One for the Record Book

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

One for the Record Book

 WINTER STORM UMA MARCH 23 & 24, 2018     Promises. Promises. Promises. After a full season of hyping those great big winter snow storms that never ever materialized, the Weather Channel finally got it right. Dubbed by the channel as Winter Storm Uma, the massive system that plowed across parts of Iowa Friday night was a real winter powerhouse. No matter how you gauged it, this was one storm that truly lived up to its hyp. For those who are familiar with Northern Iowa but currently living somewhere within the steamy...

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Pan-Fried Snow Goose

Posted by on Apr 3, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Pan-Fried Snow Goose

Sometimes the Simplest Methods are the Best “Can I get you anything?” the guy behind the Fareway meat counter asked. Stopping my cart, I replied, “No thanks,” and then mentioned that we were having fresh snow goose for supper. “Hmmm; snow goose,” he mused. “Don’t they melt when you put ‘em in the oven?” “Good one,” I said. “You know you’re in the wrong line of work, don’t you? You should be on stage.” Our exchange ignited a raucous round of guffaws from the rest of the eavesdropping meat crew, and we were soon...

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Migrating Ring-necks Provide an Exciting Morning at the Smartweed Pond

Posted by on Mar 24, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

  I heard the ducks seconds before I actually saw them. Arriving from behind, the descending flock’s set wings was neatly dividing the firmament into halves, resulting in that unique, jet engine roar that thrills waterfowl enthusiasts to their very core. Rocketing over and past the blind, the half dozen ring-necks – five drakes and a hen — executed an abrupt U-turn and were soon splashing down in front of the hide. Once they’d settled to the water, the ambitious drakes lost no time in competing for the attentions of an...

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Thank God for Sparrows

Posted by on Mar 20, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Thank God for Sparrows

We’ve all heard how one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. That’s kind of the way it is with sparrows. Imported from Great Britain during the 1800s, the house sparrow [also called English sparrow] took America by storm. Today, it has become one of our most familiar – and despised – bird species. Universally regarded as a destructive feathered pest, house sparrows have become a more than common site on farms, ranches, towns, and cities nationwide. Preferring to live among people, they nest under our eves, overwhelm backyard bird...

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Rare Blackbirds Visit North Iowa

Posted by on Mar 8, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Rare Blackbirds Visit North Iowa

  Iowa is well known for its late season, often-spectacular March snowstorms. This year proved no exception when, on March 5th and 6th, anywhere from four to seven inches of heavy, wet snow descended on the state’s northern counties. Although the weather event didn’t exactly fit the description of an old-fashioned prairie blizzard, the snowfall was enough to effectively reduce visibility and make highway travel difficult. The two-day storm was also more than enough to get the attention of resident and migrating birdlife. By the...

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End of Season Rabbit Hawkin’

Posted by on Mar 7, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

End of Season Rabbit Hawkin’

  Widespread and abundant, cottontail rabbits are an important component of Iowa’s natural food chain. I’m an active member of that chain. I love finding, chasing, and consuming rabbits. White, light and extremely nutritious, rabbit is one of my favorite entrees. There are lots of ways to pursue cottontails. I’ve hunted them with bow and arrow, .22 rifles, frontier era cap and ball revolvers, and a variety of shotguns. Although all have proven to be enjoyable methods of putting fried rabbit on the dinner table, nothing tops the...

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The Russians Are Coming!

Posted by on Mar 4, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

The Russians Are Coming!

    The swift and powerful group of raptors collectively known as goshawks reside in forested habitats across much of the planet. The northern goshawk is the subspecies nesting in northern North America. Large and aggressive, northern goshawks are fast enough to catch ruffed grouse and strong enough to easily subdue snowshoe hare.   Although certainly impressive, northern ‘gos are not the biggest subspecies. To observe the largest, you need to journey to the remotest regions of eastern Siberia. Here, in one of the harshest...

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Buckwheat Basics

Posted by on Feb 15, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Buckwheat Basics

  A Return to Traditional Flavor After tromping the woodlots for early morning cottontails or hiking onto the ice for daybreak walleyes, there’s nothing like coming home to a good hot breakfast. For my way of thinking, there is no better way to recharge your body engine than by tying into a stack of piping hot pancakes. All flapjacks have their strong points, but the species I favor above all others is derived from stone ground buckwheat. With its dark grainy texture and rich earthy flavor, the buckwheat pancake is in a class of its...

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The Rogue of Mallard Marsh

Posted by on Jan 20, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

The Rogue of Mallard Marsh

    The American mink is a highly curious, yet amazingly wary, aquatic predator. An outsized member of the weasel family, the mink is so crafty, in fact, that many experienced trappers think catching one presents a challenge equal to outwitting the fox or coyote. I don’t know if mink are really that smart or not, although at least one animal behavioral study has proven them to be smarter than cats, whatever that means. What I know for certain is that during the course of more hands-on intelligence studies, mink have frequently...

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END OF SEASON

Posted by on Jan 13, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

END OF SEASON

  Last Chance Turkeys Once there is snow on the ground, the Iowa woodlands are never truly dark. Hunting for end of the season turkeys means getting there early – I mean really early — and moving slow. With two full hours to go until sunrise, I was in the blind. It was going to be a bit of wait. And although I had hoped to be entertained by the sight of a passing deer or maybe a fox or coyote, I hadn’t seen a thing so far. The good news was that I also hadn’t spooked any turkeys on the way in. I was hunting a stand of mature oak...

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