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10/16/2017 @ 08:52 PM

A Hunt For The Ages!

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Posted for Larry Richards:

Jan 13 2012 I received and email from Bonnet Plume outfitters where I had hunted sheep. "Your wonderful wife has asked me to arrange a moose hunt for you, how does Sept 2013 sound” Think I turned her down? I am at the stage of my life where I do not wish any of the time left away, but I admit to looking forward a lot for the next 20 months as I gathered "stuff" for my next adventure. A heavier sleeping bag, some new boots, a new load for my gun, and a few other necessities were gradually accumulated. A second spot was open, and I twisted Dr. Stanley's arm until he decided to go as well. I think Connie wanted me to stay in "sheep shape", and I managed to stay close.

Sept 18 found us flying by way of Denver, and Vancouver to Whitehorse Yukon. No glitches at security, TSA, or customs were found, and all our gear arrived as well. We were scheduled to fly into base camp on the 20th, so I set out on the 19th to show Bill the sights I knew. As we returned at noon for lunch, we found that we were being sought, and the rest of our group was waiting at the airport for an early flight in to escape weather which threatened to stop flying for several days. A leisurely, night long, packing turned into a frantic rush, as we were ready to fly within 30 minutes. I love these charter bush flights, right above and even between the mountains until we landed on the gravel strip, to be greeted by our hosts and the last group of hunters flying out. We were cautioned not to be dismayed if we did not equal the 71-inch specimen that one had gotten, in that it would approach world record numbers. Some gun sighting, form signing, and companion greeting over we began to head for our respective spike camps. Some by horse, some by plane, some by ATV and me by boat.

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New Hunt Test Venue On The Move

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New Hunt Test Venue On the Move: Focusing on Education and Newcomers

Lindenhurst, IL – (November 4, 2013) – The Upland Gundog Association (UGA) is an organization that many in the hunting dog and bird hunting communities had never heard of two years ago when they began in 2011. Now, as 2013 is wrapping up, this organization has managed to appeal to bird dog owners, trainers and enthusiasts around the United States and even Canada. With over a dozen hunt test events, and 200 plus individual dogs participating in their venue, the UGA has caught the attention of many hunting dog enthusiasts.

“We are very unique”, said Ryan Eder, UGA President. “Not only is our venue more focused on the common bird hunter, but we are dedicated to educating people about dog training, and ultimately getting more hunters and dog owners in the field with their dogs. UGA hunt tests offer a test format for anyone, from youth or inexperienced handlers (men and women alike), to hunters, hunt testers and even professional gundog trainers”.

The UGA was founded originally as the Upland Retriever Association, with the goal of offering an upland hunt test for retrievers (not many existed at the time). “We recognized a lack of upland hunt test venues for retrievers”, said Ryan Eder, “but as our idea evolved, we wanted to apply our goals to all sporting breeds and offer a hunt test for hunters, by hunters. The same people that wrote the rule book are the same two people that judge the tests, eliminating a lot of political issues that many other hunt test organizations face today”.

UGA hunt test titles are not recognized on pedigrees, but the organization is not so sure they are concerned about that. When asked about getting UGA titles on AKC or UKC pedigrees, Ryan responded, “There are other hunt test venues whose titles will show up on a dog’s pedigree and we fully support those organizations. We even run our own dogs in them! UGA hunt tests are no walk in the park, and if a dog successfully completes one of our Gundog or Advanced level tests it absolutely proves that they are an exceptional bird dog. That is good enough for us”.

UGA is also concerned with providing an affordable venue for bird dog owners to participate in. Most hunt test venues charge between $45 and $65 per entry. To earn your title, most organizations require at least four “passes” (completing the test successfully according to the judge) which could total well over $200 for your title. Here’s the kicker; four passes would require attending at least two events, as they often only offer one test per day on a weekend. In addition to the entry fees totaling at least $200, you have to factor in the travel expenses and time as well. The UGA offers a chance for your dog to earn their title in one day, providing two hunt test runs per event and giving owners a chance to earn their ribbon in one venue for $99. “Dog training and hunting are expensive enough, we wanted to offer a worthwhile hunt test experience for the whole family at a reasonable price”, said Eder.

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Snowshoe Building Course offered near Cedar Rapids

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Deadline to sign up is Nov. 26!

Snowshoe Building Class
This winter Linn County Conservation will again offer the opportunity to build a pair of traditional snowshoes. Conservation Education Specialist Chuck Ungs will guide participants through the snowshoe-building process at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, 10260 Morris Hills Road, Toddville IA - just outside of Cedar Rapids. Those who have taken the class in the past have been very pleased with the finished shoes and have enjoyed the class. These sets would make a unique gift, functional tools or can be used as a grand decoration.

Participants should plan to attend the evening sessions on Thursday, December 5, 12 and 19. These evening classes will run from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at Wickiup Hill Learning Center near Toddville. With some time invested at home, kits can be completed around New Year’s. Additional evenings will be needed to varnish the shoes in the evenings at the Conservation Department shop located at 1890 County Home Road in the week following construction, between the Holidays. For best results, two or three of these evenings will be required to varnish the shoes properly.

Participants must pre-register and pay by November 26, so we can order kits. The $185 class fee includes the cost of a snowshoe kit, a binding set and varnish for each participant. To pre-register or for more details and options, call 319-892-6485. Attendance at all three lacing sessions is highly recommended. Kit building typically requires the manual dexterity of someone high school age or older. Class size is limited to 15.

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Second Annual Trout Fishing Derby

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October 5, 2013 - Saturday
after 7:00 a.m. for registration & rules at Manchester Fish Hatchery, 22693 205th Ave. Manchester, IA

Report back with catch BY 3:30 p.m.

Come and experience this second of its kind tournament for Iowa.
Stop by the Hatchery to register and receive the tournament emblem handout (necessary for participation) before
the competition begins. Bring your digital camera and download cord to compete for prizes. Once you’ve caught your prize trout, snap a photo of
your fish with the with the tournament emblem. Return to the Iowa
DNR Trout Hatchery by 3:30 p.m. to be included in
the competition. A light meal and fellowship time follows before
the prizes are awarded. Advanced Registration by 9/23/13 to be eligible for an earlybird prize. All should register by calling 563-927-4141 or e-mail macc@manchesteriowa.org

Limited to 50 participants. Cost:
$25 per registrant, must register by Sept 30 - kids (under 12) can be registered for $5 with a participating adult.

Special Notes: All Iowa DNR
rules and regulations apply. Proceeds will go to fund future stream improvements. Join us on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/DelawareCountyTroutFishingTournament?ref=hl
and check out the website at www.neiatrouttournament.com

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Native American Cultural Day near CR 8/24

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Native American Culture Day at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center 10260 Morris Hills Rd Toddville
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Native American Day at Wickiup Hill will be another entertaining and educational day for Linn County residents and visitors. This year, the event will highlight Jerome Kills Small with Turtle Island Storytellers Network. Watch a video clip below with Small presenting "Lakota Children's Stories" at the Native American Conference at South Dakota State University Feb. 20, 2010 at Brookings SD.


Admission runs $5 per eprson or $10 per family. No concessions are planned at this time. Please feel free to bring lawn chairs or blankets to watch the Native American dancers.

For more information please call 319-892-6485.

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On Saturday, August 10th starting at 8:30AM the Banner Shooting Range Staff and the Red Rock Wildlife Unit Biologist will be providing beginning dove hunters an opportunity to learn about dove hunting in Iowa. The program will review the many aspects of what is needed to participate in dove hunting. Including the following general topics:

· Dove behavior

· Dove hunting regulations

· Equipment (clothing, firearms, ammunition, field accessories, etc.)

· Safety and appropriate hunter behavior in the Field

· Typical dove flight characteristics

· Where to hunt

· Range time (Optional for those who want to pay for range time – 5 stand sporting clays will be set up with simulated dove hunting scenarios)

Participants should gather at the north concession building around 8:15AM with presentation to begin at 8:30.

P 515.961.6408 | BannerRange@dnr.iowa.gov

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Iowa’s 2012 Pheasant Harvest Increased 45 Percent

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Iowa DNR press release

Iowa’s pheasant harvest increased 45 percent in 2012, which was the first increase in harvest since 2005. Hunters harvested an estimated 158,000 roosters, lead by northwest Iowa, and followed by central and north central regions.
Iowa DNR press release

The increase in harvest was expected after the annual August Roadside Survey pointed to a population increase of 18 percent.

“We finally had a mild winter and spring in 2012 and our pheasant population responded,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Bobwhite quail, mourning dove, cottontail and squirrel harvest estimates increased as well.

The only decrease in harvest occurred with Hungarian partridge.

The number of small game hunters increased 5 percent in 2012. The harvest estimates are based on a survey of small game hunters.

The 2013 August Roadside Survey is Aug. 1-15, with results available by mid-September

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Better United

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For nearly ten years I was given the opportunity to stand eye to eye with dozens of sportsmen on a daily basis and discuss anything and everything having to do with the outdoors. One thing I learned in all those conversations; we are an opinionated lot. From choice of lure color to which slug to put in a semi-auto for deer, we all have our personal tastes in such matters and no matter the facts, if they contradict our own they are disregarded and we cannot be swayed.

I have noticed this premise while surfing through posts on topics we are passionate about and bring to discussion here, at this wonderful website. The more passionate we become concerning our position the more uncivil our tone and this is something that we all could use a little work in alleviating. The golden rule holds little sway on most topic pages since we are all insulated to some degree from any serious ramifications for the aforementioned tone. A simple rule of thumb for me: how would I respond if the one I direct the response lives next door?

Ethics is a touchy subject but never more so than in conservation issues. Take the lowly sucker. I have watched men grab these off the hook and toss them into the weeds. Now, let’s change the sucker to a walleye…get my point? Each of our perspectives were gained from years of experience whether on our own or in the company of others. When I come upon a spot to fish and spend fifteen minutes picking up diapers, candy wraps, children’s fruit drinks, empty lure packs I can quickly assume that this was not a lone fisherman but had brought his family along and what are the ramifications of his actions?

As we all head into the new fishing season I wanted to voice some observations such as the ones above for all those willing to read this-for contemplation. If I had caught that family red-handed would I have pulled out my phone and called the DNR Officer? What would the outcome have been if I attempted to confront and shame the individual? A couple months ago I was getting ready to leave a borrow pit when a truck came roaring into the parking lot. A man jumped from the truck, quite excited, and grabbed a bucket of trout he had caught earlier in the day and was going to dump them into the pit. I confronted him and he thanked me for informing him that it was illegal to do so and he replaced the fish in the bed and drove away. Where did he go with those trout? Did I over-step my bounds?

Personally, I have a simple equation I use while fishing. I share it with you in the hopes that it will compel you to do likewise, altering my approach to fit your tastes. The first fish, no matter the size or subject, always goes back. After that, every other fish of that species goes back and no sorting. Size limits are strenuously adhered to: for instance, no crappie under ten inches goes on my stringer…ever. All bass go back but for the occasional large mouth of many, it’s the end of the day and I keep one to split between the wife and myself. This might happen a couple times a year. If I only have one of any type on the stringer, it goes back. This happens more times than I care to admit! I never grasp the fish with my bare hands. Always by the lip or under the chin through the base of the gill plate. Most times I do not even lift them from the water but with hemostats, release the jig with a flick of the wrist. These are all simple things that I like to think help to enhance the fishery that I love. They are not cut and dry but they work for me. There are other rules I live by such as the footprints rule. I’ve been a smoker for forty years and can honestly state that I stopped flicking butts years ago…instead, they go in my pocket until I can dispose of them properly. A small thing but worthy of mention. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been driving behind someone who flips a burger wrapper from the window of their vehicle. I would assume they did not give this a second thought.

As sportsmen, we must give everything we do, a second thought. Do you have your conservation office numbers in your phone? Do you carry the regs for hunting and fishing in your vehicle at all times? It’s the simple things that if we all became more cognizant we would all stand a better chance of grand improvements regarding our passions over time. And, isn’t this really all that we want? That each time out will be better than the last? Or, at least the opportunity is there for it to be so?

Iowa has the least amount of public land per capita than of any other state in the Union. More private property signs go up every day. And, when I walk along the rivers of this great state it does not surprise me one bit that this is the case. Our first task is to be good stewards of the land that we come into contact with. Of course, in most instances, I’m preaching to the choir here but this was an issue I needed to get off my chest and to those who already practice all the above conservation measures in even more enhanced fashion, I beg your forgiveness. If we each concerned ourselves a little more with the preciousness of our resources, every time we are partaking of them, I would venture that there would be less opposition to what we are attempting to enjoy…the great outdoors.

I thank you for taking the time to read this and wish you the best in the coming seasons.

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How not to store your artifacts

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This is a true story as told to me by the gentleman that pulled this off. The guy, I'll call Bert, owned a small farm up around Nora Springs. One day he was out with his little Cub Tractor and a small farm wagon picking up rocks on his fields. He had quite a few rocks on the wagon when all of a sudden he lucked on to a beautiful 3/4 grooved tomahawk head. He said, I laid it right down on top of the rocks that were in the wagon, near the end-gate so I could retrieve it when I got ready to unload the rocks back at the barnyard. It just so happens that the wagon was equipped with a hydraulic hoist. As he backed the load of rocks up to a mud hole in the yard, he jumped down off the tractor to lift the end-gate, jumped back on the tractor and pulled the lever on the hydraulics to dump the load. As the last rock tumbled out of the wagon box, a vision of the ax head crossed his mind. Well needless to say, it's still at the bottom of that mud hole in the cattle yard.

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The Best Summer

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The Best Summer

(Picture of bass)

Branson, MO was a frequent vacation spot for my family growing up. It was a 5-6 hour drive, cheap, and had plenty of kid-friendly activities. Tradition called for a late afternoon stop in springfield to visit the giant Bass Pro Shops flagship. As a young boy I remember being completely overwhelmed with how big the place was. I could’ve spent an entire day walking the aisles, checking out fishing gear I never knew existed. They had a fish aquarium with several largemouth bass over 15 lbs. If I was lucky, my parents would give me a few quarters to play the gun arcade. In the spring of my junior year in high school we made the trek to Branson. We came back with a boat.

It was a 2003 Tracker Pro Team 185 Silver Anniversary Edition with a 40 horse Mercury outboard. I think it was the first year they used red paint on the exterior. It was the greatest boat in the world, and I had just got my driver’s license. My brother Mitch was three years younger than me, and within a week we had made our first trip to the local lake. From our driveway, we could have the boat in the water in less than 30 minutes. During the first month of summer break we were in the boat no fewer than three times a week. Gas was cheap then, but my parents made me get a job at the local grocery store to pay for it. 20 hours a week isn’t much, but it cut into my fishing time.

I learned a lot about bass fishing that year. My lure of choice was a skirted twin tail grub from Chompers. I would Texas rig it with a 1/4-3/8 oz bullet weight and flip to rock covered banks, drop-offs, points, and sunken trees. Many times Mitch and I would hit the lake in late afternoon and throw plastics until the sun started sinking and the weather cooled off. Then, we’d motor over to a silt dam on the other side of the lake and throw Rebel Pop-R’s. Those bass would go crazy! Few things are more fun than catching bass on topwater lures. There’s so much excitement when they crash the surface. The key is keeping yourself from immediately setting the hook and pulling it out of their mouth.

My dad is a neat freak. He can open the door to his 1000 sq. foot metal building and know if something is out of place before he takes two steps. He had harped on us from the beginning to make sure we didn’t bang up the prop on the boat. One particularly windy day we got in some shallow water and tore up the trolling motor prop really good on some rocks. I was worried I’d never be able to use the boat again, so we made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy a new one. Few people on earth are less mechanically inclined than me, and I couldn’t figure out how to put the stupid thing on. My only play was to man up, and take whatever repercussions I had coming. After coming clean I found out it wasn’t the trolling motor prop he was worried about, but the main engine prop. Oh…

Toby Keith and Willie Nelson had a song called “Beer for My Horses” that came out in April. Many nights that summer I drove my Chevy Blazer home with the windows down and that song playing on the radio. It was the best summer.


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