Ready, set, fish at Kid’s Fish Derby

FISH ON will be the shouts heard from near and far when July 8 arrives. Riverside Cemetery will be the location. Time for the Kid’s Fish Derby will be 8 a.m. until noon.

For young kids on their first fishing outing, or even if they have been there in past years, it does not take long for a floating bobber to bounce wildly and then go under the water’s surface as a hungry bullhead tries to escape with a piece of earthworm bait. Trouble is that the worm will be on a hook, the fish will make its short run, and then with bent poles and tight lines, the battle is on. The fish will pull hard, but the kids will pull harder. Delightful squeals of excitement will echo across the pond. Soon the catch will be secured in a five gallon bucket. And as soon as the hook is re-baited, it will be thrown into the water to await the next bite. It usually take about 15 seconds for the bobber to bounce again. The process will be repeated hundreds of time on this Saturday morning.

The Ikes club members and the bait and tackle store will have some fishing related door prizes to give away. And special recognition will be given to the largest and smallest fish brought to the weigh-in table. Riverside Cemetery’s facebook page will post some photos of the days activities. Personal cell phone pictures by mom or day, grandpa or grandma, aunt or uncle will also preserve the memories of this fun day for kids. Encourage young ones you know to participate. Fishing poles will not be provided, so bring whatever equipment you have. Even old long section cane poles will work just fine.

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Another Iowa youth, this time an archer from Mount Vernon has a success story to tell. Logan Kelly has become the first archer to shoot a perfect score, 300 points, on June 17 at the International Bowhunters Organization Midwest Invitational National Archery in the Schools Program 3D Challenge tournament. The contest took place in Bloomington, Indiana. The course consisted of six animal silhouette targets set broadside at various distances between 10 and 15 meters. On each animal target the 10 ring is about the size of an adult fist. Each archer shoots five arrows per target, must get all five arrows inside the center ring, and do that for all six targets to get a 300 score.

But part of the challenge tournament has another wrinkle.No bow sights are allowed and only finger releases can be used. Logan says this combination makes it pretty hard to get all five arrows in that fist-sized ten point ring. Nevertheless, he did it. A case of nervous energy tried to take control so Logan told himself to calm down. He did and on the last target, the judges duly noted all five arrows in the ten ring. He did it, shot a perfect round. Photos were taken, prizes awarded and Logan received a commemorative First 300 patch, targets and a family membership to the International Bowhunters Organization.

Logan will be entering his sophomore year at Mount Vernon High School this fall. During this summer’s break, he will travel to Orlando, Fla., on July 20-22 to compete against 5,000 other archers in the world championship. Logan hopes to be able to keep up his average during practice rounds at home. It will likely take a perfect or near perfect score at the world championship to be in the top ranking. We wish Logan the best this summer as he prepares for the nationals.

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NASP (National Archery in the Schools Program was initialed on March 3, 2002. The program has grown rapidly for schools that choose to participate. It is incorporated into part of the physical training programs of the schools. It is an activity that is fully co-gender. This not a bench-warmer sport where only the top players get onto the floor or field. NASP boys and girls involve everyone and everyone can be a winner, or at least try their hardest to place well.

At the national archery shoot off events, the kids are in the running for over $100,000 individual cash scholarships. These prizes start at $20,000 for the top scorer with other ratings for $15,000, $10,000, $5,000 and $2,500. And all of this is possible because of sponsors who see the benefit of a school sport that will ultimately get them outside often.

With all the excitement that radiates from the students, and volunteers, NASP program has a profound affect not only on the youth competing, but on their parents as well. During a past national tournament, a father approached Roy Grimes, president of NASP to let him know just what NASP has meant to him over the years. He said “I’ve been attending NASP tournaments since his sons were in the sixth grade. My last son graduates this year and I will miss coming to the tournaments as much as they will miss competing.” This shooting sport has kindled a spark in many young boys and girls to achieve beyond their dreams, gain confidence, and learn the benefits of self discipline required to consistently put arrows in a ten ring. They measure success one arrow at a time.

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CONSERVATION LAW ENFORCEMENT can and does involve many aspects of natural resource protection. The following is a different type of case that resulted in arrests and heavy fines for the bad guys. Poaching, or more commonly known as the illegal action or taking of fish, game, plant life, is still stealing from the public.

In this case it was the poaching of walnut trees!

At Pisgah, Iowa last month, May 25 to be exact, Iowa DNR conservation officers charged two men with cutting down and selling walnut trees from a state-owned park. Bradley Lynn Hagerman, 38 of Pisgah and Eric Robert Freihage, 30, of Council Bluffs are both charged with one count of the following: Second-degree theft, a class D felony, Timber Buyer-Pond or Accounting Violation, a serious misdemeanor, and Timber Buyer Violation, another serious misdemeanor.

Both Hagerman and Freihage admitted to a DNR Conservation Officer of transporting and selling nine walnut trees between Jan. 24-30. The liver trees were cut down by the men at Loess Hills State Forest of western Iowa. They sold the trees to Midwest Walnut in Council Bluffs and received $4,713 in compensation. The appraised value of the trees however was over $7,500. Both men turned themselves in after arrest warrants were issued. They have since bonded out. The DNR press release makes special note that a criminal charge is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. It will be interesting to see how this tree theft case ends up after the court hears the evidence. Stay tuned.

Poaching is a crime. If you observe a fish or wildlife (or plant theft), report it to TIP as soon as possible. TIP stands for Turn In Poachers. The toll-free 24/7 number is (800) 532-2020. Provide as much information as possible, give an accurate description of the individual, vehicle type, time and location of the suspected violation. TIP is an organization that is allowed by its bylaws to make rewards to anonymous tipsters if a case can be made and successful prosecution obtained. Since 1985, TIP of Iowa has made over $230,000 in approved rewards.

Our local state conservation officer for Grundy and Marshall counties is Tyson Brown. He can be reached at his state cell phone at (641) 751-5246. He will always be glad to hear your information. Then let him put the pieces of a puzzle together to make investigations and if needed arrests of fish and game law violators.

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For your funny bone: You will never be lost if you remember that moss always grows on the north side of your compass.

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Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with BS degree in Fish & Wildlife Biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.