Outdoors Today

Women excel at outdoor sports

WOMEN HUNTERS is one of the fastest growing segments of outdoor sports.  For those who already have had the bug bite them and learned how much fun can be derived from securing additional food for the home, taking wild game birds or big game animals adds to the stock of highly nutritious ...

Black squirrel takes center stage

BLACK SQUIRRELS are not often observed around Marshall County forests. However, there is at least one pair using the oaks and hickory trees adjacent to the Sand Road who call that area home.  In other parts of the United States or Canada, black squirrels have become quite numerous in specific ...

Night eyes are watching

There are lots of animal species that are active during daytime hours and others at night.  Some are strictly nocturnal, others can be active day or night but prefer to hunt at night.  Think owls as the night shift, and hawks as the day shift. For a prey species like a mouse, vole, or rabbit, ...

Grassland and pheasants made for each other

RINGNECK PHEASANT season in underway. It has been a long road of recovery for this species from drastically low levels of several years ago. Primary reasons for population declines have many indicators: loss of significant conservation reserve grasslands on private property, severe winters ...

Tree color reaches prime time

TREE LEAF COLORS are at their best right now. Take time to immerse yourself in the annual color show now playing at a forest near you. I urge you to get outside and take a hike. Hike into a forest area at any of several Marshall County Conservation sites to see close up and personal what a ...

Great Egrets are great to see

GREAT EGRETS are noticeable primarily because their all white plumage sets it apart from the more casual grey and browns of the Great Blue Heron.And today's images record what many people may have seen in the flooded field north of Marshalltown adjacent to highway 14. Good binoculars helps get ...

River ramblings … again

The IOWA RIVER is showing us how it must react to too much rain falling in northern counties of the watershed. One week later, those runoff waters accumulated from numerous small creeks to join into the river and swell its volume. The swelling continued...and continued...and eventually made ...

Clean water starts with you … planting trees!

"I just want to do what's right for water quality. I want to have the archetypical farm that you'd be proud to show off to others and be proud to pass on to your kids."I was riding along with a landowner who was showing me one of his many tree plantings on a warm February day in central Iowa. ...

Fall is baton-passing time

There are four runners in this ageless 'track event' account of geologic time. There are four runners to the ebb and flow of earth's orbit of the sun. We human observers of life on earth have dubbed the inevitable, cyclic, and natural changes of the seasons as Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer. ...

Big Bluestem likes fire

TALL GRASS PRAIRIE once covered 140 million acres of North America's plains states. Now less than 4 percent remain nationally. In Iowa, the percentage is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. Iowa native prairie sites in large settings exist now in a handful of preserves dedicated long ago for ...

Deer image makes magazine cover

BEING PREPARED is a Boy Scout motto, and a wildlife photographer's motto. Always have a camera available for those instances when everything comes together at the right time, right place to capture a special moment in time. That is what this scribe did on July 21 last year. The result is now a ...

Young wildlife prospering

WILD TURKEYS are being seen more regularly by passers by traveling along rural roadways near or in the vicinity of forest lands. It is good to see them. It is proof that this past Spring's nesting season was very good due in part to relatively warm and dry weather conditions. Wild turkeys nest ...

The big ones did not get away

IOWA CONNECTIONS WALLEYE DERBY is now in the record books. The 2016 event organized by Dennis Baker was a smooth operation with many satisfied folks who enjoyed the great wilderness setting of boreal forests, clear blue water lakes and lots of hungry walleye fish. Baker arranges for a group ...

Last nest for the year

ROBINS (Turdus migratorius) are one of the most common feathered critters of the bird world. A few stay all winter feeding on berries or fruits. Most however fly south to areas that are warmer and have more food sources. Each spring, robins returning give rise to the saying "the early bird gets ...

Wild foods a good thing

The COMMON SUNFLOWER, Hileanthus annus, look like the sun, standing tall on sturdy stalks, pointing their faces to the light. The bright yellow petals around the future seed head glow brightly at early morning sunrises. This plant was domesticated a long time ago by native peoples. To them ...

A deer’s nose knows

DEER are members of the family biologists call Cervidae. Worldwide there are about 40 species of antlered animals. And to add to the complexity of it all, there are maybe four times that number of subspecies. In North America, we have five cervids, namely whitetail deer, mule deer , moose, elk ...

An Olympic Peninsula adventure

As a fisherman for the majority of my short 21 years of life, I can confidently say my favorite area to hike, adventure and interact with nature is the Olympic Peninsula in western Washington state.I was lucky enough to make it out there this month, and of course I had to wet some flyline ...

Straight-shooting students excel

STUDENT STRAIGHT SHOOTERS know how to compete in a very structured, safe and disciplined sports activity, namely to shoot clay targets with shotguns. And it is all conducted as part of the school approved sports program. In this case, the students from five area middle and senior high schools ...

Living with wild things

The IOWA RIVER WILDLIFE AREA (IRWA) is just one of several county owned natural areas dedicated to wildlife habitat. Management goals for the area have been established and are being implemented as time and finances allow. Acquired in 2007, it was opened to the public in September 2008. ...

An ecological mechanism

What does a naturalist at heart do in the middle of a hot summer day. Go for a hike, camera in hand, and hike into natural settings just to see what can be seen. Careful observations are a key element of an inquisitive mind. There is always something new to find, to smell, to see, and to ...