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Iowa Archery Deer Season Begins Friday

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IA DNR Press Release

Posted: September 28, 2010

Deer hunters are busy sighting in their bows, checking trail cameras and putting up tree stands in preparation for the opening of Iowa's archery deer hunting season on October 1. The 55,000 bowhunters have been waiting all summer to pursue Iowa's world class deer that is the envy of hunters from across the United States.

"Bowhunters typically want to be out there early," said Tom Litchfield, state deer biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. "They hunt alone or with a friend or two and spend quite a few days in the field."

Early in the season, hunting food sources and trails are good strategies.

"Hunters should be aware that the rainfall and flooding we had this spring and summer has impacted the natural forage and crop production and these changes will impact where we are seeing deer this fall," said Litchfield.

He said the white oak acorn crop that is a prime early fall food for deer is below average statewide. The red oak acorn crop in central, south-central and southeast is average, is average but spotty in northeast, and below average in western Iowa.

Deciding on which location to set up is part of the pre-hunt preparation. Another is to go through the equipment, including safety harnesses and tree stands, before opening day.

"Falls associated with tree stand use are the most common hunting accidents during bow season. Hunters should always wear a safety harness and use caution when climbing," Litchfield said. "Remember the lessons of the past - tree stand safety, shot placement and identify your target. Don't make a preventable mistake."

Once a deer is harvested hunters should clean the animal thoroughly and efficiently. Don't cut into the intestines or stomach contents.

"If it's a hot day, and you have to transport the deer a ways, it never hurts to get ice in the cavity to cool it down," he said.

Doe Harvest Important for Herd Management
Deer numbers are still higher than objective in many parts of southern, central and west-central Iowa.

Bowhunters are encouraged to help farmers and landowners by taking a couple of does early in the season. Hunters can donate any deer to the Iowa Food Bank through the DNR's Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) deer donation program. In 2009, hunters donated more than 7,000 deer resulting in about 300,000 pounds of boneless meat for Iowans in need. A list of participating lockers is in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations and online at www.iowahush.com.

Another antlerless deer hunting opportunity for bowhunters is available in urban areas and state parks listed under special hunts in the Iowa Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

These hunts often have extra requirements. Contact the organizations listed for more details.

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Lake Icaria to be Lowered to Repair Flood Damage

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IA DNR Press Release
The Iowa DNR Fisheries Bureau plans to lower the Lake Icaria water level one foot below normal pool beginning October 1, 2010, to repair shore damaged areas cause by 2008 floods.

The discharge from the lake and flows in the creek below the dam will be slightly higher than normal during the release but will be confined within the stream banks. The one foot drawdown level will be maintained while shore repairs are made.

With favorable weather conditions, repairs are expected to be finished within 30 days then the lake will be allowed to return to normal crest, which should happen by November 30, 2010.

Allowances will be made while the lake elevation is down one foot and while the lake is refilling to assure stream flow below the dam is maintained so not to cause loss to aquatic life.

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Cutts Named State Conservation Officer of the Year

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IDNR press release

State Conservation Officer Craig Cutts received the 2009 Shikar-Safari Conservation Officer of the Year award for his work with hunters, anglers and trappers, and his efforts to attract new people into traditional outdoor sports.
Cutts, whose territory is Warren County, works closely with the Warren County Izaak Walton League and conservation board, Pheasants Forever and National Wild Turkey Federation to host classes on hunter education and turkey hunting, coordinates mentored deer hunts and is involved with outdoor camps.
Cutts, from Ackworth, joined the Iowa Department of Natural Resources as an assistant park ranger at Pleasant Creek in 1987 then became a state conservation officer in 1991 covering Muscatine County. He transferred to Warren County in 1997.

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New options for Online Boater Ed Course

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IDNR press release

Iowans now have options when it comes to taking boater education courses. On Sept. 10, the Iowa Department of Natural Resource began offering three new online courses – all approved by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators and recognized by the U.S. Coast Guard.

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First Two Deer Hunting Seasons Open Saturday

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DNR Press release.

The first deer hunting opportunities of the year begin Saturday when the youth and disabled hunter deer seasons open.
In 2009, more than 8,700 youth hunters and 250 disabled hunters participated in the seasons, harvesting more than 3,500 deer. All youth season hunters must be accompanied by an adult mentor, and only one youth hunter is allowed per adult mentor.
“The goal of the youth hunt is for the participating youth to have a positive, enjoyable and ethical experience. Harvesting a deer should be considered a bonus and not define if the hunt was a success or not,” said Tom Litchfield, deer research biologist with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

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Bottoming Out

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From Family Fish & Game magazine- July/August, 2010 issue


Bottoming Out
By Dan Armitage

Chances are high that your family boat will eventually “bottom out” at some point in your boating career. And odds are best that it will happen in mid-summer, when air temperatures, evaporation rates and water consumption are at their highest and water levels at many popular Midwest boating destinations at their lowest, putting your lower unit at risk.

No matter how minor or what you think you might have hit, even if it’s just skimming a sand bottom or grazing a grass bed, whenever you have reason to believe that the hull, prop or lower unit of your boat has come into contact with anything but water, you should shut the engine down and inspect it as soon as possible.

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An Eye for Optics

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From Family Fish & Game magazine- July/August, 2010 issue


An Eye for Optics
By Lisa Metheny

The world of optics includes many types of products even cameras and video equipment. But we will primarily be referring to hunting or birding optics such as rifle scopes, spotting scopes, binoculars and rangefinders in this article.

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Tips for More Crankbaiting Success

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From The Iowa Sportsman magazine, August, 2010 issue

Tips for More Crankbaiting Success
By Bill Leonard

Crankbaits are one of my favorite search baits. You can work them at a variety of speeds depending on the conditions. However, there are a few things that need to be done to make sure that we get the most mileage out of our crankbaits.

First, crankbaits put up quite a resistance when you are trolling at 2 mph or higher, so pick a rod and reel combination that matches what you are doing. I choose to go with an 11-foot Elite Tech for my long rod and for an inside rod I use a 5-foot 6-inch to 6-foot Tactix. This gives you a good spread and will keep your lines far enough apart if you do not want to use Off Shore planner boards.

Next, pick a line that maximizes the depth and wiggle of the crankbait. I spool my reels with 10/4 Fireline, and I prefer solar so I can see my line when it is time to net the fish. I like Fireline because of its no-stretch quality. Plus its diameter is thinner and will let crankbaits reach deeper depths. The advantage of a no-stretch line is that it lets you feel if your bait is working and tells you if you have picked up weeds. Nothing is worse than thinking the bait is working fine only to find out that it picked up a weed and you didn’t even know it.

Even if a crankbait is just out of the box, it is important to make sure that it runs true. To do this, I like to run my Ranger at about 3- to 3-1/2 mph and let out about 20 feet of line. At that length, I watch to see which way the bait is running. If it is running true and straight, it is ready to use. If it is running to the left, the eye of the bait needs to be bent to the right. Do the opposite if the bait is running to the right. I use my pliers to make the adjustment. Don’t overdue the adjustment, just a little bit at a time.

It takes some practice, but don't give up until you have the crankbait running true. Fine-tuning crankbaits can make all the difference in a bite.

Every year new crankbaits are introduced to the market. Some of the major crankbait companies’ prices have gotten completely out of hand. This year I have tried some of the reproductions produced by major catalog companies with good success. Many of you who read my articles know that I fish in 6-foot of water or less most of the year. I used to use a #7 shallow rap; now I use a #7 Cabela’s shallow because of the price.

In addition, I have moved one step off the weed edge to that 7- to 10-foot water this year because so many of my lakes are so much deeper and the weed edge has changed and become harder to stay clean. This has been working well, and I use a #5 or #7 Flicker Shad. The beauty of this bait is by holding your rod at different heights you can control its depth.

The Flicker Shad has become my favorite crankbait for just about everything. I like its action, rattle and you don’t need to get a loan to buy them. I have trolled them against major crankbaits the same size and have always out fished them with the Flicker Shad.

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Iowa Outdoor Expo for Kids & Families

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Iowa Outdoor Expo for Kids & Families

Celebrate the weekend of National Hunting and Fishing Day by bringing your family for a fun day of discovering new and exciting ways to enjoy the Iowa outdoors! The Iowa Outdoor Expo for Kids & Families is on September 25th & 26th at Water Works Park in Des Moines. This FREE event will feature many hands-on activities and educational exhibits for kids and families to enjoy.

This is the second year for this event hosted by the Des Moines Izaak Walton League, a group dedicated to environmental conservation. Last year, approximately 3,000 people attended. This year, the event is even bigger from the help of many supporters, including the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

“We’re doing 10 times as much as we did last year,” said Joe Gavin, chairman of the expo. “This is going to be huge.”

Some of the activities include fishing, canoeing, kayaking, fur demonstrations, dog demonstrations, archery, aerial archery, BB guns and much more!

“This year, we have many more sets of each activity to keep kids involved rather than waiting in line,” Gavin said. “Last year, the volunteers all said they had a wonderful time teaching the kids and families how to do things they were interested in. We can’t wait for this year’s event!”

September 25th & 26th, 2010
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Water Works Park is located at 4343 George Flagg Parkway on the south side of Des Moines.

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Rabbit, Squirrel Hunting Season Opens September 4

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IADNR press release

The 2010-11 hunting seasons for cottontail rabbits and squirrels (fox and gray) will open on September 4.
Roadside surveys show cottontail rabbit numbers have generally decreased across the state, but will be similar to last year.
“Persistent snow cover this past winter and a wet spring and summer statewide likely reduced the winter survival and reproductive success of cottontails,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife research biologist for the DNR. The DNR’s roadside survey indicates the southern and eastern portions of Iowa will offer the best rabbit numbers this fall

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