Iowa’s Teal Season Opens September 1st

Posted by on Aug 21, 2022 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Iowa’s Teal Season Opens September 1st

Iowa’s Teal Season Opens September 1st

This year’s multi-segmented duck hunting seasons kick off with a special, 16-day teal-only hunt beginning September 1.  Providing outdoor enthusiasts with more than two weeks of bonus, back-to-back, sunrise to sunset recreational opportunities, Iowa’s special teal seasons haven proven to be the best single change in waterfowl regulations in the past fifty years.  A flock of migrating blue-wings buzz an Iowa wetland. Offered as a 16-day bonus to Iowa’s regular duck seasons, the special September teal seasons are designed to...

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Red-Sided Garter Snakes

Posted by on Aug 21, 2022 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Red-Sided Garter Snakes

Red-Sided Garter Snakes

On the Hunt – A red-sided garter searches for prey. Leopard frogs and American toads provide common summer menu items. Spend much time exploring Iowa’s summer marshlands, and you’re likely to encounter a somewhat colorful reptile known as the red-sided garter snake.  The species is named for the obvious red dash marks that occur between the snake’s dorsal and lateral stripes.  The red scales vary in color and appear brightest on snakes that have recently shed their skins, a phenomenon that occurs two or more time during...

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July – The Month That Keeps On Giving

Posted by on Jul 14, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on July – The Month That Keeps On Giving

July – The Month That Keeps On Giving

For those who enjoy outdoor foraging, July is the month that keeps on giving.  As we roll into midsummer, North Iowans are presented with an abundance of wild, healthy, and highly nutritional foods that are free for the taking.  Summer woodlands currently abound with an array of wild edibles including several varieties of mushrooms, raspberries, mulberries, and others.  Local streams, lakes, and ponds contain burgeoning populations of native fish.  Popular summer species include walleye, channel catfish, bluegills and...

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The Amazing Wood Duck

Posted by on Jun 20, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on The Amazing Wood Duck

The Amazing Wood Duck

The wood duck is one of the Mississippi Flyway’s – and Iowa’s — most recreationally important waterfowl.  This fact is especially true for me.  During the course of a year, I spend more time hunting, observing, photographing and working with wood ducks than any other single species. Drake wood duck In addition to its elegantly crested head and kaleidoscope plumage, the colorful wood duck is unique from other waterfowl in many ways.  Instead of communicating in familiar duck-like quacks, woodies converse...

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Letting Go

Posted by on May 24, 2022 in Uncategorized, Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Letting Go

Letting Go

Letting go can be hard to do – especially when it’s something you love.     McGregor,IA — It was a brilliant spring day, and my wife Carol and I were admiring the view from atop the highest bluff at Clayton County’s Pike’s Peak State Park.  Five hundred feet below, the sprawling island studded expanse of the Upper Mississippi River provided one of Iowa’s most scenic backdrops.  In addition to being America’s continental drainpipe, the Mighty Mississip’ is also a vital corridor for millions of...

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Bobtail

Posted by on May 18, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Bobtail

Bobtail

I’m not one of those people who is big on naming wildlife.  But in the case of Bobtail, it was hard to resist. Bobtail is a white-tailed doe that, at some point in her life, has literally had her tail chopped in half.  The squared off portion that remains makes her easy to identify. Bobtail [bringing up the rear] crosses the road in December of 2017 at the Dave Rosendahl farm south of Clear Lake My first encounter with Bobtail came during the winter of 2017 when she, along with several other white-tails, ran across the...

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Time to Head for the Woodlands

Posted by on May 9, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Time to Head for the Woodlands

Time to Head for the Woodlands

For Iowa birding enthusiasts, the month of May is a time like no other — the absolute high-water mark of the annual outdoor calendar.  The reason is simple.  After spending the winter months in food rich habitats in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, millions of neotropical songbirds are making their way to northern nesting grounds.   Indigo bunting – Although some spring migrants may be a challenge to identify, the strikingly iridescent blue plumage and melodious repertoire of the male Indigo...

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Spring Turkeys

Posted by on May 4, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spring Turkeys

Spring Turkeys

The final segment of Iowa’s four-part spring turkey season is currently underway.  The season ends May 15. As is the case with most outdoor activities, turkey hunting success depends largely on local weather conditions.  Like most of us, spring gobblers prefer clear skies, warm sunrises and light or no wind.  Generally speaking, toms spend more time gobbling on nice days which results in more hunters putting more wild turkeys in the bag.  Unfortunately, this year’s seasons have offered little in the way of ideal...

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Spring Mushrooms

Posted by on Apr 29, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spring Mushrooms

Spring Mushrooms

For Iowa mushroom hunters, it’s been a cold, dark, and windy spring.  At a time when succulent morels should begin emerging in numbers, nighttime temps hover near or below freezing on an all too frequent basis.  As popular woodlands remain void of emerging foliage, some enthusiasts are giving up hope.  If it gets much later, they say, there won’t be a mushroom crop at all.  Not true.  No matter how long it takes, sooner or later, the morels will start popping.  The season may be brief, but rest assured that...

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Spring Migration

Posted by on Apr 16, 2022 in Washburn's Outdoor Journal | Comments Off on Spring Migration

Spring Migration

The white-hot stars of a spring night were rapidly fading into nothingness.  Meanwhile, the eastern horizon was being set ablaze by strengthening hues of the impending sunrise.  A new day was beginning at the Ventura Marsh. The transition was greeted by a symphony of familiar wetland sounds – the soft splashing of waves, the brittle rustle of winter dried cattails, the trill of red-wings, and the overlapping voices of a thousand meowing cats.  That’s right, the sound of meowing cats; smack in the middle of a 200-acre...

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