True Giants

Posted by on Oct 16, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

True Giants

    The morning wasn’t shaping up the way I had planned. With barely an hour to go until daybreak, the rain drops were rolling off my roof. Under the driveway yard light, the goose trailer was hooked to the truck and ready to go. But those decoys wouldn’t be heading anywhere today. The semi-remote corn field I planned to hunt would already be a muddy mess. There was no way to get a truck and trailer in without tearing things up. When legal shooting time arrived, I was still at home drinking coffee, pacing the floor, looking out...

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The Decoy

Posted by on Oct 2, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

The Decoy

Antique Shop Treasure Ignites Duck Hunting Memories Clear Lake’s Don Humburg was an Iowa outdoor legend. Hunter, trapper, master angler, boat builder, decoy maker, you name it — if it happened in the great out-of-doors, Humburg could do it and do it well. As a conservation crusader, Don was a tireless worker in the early days of Iowa Ducks Unlimited. But when the fall weather turned brisk and ducks were on the move, Humburg could most likely be found at the Ventura Marsh, monitoring the migration from the cockpit of one of his...

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Speed Goat

Posted by on Sep 17, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Speed Goat

       High Plains Pronghorns Provide Outdoor Thrills On the high plains of western Dakota, autumn has arrived. Down in the valleys and creek bottoms, the cottonwood and aspens have turned a brilliant gold. Up here on top, the distinctive blue green of wild sage and bright red of dwarf rosebud offer colorful contrast to the tawny brown of sun scorched prairie. It’s early afternoon. And although the predawn landscape was whitened by frost, temperatures have already soared to near 80 degrees. But it’s not like the 80-degree heat of...

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Masters of Stealth

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Masters of Stealth

                            Arrayed in a dazzling cloak of pure white, the great egret is one of the world’s most spectacular birds. A long-distance migrant, the huge bird is equally at home on northern Minnesota lakes during summer and balmy West Indies lagoons in winter. In Northern Iowa, the month of September offers peak viewing as migrating egrets, along with other wading birds, concentrate around aquatic food sources. Masters of stealth; egrets are superb fishermen. To...

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September Hunting Seasons Underway

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

September Hunting Seasons Underway

     Strong Hunter Turnout – Good Success For Iowa hunting enthusiasts, the Labor Day weekend is a big time, nonstop, action-packed event. The 2017 dove season began September 1st, and although large numbers of doves had already migrated out of the state, most of Iowa’s 10,000 participants appear to have enjoyed anywhere from good to somewhere beyond excellent success.   Saturday, September 2, was a bigger day yet as hunters traded weed patches and dove plots for duck ponds and marshes to participate in an experimental,...

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Booming From the Mists of Nowhere – a Book Review

Posted by on Sep 3, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Booming From the Mists of Nowhere – a Book Review

  Booming From the Mists of Nowhere is a reading adventure — our latest best chronicle regarding the life and times of America’s greater prairie chicken. For those who love native prairie and the prairie chickens that inhabit its open spaces, this book is a mandatory read. Written by Greg Hoch and published by the University of Iowa Press, the book is available through book stores or Amazon for 20 bucks. Booming’s author, Greg Hoch is the prairie habitat team supervisor for the Minnesota DNR. Concise, yet incredibly descriptive,...

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Hovering on Invisible Wings

Posted by on Sep 2, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Hovering on Invisible Wings

Mix the sugar water; lock and load the feeders. The fall migration of ruby-throated hummingbirds has arrived in North Iowa. For anyone wishing to view good numbers of these tiny travelers; there’s no better time than now. Keeping an eye on backyard nectar feeders is one of the easiest and best ways to get a close up look at Iowa’s smallest migratory bird. Commercial nectar mixes are great hummingbird attractants. You can produce your own, equally appealing food, by going to your kitchen cupboard. Mix one-part white sugar to four parts...

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Decoy Addiction

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

Decoy Addiction

  My initial exposure to the ancient art of duck hunting was a memorable occasion. I had barely settled into the blind when the first flock of web-foots appeared. They were blue-winged teal, on the deck and traveling at warp speed. As they passed the blind, the birds suddenly took interest in our decoys. Executing a spectacular U-turn, the compact formation came scorching back to the spread. Within seconds, the ducks — all 15 or 20 of them — were noisily splashing in among my Dad’s wooden blocks. Obtaining a firm grasp on...

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Iowa Dove Season Opens September 1st

Posted by on Aug 19, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

Iowa Dove Season Opens September 1st

  Iowa’s fall dove season begins Sept. 1st, when around ten thousand licensed hunters are expected to take to the fields in search of North America’s most abundant migratory gamebird. According to U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service surveys, dove populations in the “Lower 48” stood at 279 million on September 1, 2016. During the 2016 dove season, a total of 837,800 hunters spent 2,431,000 days afield and bagged 13,502,000 doves.   In Iowa, 9,700 dove hunters spent 25,300 days afield and harvested 128,000 doves during 2016. The...

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Strong Duck Migration For 2017

Posted by on Aug 17, 2017 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | 0 comments

U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Predicts Strong Duck Migration For 2017

    When leaves fall and autumn winds blow, Iowa duck hunters can anticipate a strong migration of southbound waterfowl during 2017. That’s the official assessment from this year’s North American Breeding Duck and Habitat Survey released today 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 wetland [pond] indexes across the northern U.S. as well as for large portions of prairie and boreal Canada. This year, a...

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