Love Birds

Posted by on May 7, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Love Birds

      The winter and spring calls of the barred owl are among my favorite woodland sounds. While most owls reserve their calling for the nighttime hours, the signature “who cooks for you” cry of the barred owl is as likely to be heard at noon as midnight. The larger and more ferocious great horned owl is the first bird to begin nesting in Iowa each year, and this year’s crop of horned owl babies are already preparing to leave the nest. By contrast, the barred owl’s nesting cycle is still in its early stages. In southern Iowa,...

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Natalie Washburn’s Great Big Outdoor Adventure – As told to her Grandfather

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Natalie Washburn’s Great Big Outdoor Adventure – As told to her Grandfather

Listening to new hunters tell their stories is always an uplifting experience; especially when the teller happens to be your seven-year-old granddaughter. Here is how Natalie Washburn recalled her Great Big Outdoor Turkey Hunting Adventure: When Natalie and her dad, Matt arrived at their favorite hunting spot a loud-mouthed gobbler was already sounding off from the opposite side of a nearby hilltop. The pressure was on. Trying their best to stay calm, the hunters quickly popped up their canvas ground blind and hastily placed a pair of decoys...

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Wood Ducks

Posted by on May 5, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Wood Ducks

Spring is a busy time for Iowa wood ducks.  The season moves quickly; finding a safe place to lay and incubate eggs becomes a top priority.  Observing cavity searching pairs never fails to entertain.  This morning, the birds were out and about as soon as it was light – thoroughly scouring the woodlands in search for the hole that was “just...

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Wildlife Babies

Posted by on Apr 27, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Wildlife Babies

  As predictable as April showers and May flowers, Iowa’s Baby Bird & Bunny Season is about to begin. From early May until mid-summer, wildlife babies from dozens of species will be leaving the protection of their nests and learning the outdoor skills critical to their survival. Before the season ends, Iowa DNR and County Conservation offices across the state will be inundated with hundreds of reports and scores deliveries of “orphaned wildlife”. Surprise deliveries – often dropped off anonymously –will include...

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They Can Hide But They Can’t Run

Posted by on Apr 23, 2017 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

They Can Hide But They Can’t Run

When It Comes To Hunting The Elusive Wild Mushroom –                  Timing is Everything   April showers may bring May flowers, but they also produce mushrooms. And there’s just something about the mushroom that makes people go absolutely crazy. Succulent and elusive, the morel mushroom is Iowa’s most coveted wild edible. Hunting for these tender taste treats can become an obsession; secret hotspots are guarded to the death. Although spring mushroom hunting is a multifaceted endeavor; choosing the exact time for...

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OPENING DAY TURKEYS

Posted by on Apr 22, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

OPENING DAY TURKEYS

    Following weeks of anticipation, the Opening Day the Iowa turkey season has finally arrived. Even more incredible was the fact today’s sunrise was both windless and cloudless — amazing! Early season hunters took full advantage of the idyllic conditions and it didn’t take long for social media to come alive with gobbler success photos — or so I’m told.   Wild turkeys liked the weather too. Although still plenty dark, gobblers started sounding off at 5:20 in the timber I hunted. At the approach...

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Nebraska Hill Country Provides Exciting Kickoff to Spring Seasons

Posted by on Apr 12, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Nebraska Hill Country Provides Exciting Kickoff to Spring Seasons

The wake-up calls come way too early in spring turkey camp. Today was no exception and I must admit that rolling out of a warm and cozy sleeping bag and into the damp night air presented somewhat of a challenge. But the initial discomfort soon vanished due to the comforting effect of a heavy wool jacket and steaming cup of fresh coffee. And although nearly two hours would pass before the sun would show its warming face above yonder ridge, hunting partner Dave Thomas and I were already stoked to the max. In the sky above our Nebraska hill...

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Eagles’ March

Posted by on Mar 23, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Eagles’ March

This year’s spring migration of bald eagles will certainly qualify as one of the best in our lifetimes. Observing our national emblem never grows old and the majestic birds are certainly creating a lot of statewide excitement. It seems that no matter where you happen to go these days, people are talking about eagles. Everyone is eager to tell their story about what they’ve seen. Many of those comments focus on the sheer number of eagles currently passing northward through Iowa. It’s an impressive sight to be sure; but perhaps the...

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SPRING BALLET

Posted by on Mar 8, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

SPRING BALLET

  North Iowa’s March weather has been typically unstable. But there are some undeniable signs that spring is in the air. And perhaps nowhere is the impending change of seasons more dramatically obvious than in the skies above our natural wetlands. Following months of ice and snow, area ponds and marshes are beginning to thaw; some wetlands are completely open. For millions of wild ducks, the signals are irrefutable; the wintering grounds of the Sunny South have lost their allure. Gripped by a sudden restlessness, migratory waterfowl...

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Of Shotguns and Cameras

Posted by on Feb 26, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Of Shotguns and Cameras

Everyone loves to share good photos — the duds not so much. Thought I’d make an exception on this one though, and have attached one of my most recent heart breakers.  I took the shot on Wednesday afternoon while sitting in the decoys and enjoying  an incredible spring waterfowl migration.  I didn’t have any snow goose decoys, just laying in the mud set up for ducks alongside a small sheet water pond in the cornstalks.  When the late afternoon light was perfect, a flock of about ten or so green-winged teal came roaring over the...

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