiday event began with significant snowfalls which quickly gave way to plunging temperatures, followed by winds gusting to 50 plus mph. As the storm raged, weather casters repeatedly described the system as “life threatening”; and it was. Across the state’s northern half, the mercury dropped to minus 30; wind chills reached an incredible...

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Snowy Woodland

Posted by on Jan 31, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Snowy Woodland

Snowy Woodland

Following a brutal three day siege of polar air and gusty winds, the North Iowa weather had finally moderated to a comparatively balmy minus twenty degrees. Winds had diminished to the point where wind chill values had risen to minus 46, according to the weather channel. At the Nature Conservancy’s Clausen’s Cove [located along Clear Lake’s south shore] deer and turkeys were emerging to feed in adjacent open fields by late afternoon – the first time most of them had been out since the storm began. As the sun dipped to the...

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