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10/16/2017 @ 08:49 PM

Of interest to us all from the close of the 2012 Iowa Legislative Session

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As written in the desmoinesregister.com:

Here’s a quick look at what happened in the Iowa Legislature in the world of pheasants, parks, dams and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, according to DNR lobbyist Diane Ford.

–Lawmakers provided $1 million for low-head dam removal and related river projects for the budget year beginning July 1. That’s in the mid-range of previous appropriations.

–Parks maintenance got a $500,000 boost, to $3.7 million. The department will keep hiring the equivalent of 50 full-time, seasonal workers to help shore up the parks, as ordered by lawmakers last year.

–REAP, the popular preservation program, stayed level at $12 million.

–DNR was told to do a pheasant-stocking study, but only if private money is available. Some biologists say most pheasant-stocking is ineffective, but hunters are looking for ways to boost lower-than-normal bird populations.

–The state will now sell three-year hunting, fishing and trapping licenses, which will save buyers a few bucks and help raise an extra $1 million for fisheries and wildlife projects.

–The lake restoration program will get $6 million, up from this year’s $5.5 million.

–Lawmakers kept their annual commitment of $5 million for park infrastructure work.

–The DNR’s general fund support will rise $50,000, to $12.5 million. Another $2 million will go to flood mitigation work.

–A separate appropriation provides $5 million, combined over two years, for the restoration of Lake Delhi dam.

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Intimidating Tributaries

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Once bitten, twice shy.

It is something we all learn at an early age and can determine our courses of action the older we get. When I was younger and lacking gear and knowledge, to look upon one of Eastern Iowa's tributaries with pole in hand would fill me with dread. Like most, I took the path of least resistance...this included a coffee can full of nightcrawlers and a bobber above a baithook. Yet still, it was so much 'safer' to stick to smaller, or more tranquil environs where I could satisfy my angling curiosities rather than attempt to tackle the Wapsi, Iowa, Cedar, Maquoketa, etc.

When customers come to me and want to get started whether for the fact that they are recently retired and want to give it a go, or young families looking for some adventure, my first and foremost rule is to keep it simple. To me it does not get any simpler than a jig and a bait of choice.

And this is all well and good for an outing to the family farm pond, or shore fishing the local city impoundment, but what about that county park next to the Wapsipinicon? As anyone here can attest, nothing can clear out the tackle box quicker than a fishing trip to one of our rivers without much forethought into the best way to approach the attempt. Discouraging would be an understatement.

With some basic understanding this needs not be the result of the attempt. In an effort to keep the article short, I will try to keep to the basics inherent with the art of jigging moving water, which to my way of thinking gives the most bang for the buck.

The first question obviously: where are the fish? There is an old adage; "90% of the fish are in 10% of the water and 90% of that water is along the shoreline. I hold this to be true to a great extent but with all empirical facts there will always be exceptions as we can all attest.

Another adage is this: There are two ways to catch a fish with bait. Enticement, or provocation. You either get them to bite due to hunger, or by dangling your offering in their 'strike zone' where you finally push their tolerance level to the limit. You will swat at a fly, no matter how full you are, a bass on the other hand can only bite it! This is why a simple twister tailed jig can be so deadly. Any type of minnow imitating bait can be quite effective no matter the quarry, so look for the plastics that do just that and I can guarantee you will get action from your results.

But if you retrieve your presentation where there are no fish? Zip. So, we are back to square one. Whenever I come upon a spot along moving water the very first thing I do is look at the surface. And, I am looking for only one thing, the direction of the flow. All water, as we know, flows downstream. But, there are times where it can't seem to make up its mind and these are the areas we are looking for. Where this water that is shall we say, undecided meets the water that is quite determined to flow downstream-that is called the seam. I've also heard it called the breakline. The important thing is this, from top to bottom this is an area of least resistance and will hold fish.

There are two ways to approach a break. From above or below. Counting the jig becomes paramount to your success. If you are above the break and cast out in the current to let the bait drift down to the break, that number you count will be different than the count you will experience if you stood below the break and cast above it to get it in the same zone.

The count that gets you in that strike zone without catching snags and rocks all day is determined by so many factors that only practice and variations on your differing plastics, line class, jig heads, rod length as well as wind and speed of current can gain you the gratification you desire. I fear that I am already making this too complicated and will have lost some of you looking for help, and if that is the case, I apologize and ask that you only go back and read it again, then get out there and start counting...!

Oh, another thing, river specimens are not quite as sensitive to weather fluctuations as their lake and pond cousins so, anytime is a good time to give it a go. Although, river fluctuations can have dire effects on their temperment and only time on the water will teach you how to manipulate these periods to the best of your abilities. The important thing is, spend a few dollars on the most diminutive of baits that A) you don't need to keep alive and B) can provoke a strike from anything at any time.

I hope this gives you some courage to take on one of Iowa's most unappreciated resources, our tributaries to the Mississippi River. I wish you the best memories in your attempts to come.

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Lucky 7, Costa Rica style

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As you long standing members well know, I have a very understanding, long suffering sportsman's wife. This winter I opted to take her someplace warm to compensate for my having filled one of my "someday I'm gonna" dreams by hunting a Dall Sheep. Being the guy I am, however, I requested that there be a couple of days of fishing which I might do or we could share in the process. Hearing no objections, I did some research on places warm, with some chances to fill another slot in the list.. a tarpon.
Some of my earliest memories of reading sporting literature are those of Capt. Stu Apte catching tarpon. As I fill those someday I'm gonna dreams, I still recall those stories and photos. My research (which I did on line, amazing myself), I found several, and queried 4. 3 were in Florida, one in Costa Rica. We opted for the more adventuresome, probably less crowed, international trip.
We did do some touristy things first, and there are lots of them to choose from. Zip lining and aerial bridges we passed on, but saw a lot of neat stuff. We were disappointed that volcano Arenal had stopped erupting. But enough of that, this is a sporting site, not a travel site. After a difficult foggy night, hairpin curve, slick road trip across the mountains we made our way to Tarponville, Manzanillo, Costa Rica.
Local citizens didn't know it by that name, but the policia were kind enough to call the number provided to get the staff to meet us at the creek, beyond which the lodge lay. Jim DeBerardinis they knew, just not his business name. A retired college prof from Montana, he and his wife and staff knew how to make us feel like family from the outset. A barefoot crossing of the stream, and 200 yard hike with our gear had us in comfortable style, surrounded by jungle, beach, the Caribbean Sea, and fine wood structure. We ate fresh fruit from just beyond the confines, in fact, a coconut that fell a mere 20 yards from the porch. No turista here, we were told, and to this time, I've not proven them wrong.
Day one fishing with my guide, Mushe, and his son, made my arm ache casting a heavy jig, but only a couple of short stikes were produced. Jim caters to fly fishermen, but did not object to my spinning tackle. Ann, his wife didn' care how, but wanted a jackfish for a meal, as did Wilson the cook. We spent the day in a 17 foot boat, with a 40 HP motor on the ocean, but I didn't feel uncomfortable.
I took a day off, and spent it seeing the local sights. We began early on day 3. We could see tarpon rolling in near where the rollers broke over, and being careful not to let any breakers occur behind us, we slipped ever closer to where we could see the activity. A big fin and tail rolled a few yards out, and I cast in front of it. One's first encounter with the Silver King should come with more than 3 meters of line out. The first hit I missed, but instinctively let the jig settle. You've all seen fish flash at a bait right? Imagine a 5 foot flash! And again I missed. I reeled up the slack, let the jig settle, just like I'd missed a crappie and that fish hit right now. This time I stuck him. OUT of the water he came, a mere 10 feet from the boat, threw the jig back at me, and splashed down 2 feet from the boat, leaving me awstruck.
Fish number two I was bound to hook deeper, and when he hit a few minutes later, I laid the wood to him. And, as a result, broke the 25 pound line. OUT of the water he came anyway, with my jig stuck firmly in the corner of his mouth as he jumped twice, disconnected from the source of his aggravation. l "Maybe not so hard next time, you tihink?" queried Mushe, as he tied me a new bait. Fish 3 and 4 were one jump wonders. Number 5 lasted two jumps a 30 yard run and into jump 3 before coming unhooked. Mushe said I wasn't far from average, and I remembered Jim telling me that he'd landed strike numb er 22. When number 6 lasted just two jumps, I was ready for lunch. I told Jim that I wasn't sure what my emotions were, but it seemed I'd never before had so much fun being disappointed and unsuccessful.
As we arrived at the reef in front of the river that separates Panama from Costa Rica that afternood, Mushe noted that the other boats were out a bit furthure. "Maybe they go out for the afternoon" stated my guide. "maybe not" says I as I hooked number 7. One jump, two, now a 50 yard run followed by jump 3 and I was still tied on. An hour later, and several jumps, runs around the boat, under the boat, and lots of just plain pulling, my tarpon came to boatside. I spent the hour talking nicely to the fish about staying hooked and I'd make him a place in history and let him go, and now that he was ours, we did so, somnewhere between 80 and 100 pounds of siver king.
Fish 8 was one of a double header Mushe ( who was using a hand line) and I hooked, and lost . Fish 9 staightened the big hook in the jig. Number 10 was a 3 jumper. Number 11 didn't jump, and was predicted to be a jack by the guide, and 20 minutes later he was proven right. I had my fish for the caribbean dish called "rundown"
We fished next morning, but breakers were 300 yards further out, and fish nowhere to be found. We left 15 minutes too late, and got soaked in a rainstorm. I used my last half day the next morning, and it was plain the weather had negatively affected the fish. We saw a few roll, but only a couple light hits. I quit fishing to continue as a tourist and husband, fine with that, and fulfilled with memories of another bucket list spot filled. I leflt my spinning gear with the cook and manager for their use, and safe keeping for if/when I come back. Or maybe I'll try the fly rod thing, now that I have one under my belt.

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NRA Basic Instructor Training & Pistol Instructor Class

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We need more certified instructors to train the next generation of safe &
responsible shooters! As an instructor, you can experience the personal
satisfaction of teaching others the basics -- the knowledge, skills and
attitudes that will lead to a lifetime of safe, enjoyable and successful
involvement in firearm and shooting activities

NRA Basic Instructor Training (BIT) & Pistol Certification class

Saturday & Sunday May 12th & 13th 2012

Location: North Linn Fish & Game Club Central City, IA

Cost: $285

Range Safety Officer (RSO) certification also available.

For additional Information contact:
John Allen
NRA Training Counselor

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Drake Sportsmen's Club FREE Youth Shoot

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The Drake Sportsmen’s Club is proud to announce their first annual youth shoot and
education day that is to take place on April 14th, 2012. This shoot will be a 4 ½ hour
long event from noon-4:30. There is NO COST for the kids to attend, and they will all go
home with a prize from the day. Kids will get the opportunity to learn firearm safety and
instruction from instructors and college shooters as well as live firing of shotguns, .22
rifles, BB guns, and bow & arrows, and a dog handling session with live hunting dogs.
This event has limited space and availability so only the first 20 youth will be accepted.
Because the youth will be firing live weapons we ask that they be 12 or older, or with the
parents discretion as to attending. There is a release of liability waiver that will need to be
filled out prior to participating in the event that can either be mailed or emailed to event
coordinator and club president Uriah Hansen. To register your child or children for the
event and receive a copy of the release of liability waiver please contact Uriah Hansen at
641-640-1273 or via email at uhansen6@gmail.com.

We will be giving away 4 Mossberg 500 Bantam's and 5 Crossman 760 BB Gun's along with some other assorted gifts for the kids in attendance.

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4th Annual Wild Game & Fish Dinner

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Sponsored by area Christian Sportsmen
Saturday – March 17, 2012
5:00 – 8:00 PM

Come to the Gowrie Fire Station
1108 Main Street, Gowrie, IA 50543
for an awesome Wild Game and Fish meal. Bring what you Caught or Shot or
Store bought (cooked) to share with everyone!

This year’s program will be presented by Jon Anderson and Gary Goodwin
of Iowa Fishers of Men. In addition, we’’ll have games, prizes and activities
for the family and the kids: BB Gun Shooting Range, a Casting Contest,
Fly Fishing Exhibition, Gun Safety and more!

All activities are supported by donations from the community.
Your generosity is appreciated!
Call Marc 515-351-1252 or Greg 352-3896 for information.

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Facing Whitetail Facts

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As some of you may remember there was a time when I posted here, regularly years ago. There is no excuse for my absence. I'll be frank and blame my software inabilities exacerbated by computer glitches.

So, with that said, what brings me back and what poses itself to my mental quandaries and forces me to type away at the keys in hopes that YOU will give me your undivided attention? Let's face it; the numbers don't lie. The deer harvest is, shall we say, down.

I made a determination this past season to do the late muzzle loader and due to the high prices associated with the 'privelege' of hunting (thanks to insurance lobbies and our wonderful representatives at the State level) I grabbed two weeks vacation and thanks to gas prices, decided to stay close to home. No big deal, right?

Without boring you with the details, let me say in passing that I went on consecutive days to my most productive areas from past years and saw no sign that would indicate to me that there had been any activity at all for at least two, if not three weeks. I was six days in and had not scared a single tail. I chanced upon the DNR WMA maps page on Friday morning and saw a sliver of public land that I felt fit the bill. I set my coffee down and said, "Hot Dog"...or something to that effect. It was a Yogi Berra godsend in that there was no way that anyone would go there because it was just too crowded!

A simple determination made all the difference; with the roar of traffic close by, I drew a bead on a fat doe amongst a dozen and filled the tag. I was the only one who had been there for quite some time. I was the only one there, that day. The evidence was apparent and I won't dwell on it. What I will elaborate on is the conversations that occurred after the fact with DNR types.

After filling in a State agent about the results I'd achieved, we had a long conversation concerning the situations for coming seasons and it is not pretty. His concern was with the amount of tags, the fact that the prices are being driven by those who do not want us to hunt at all-thanks to liability issues-and the greed of our State to get as much dollar from you as possible by putting out as many tags as they can to keep the revenue flowing. This is not healthy, folks! I verified this through talks with a local county conservation officer whom I trust without hesitation. The folks in charge of the tag prices DO NOT TRUST YOU WITH A GUN. Their hope is to drive you away and compel you to find other things to do with your time. How? Tag prices out of reach and NO DEER to hunt...that's how.

I asked him a question that I considered quite simple, "Why not have intervening years where a hunter gets one tag. Buck or doe is no consequence because there will be no seperate seasons. You will be given three month to fill it...PERIOD. This approach would allow some breathing room for all, not to mention the benefits for the health of the population. Once you filled the tag; Game over.

Whether by hook, or crook, bow or muzzle loader, shotgun or handgun, you have ONE tag...period.

Would you be willing to settle for this?

Most importantly, would the State? Or, are they just too greedy for that flow of cash? Do we truly care about the long-term ramifications of the situation as it is unfolding at the present rate?

One tag. Could you live with this approach every other year until the deer population stabilizes?

It is time to consider this proposition before it is too late and the ones who don't want us out there at all win by default, people.

Please consider this a warning. The golden years we saw just five years ago are dwindling away quickly. If we don't cut back on the tags we'll never see those glorious numbers again in our lifetime.

We need to talk to our State representatives and we need to do it now. For the sake of our deer and our hunting fraternity; for the sake of our children who've never experienced the thrill and gratification of a harvest-we need to act now. No more bow here and shotgun there: everyone with one tag for one season for one year. Are you willing? I think the deer are.

The best to your efforts in the coming year.

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Des Moines Ghost Timber Ghost NWTF Chapter

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The Des Moines River Timber Ghost Chapter of the NWTF donated 32 frozen turkeys to the local food pantries and woman shelters last month. A special thanks to Fareway foods for supplying us with the turkeys.

The chapter also attented an NWTF awards banquet in Cedar Rapids and received two awards: One for the most improved banquest by % contributions. The second award was for most improved $ at a banquet. The banquet staff would like to thank everyone that attented last years banquet, without your support and contributions our success would not have been attainable. We would also like to encourage anyone to attend our next baquet on March 2, 2012 at the Webster County Fairgrounds Building.

Des Moines River Timber Ghost NWTF Chapter Staff

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Long bow building course near Cedar Rapids

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Over time, many types of building skills have been lost to modern manufacturing. A skill that is still used today, as it has been for generations, is bow building. If you have an interest in building your own bow with the help of an experienced instructor, this is your chance.
Gene Winter has been building bows for many years and will be sharing his skill with workshop participants on Saturday, February 4 and Sunday, February 5 from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. The workshop will be held at the Conservation maintenance shop, which is located behind the Conservation Department’s administrative building at 1890 County Home Road (next to the Abbe Center in rural Marion).
Workshop cost is $200 per person which includes one stave. Additional staves may be purchased for an additional cost. Registration by January 31, 2012 is required by calling
319-892-6485 for further information. The class size is limited.

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Snowshoe Building Course near Cedar Rapids

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This winter Linn County Conservation will again provide the opportunity to build a pair of snowshoes from a kit. Conservation Education Specialist Chuck Ungs will guide participants through the snowshoe building process. Ungs has built 30 plus of these kits to date and has lead more than 100 others in past classes, so is qualified to lead you through the process. 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 would be a grand decoration.

The first class will be held the evening of Sunday, December 18. Participants should also plan to attend the other evening sessions on December 20 and 21. These evening classes will start at 7 p.m. and end at 10 p.m. at Wickiup Hill Outdoor Learning Center, near Toddville. Additional evenings will be shorter to coat the shoes with varnish at our shop near the junction of County Home Road and Hwy. 13.

Participants must pre-register and pay by December 13, so kits can be ordered. The $165 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 please call 319-892-6485 or e-mail Chuck.Ungs at LinnCounty.org . Attendance at all three evening sessions is highly recommended. Kit building typically requires the manual dexterity of someone high school age or older.

With some time invested at home, kits can be completed before New Years. After lacing is completed we will be varnishing the snowshoes on a variety of evenings at the Conservation Department shop near our headquarters. For best results, two or three of these additional evenings will be required to varnish the shoes properly. Class size is limited to 15 individuals.

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