Red Fox – Friend or Foe?

Posted by on Feb 7, 2021 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Red Fox – Friend or Foe?

Red Fox – Friend or Foe?

Pursuing the red fox is a challenging pastime.  My latest attempt at catching one was a classic example.  Following a week of cat and mouse, the sighting of fresh tracks, but no fox, was all I had to show.  I finally caught the big male on January 31 — the very last day of this year’s season.  Since I’m not exactly what you’d call a Blue-Ribbon fox trapper, the event was an especially rewarding end to the season.  It also triggered a flood of memories from days gone by. My first encounter with the...

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Nighttime Crooner

Posted by on Jan 28, 2021 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Nighttime Crooner

Nighttime Crooner

The barred owl’s signature greeting — “Who cooks for you?  Who cooks for you all?” – would be hard to mistake for any other sound.   That distinctive call is currently echoing through winter woodlands statewide.  Although once a rare sound across much of Iowa, the baritone hooting is becoming increasingly familiar to both rural and urban residents.   Look Into My Eyes – When I zoomed in on this barred owl, I inadvertently snapped a ‘Double Selfie’ Slightly smaller than its great horned...

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2020 Duck Season – Gone But Not Forgotten!

Posted by on Jan 25, 2021 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on 2020 Duck Season – Gone But Not Forgotten!

2020 Duck Season – Gone But Not Forgotten!

The Stage Was Set   If There Was Ever A Time to Be In The Duck Blind, This Was It Iowa’s waterfowl seasons have officially concluded.  Gone but not forgotten, the 2020 duck season will be remembered by many hunters as the best in recent years.  I whole heartedly agree with that assessment.  For me, it was the best season since 1979. Like snowflakes, no two duck seasons are alike.  Each year delivers its own unique blend of highs and lows.  There are days when you can’t miss a shot — or so...

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Roast Turkey – Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore!

Posted by on Jan 15, 2021 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Roast Turkey – Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore!

Roast Turkey – Not Just for Thanksgiving Anymore!

I love homemade stuffing.  You know, turkey and dressing, pheasant and dressing; stuff like that.  Although exceedingly popular during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, stuffing quickly becomes a never-to-be-seen food item during the rest of the year.  It doesn’t have to be that way, of course.  There is really no reason that dressing cannot be used as a main side dish during any of the cold weather months.  Earlier this week, it suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t tasted any honest to goodness...

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Iowa’s Late Seasons

Posted by on Jan 7, 2021 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Late Seasons

Iowa’s Late Seasons

The final segment of Iowa’s deer and turkey seasons is one of my favorite times to enjoy the Iowa outdoors.  OK, I know the obvious down sides.  By now, groups of already suspicious turkeys have assembled into large wintering flocks.  And following the conclusion of five separate firearms seasons, it’s no wonder that local white-tail populations are more than a little bit jumpy. But there are also some positives that combine to make getting out worthwhile.  During most years, the landscape will have become a...

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How to Quickly Identify Red Finches

Posted by on Dec 23, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on How to Quickly Identify Red Finches

How to Quickly Identify Red Finches

For thousands of Iowa wildlife enthusiasts, winter bird feeding is an increasingly popular winter pastime.  The more birds we attract to our feeders, the more fun the activity becomes.  Properly identifying those backyard visitors – chickadees, cardinals, jays and others — is generally an easy task.   There are exceptions, of course.  Take, for example, those colorful red finches that seem to have become increasingly common during the past several weeks.  The birds’ rosy plumage quickly narrows the...

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Christmas Goose

Posted by on Dec 16, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Christmas Goose

Christmas Goose

Sometimes it’s hard to tell which activity is most enjoyable – pursuing wild game, preparing wild game, or eating wild game.  What I do know is that all three rank high on my list of favorite pastimes which brings us to today’s topic – preparing the Christmas goose. Few flavors can match that of a corn-fed Iowa honker.  For our family, roast Canada goose is a long standing, time honored Christmas tradition.  When paired with high octane side dishes and festive desserts, it is a meal we look forward to all...

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Iowa Swans Enjoy Amazing Recovery

Posted by on Dec 3, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa Swans Enjoy Amazing Recovery

Iowa Swans Enjoy Amazing Recovery

With only three days remaining in North Iowa’s 2020 Iowa duck season, the morning of November 29 had all the makings of a good hunt.   Temperatures hovered near freezing, overcast skies were dark and glowering and, best of all, a hurricane wind was ripping from the northwest.  If this wouldn’t have the birds stirred up, then nothing would.     Legal shooting time began a half hour before sunrise, and I was still fiddling with my blind when the first flock of around a dozen or so mallards took me...

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Notes on Coot Shooting

Posted by on Nov 24, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Notes on Coot Shooting

Notes on Coot Shooting

One of the things I keep an eye out for each year, is the peak migration of American coots.  Most commonly referred to as mud hens, coots are those large black birds that appear on local wetlands each autumn – often in incredible abundance.  Coots are our largest representatives of the rail family, and I never let a season pass without bagging and eating at least a few.  Although held in high regard in America’s Deep South, coots are generally viewed with distain in the North, mostly because of the widespread...

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Prime Time Wood Ducks

Posted by on Oct 15, 2020 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Prime Time Wood Ducks

Prime Time Wood Ducks

October is a month like no other — four full weeks of unparalleled beauty.  If I could figure a way to make it happen, I’d take October, put it in a bottle and then relive the month over and over again.  For the outdoor enthusiast, there are a million things to see and do in October.  It’s a time when autumn colors peak, blue jays get noisy, fish launch their fall feeding frenzy, and sleek white-tail bucks put the final polish on glistening antlers.  Best of all, October is the month I get to spend with wood...

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