Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Posted by on Jan 29, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Deep Freeze Duck Hunt

Waterfowl hunting has been one of my lifelong passions. From balmy September teal hunts, to the final days of ice laden decoys and freezing marshes; each and every outing becomes a unique and cherished outdoor memory. And although I love all phases of the annual migration, Iowa’s late falconry season provides some of my most exciting hunts. Generally speaking, the colder the weather the better the hawking. Most folks probably don’t think of subzero temperatures as being great duck hunting weather, but it is. Ever shrinking areas of...

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Calling it Quits

Posted by on Jan 21, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Calling it Quits

Calling it Quits

  The Canada goose is about as tough as a water bird can get.  This year, the living has been easy – even in extreme northern Iowa.  With endless supplies of waste grain and plenty of open water, the winter weather has offered little challenge.  But times have changed.  Snow covered stubble fields, subzero temperatures, and shrinking air holes have caused many geese to rethink their winter plans.  Taking advantage of tonight’s full moon, hundreds of geese opted for a change of address.  As soon as the moon rose above the...

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Late Deer Season

Posted by on Jan 12, 2019 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Late Deer Season

Late Deer Season

  Iowa’s late muzzleloader deer season is one of my favorite hunts. In addition to black powder rifles, bow and arrow are also allowed during the season’s final segment; making the late season a great prospect for taking a bonus archery deer. By the time January arrives, the Iowa landscape is locked in the dead of winter. Frigid, often below zero, temperatures and substantial snow cover blanket the landscape. The harsh conditions quickly put wintering deer into more or less predictable patterns as herds key on food sources and move...

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Winter Oddities

Posted by on Dec 12, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Winter Oddities

Winter Oddities

When it Comes to Winter Bird Feeding Variety is the Spice of Life It’s little wonder that backyard bird feeding has become one of our most popular winter pastimes. Visiting birdlife provides a sense of energy, warmth, and cheer to an otherwise bleak and lifeless landscape. We’ve all heard it said that variety is the spice of life. When it comes to winter bird feeding, that time worn phrase certainly rings true. The more species of birds we attract, the more interesting our feeders become. Backyard activities become even more intriguing...

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Antler Obsession

Posted by on Nov 28, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Antler Obsession

Antler Obsession

  Deer hunters follow many paths to success. Some hunters carry bows. Others favor firearms. Some dress in camouflage and sit in trees. Other hunters stay on the move, stalking the woodlands in blaze orange apparel. Although methods vary, deer hunters have one thing in common. They all dream of bagging a monster buck – the deer of a lifetime. Giant bucks have a universally unnerving effect on the human psyche. I’ve never known anyone who didn’t get the shakes when a big bodied, tall-tined buck stepped into view. No one can say when...

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Tennessee Traveler

Posted by on Nov 21, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Tennessee Traveler

Tennessee Traveler

As a life long Iowan who hasn’t moved to Tennessee, Anderson’s recent comments were a poignant reminder of how easy it is to take for granted the abundant natural resources we all enjoy. We’re currently in the season of Thanksgiving. As Iowans, we should all take a moment to count our blessings.           As a Joice, Iowa native, Ben Anderson grew up roaming the woodlands, marshes, and grasslands surrounding Winnebago County’s Rice Lake. Leaving Iowa to live in Tennessee, he currently serves as a pastor for...

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Ancient Heritage

Posted by on Nov 6, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Ancient Heritage

Ancient Heritage

For America’s earliest hunters, archery equipment was a matter of survival For archery deer hunters, November is the grandest month of the year. In Iowa, as elsewhere, bow hunting has enjoyed a tremendous surge in popularity during recent decades. More than 60,000 archers are pursuing deer in Iowa this year. Sporting goods manufacturers have responded to the boom by offering hunters an unprecedented array of products that all but guarantee the buck of your dreams. Obtaining the best in today’s gear and gadgets is as easy as making an...

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In Search of the Perfect Decoy

Posted by on Oct 26, 2018 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on In Search of the Perfect Decoy

In Search of the Perfect Decoy

  Waterfowl hunters – perhaps even more so than anglers – are hopelessly susceptible to product advertising. New guns, improved ammo, quieter motors, lighter boats, warmer coats, better waders, you name it – all beg to be purchased and tested. Decoys are my personal weakness — the Achille’s heel of my outdoor pocket book. I’ve been fascinated with decoys for about as long as I can remember. If a new decoy hits the market, I’m compelled to try it. Right now, I’m in search of the perfect decoy — a long running...

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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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