From The Iowa Sportsman magazine, August, 2010 issue
Public Hunting- Tree Stand Laws and Etiquette
By Aaron McKinney
Now is the time of the year when the “Iowa Sportsman” begins to get the itch to pursue the most popular big game animal in the world, the elusive whitetail deer. With its keen nose and uncanny sense for danger, the trophy whitetail bucks of Iowa are a worthy adversary to any archery or shotgun hunter. This challenge is made even tougher when hunting the nearly half-million acres of public hunting ground here in the Hawkeye State.
With Iowa being one of the most sought-after destinations in the world to pursue a Pope and Young whitetail, there is not any shortage of hunters on public land. Since an overwhelming amount of Iowa’s lands are privately owned or leased, thousands of whitetail hunters are vying for the few truly great public spots in Iowa to hang their tree stand. The following are rules the Iowa DNR has invoked for hanging tree stands on public ground that all hunters should adhere to:
1. Tree stands can only be put up seven days prior to the hunting season opening and have to be taken down within seven days after the hunting closes. This law allows for every deer hunter to have the same opportunity to get the most coveted spot in their public hunting area and helps reduce theft of stands that may have been left up for the entire calendar year.
2. Hunters cannot construct permanent tree stands on public ground.
3. A hunter may not drive or in any way place a screw, nail, spike or any foreign object into a tree on state grounds. A tree stand hunter must use climbing sticks or a ladder to ascend to their respective tree stand.
These are the only three laws written in stone for tree stands on Iowa’s public hunting grounds, but remember to check the rules of each public hunting area you may hang a tree stand because they can change from area to area. There are also some “unwritten laws” that respectful hunters must also try to adhere to. This will help make a more enjoyable outing for everyone hunting the same area.
1. Stay at least 100 yards away from another hunter’s tree stand, even more if the public hunting area is large enough to allow. This can be accomplished by doing a little preseason scouting of other hunters’ setups using the area.
2. Do not enter and exit your tree stand thru someone else’s hunting area. Just be respectful, treat other’s hunting areas as you would want them to treat yours.
3. Do not try and spook game intentionally. If a buck has skirted your area and is headed toward another hunter, don’t spook the deer so the other hunter will not have an opportunity to harvest the animal. For one, you wouldn’t like that done to you, and second, you have probably educated the buck and it could become completely nocturnal or leave the area altogether.
Remember to follow these simple public hunting area laws and rules of etiquette and it will make for a more enjoyable experience for everyone involved. It will always be a sort of “give and take” on our public hunting areas, so keep in mind the number one rule in life, “Treat others as you wish to be treated” and your hunts will be gratifying and rewarding on Iowa’s public hunting areas this fall. Good luck, and stay safe!
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.
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.
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
08/17/2010 @ 11:48 AM Contributed by: jardan Views:: 3,484
Contibuted by the IDNR
The Iowa duck and goose hunting seasons were approved by the Natural Resource Commission on Aug. 12, with two notable changes from last year. The first change increases the Canada goose daily bag limit starting on Nov. 1, from two geese to three. The other change increases the daily bag limit of pintail from one to two.
Migratory Game Bird Seasons
For the purpose of duck and goose hunting, the state is divided into north and south zones by a line beginning on the Nebraska-Iowa border at State Highway 175, east to State Highway 37, southeast to State Highway 183, northeast to State Highway 141, east to U.S. Highway 30, and along U.S. Highway 30 to the Iowa-Illinois border.
07/06/2010 @ 11:28 AM Contributed by: jardan Views:: 2,283
IDNR press release
Two introductory to target archery and bow hunting workshops teaching fundamentals, history, safety and games of the sport are scheduled for July and August in the Des Moines area.
“Archery and bow hunting are two fast growing recreational activities. This workshop will provide a solid introduction on getting started in target archery and bow hunting and participants will leave the course with the knowledge, skills and information that will allow them to hopefully continue participating throughout their life,” said Ben Berka, shooting sports coordinator for the Iowa DNR
Do bring plenty of sunscreen and bug repellent
Don’t bring fireworks
Do bring balls, bats and gloves for kids to play with
Don’t bring in firewood from out of state. Plan to get firewood locally.
Do plan to spend extra time setting up the campsite
DES MOINES—Due to flooding, several state parks are closed to all recreational activities. Currently, George Wyth State Park of Blackhawk County is closed, but is anticipated to reopen on July 1. Walnut Woods Park in Polk County, and Pottawattamie County's Wilson Island State Recreation Area are also presently closed to the public
Press Release from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources
Enforcement is being stepped up this weekend on the water, as officers take part in ‘Operation Dry Water’ here and across the country. The nationwide law enforcement push—scheduled for June 25-27 this year—seeks to reduce alcohol or drug related fatalities during the boating season. In Iowa, 10 different waters will see ‘Dry Water’ patrols, with 177 officers involved.
“We are focusing on educating boaters about boating while intoxicated; the dangers of boating and alcohol,” explains Susan Stocker, DNR boating law administrator. Operation Dry Water sets up ‘boating under the influence’ (BUI) checkpoints and challenges more officers to test more boat operators for influence of alcohol or drugs on the water.
In 2009, Iowa recorded 41 boat accidents. Of three which involved fatalities, two were alcohol-related. There were 30 boating while intoxicated arrests on Iowa waters last year. In Iowa, a boater is considered legally over the limit with a .10 blood alcohol level. On the road, the legal limit is .08. Stocker says bringing that ‘on the water’ limit down to match the roadway threshold remains a DNR priority.