Outdoors Today

Seeking a bountiful spring

Spring can be as bountiful as fall harvest if you know where to look. Iowa Outdoor enthusiasts have ample spring opportunities to test their skills that come in different combinations: Wild turkey, Asparagus, Crappie, Trout and Morrel Mushrooms, can all be pursued and collected the same day if ...

Pope & Young Club: A class act

­The POPE and YOUNG CLUB meets at a convention site every other year to give honor to the best of the best North American big game animals taken by archers. Officers of the P&Y Club also recognize corporate sponsors, and present awards to a wide variety of archers, both women and men, boys ...

Saving and protecting wildlife

Historically wildlife populations were kept in check primarily by weather, food availability and predation. With many influences of man on the landscape, wildlife in some instances, have flourished to nuisance levels by human’s standards such as White-tailed Deer and Canada Geese. Others have ...

Taxidermists shows their best

IOWA TAXIDERMIST ASSOCIATION's members did an excellent job of bringing their best works for show and friendly competition last weekend. Today's image of the interaction between two top predator species helps tell a story of hostile intent between between wolf and coyote. The display was ...

Spring!

CARDINALS have a lot going for them, and while some of the biology of this red colored bird is known, science will never know it all. Part of the mystery of nature is that the more we learn about a subject, the more we understand what we do not know. So science is never settled, just in a ...

Snow goose banded on Baffin Island

OPEN WATER in every area pond, lake and stream is a potential draw for migrating birds of all sizes. A place like Green Castle will gets its share of ducks, geese, shorebirds and other passerine species over the next two months. The migration is in full swing for many birds. Some migrate ...

Records made to be broken

The 2017 DEER CLASSIC is a fantastic show of whitetail deer trophies and related sporting goods. The event was held last weekend, so it too is in the record books. Hundreds of exhibitors, about 20,000 paid admissions, and lots of fun awaited those who made the effort to attend. They were not ...

Fire is a magic management tool

FIRE is a great tool if used carefully and skillfully. For prairie grasslands, preparation work begins the year before with analysis of aerial maps, mowing fire lanes around grassland plots, and then deciding how best to burn only enough fields to equal about one-third of the total area. A ...

Migratory stop at Hendrickson Marsh

SNOW GEESE (Chen caerulescens) are big and white, except for those that exhibit the "blue" morph phase. To help confuse the casual bird watcher even more, the blue-morph color variant is not really blue but brown and gray. That is why avid bird watchers and hunters call them "snows and blues." ...

Kestrels get new nest boxes

The AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) is a very small bird of prey, a falcon actually, and it is quite adept at catching small prey to make its living. Finding homes to live in has been problematic. So conservation agencies like the Marshall County Conservation Board have decided to assist. ...

Raptor feeding frenzy cleans up carrion

EAGLES and HAWKS that are residents this winter have to eat to survive. Eagles may look for fish in the Iowa River at places like Three Bridges County Park or Hendrickson Marsh. However, out in the middle of ag land sites far away from water, bald eagles will congregate at food sources they ...

Groundhogs sleep a long time

GROUNDHOG DAY was February 2nd. Most of these critters could care less about all the human activity above ground. Sleeping (hibernation) is still what is important for this species of rodent. But this fact is interesting: From a celestial point of view, early Feb is a "cross-quarter" day, ...

Marshes, mink and muskrats

MARSHES have a long love/hate relationship with people in America. Thankfully we've almost made a full circle of attitudes concerning these special land forms. Once despised as impediments to a young and growing nation, wetlands were drained, ditched, and developed. It took a long long time for ...

Trees: One type of natural history book

TREES are all around us. We like their beauty, their shade for our homes, their wildlife benefits, and in many cases for their long term benefits as part of conservation plans. And when they are mature, wood products for lumber become another use. And trees are a renewable natural resource ...

Things to do: Wildlife watching

WINTER WILDLIFE WATCHING is still a high priority activity for lots of folks. The backyard bird feeder is just one way to participate from the warmth and comfort of ones home. If you don't mind dressing in multiple layers for an outside hike onto a prairie grassland, county park forest, or ...

And a river runs through it …

The IOWA RIVER has many secrets, some of which it reveals easily and others it holds in deep pockets well hidden from sunshine and people. But it is no secret that winter in Iowa, and especially our recent spell of very cold air temperatures, has allowed ice to grow thicker on area lakes, ponds ...

Resolved: Get outside this year

HAPPY NEW YEAR to all the readers of Outdoors Today. I periodically meet many of you are various functions, in a store, or at a casual chance meeting. You tell me how much you enjoy reading natural history items in the T-R. I thank you for your interest in nature. My desire is to learn more ...

Winter is crunch time for wildlife

WINTER in Iowa can guarantee two things: Cold and Snow. The question will be how any winter compares to past winters. Water cooler discussions at the office may revolve around how this winter will fair compared to an average winter. Average is a hard thing to define since every winter will ...

Eagles take flight

BALD EAGLES are huge raptors having wingspans of seven to eight feet.  Because they have such a large wing area, wing beats tend to be slow, much slower than those of red-tail hawks.  Slow wing beat pattern alone is enough to distinguish a large raptor in flight as an eagle even when you view ...

Deer hunt memories live on

DEER HUNTING MEMORIES area being made as you read this.  Somewhere either locally or in other far reaches of Iowa, a guy or gal will not necessarily be seeking a specific big buck deer. They are just participating in the hunt with family or friends where any adult doe or even a small buck may ...