It may seem a bit early to be planning for this fall, but that is exactly what must be done by Iowa DNR biologists. It is a yearly ritual and legal requirement.The timeline to get all the T's crossed and I's dotted cannot wait until late summer. Too many things must fall into place, and if talking about waterfowl seasons, federal fish and wildlife guidelines create a general template for the states when setting their duck and goose seasons.
That is why each year about this time; the Iowa DNR holds a public hearing concerning the proposed rule modifications for hunting and trapping seasons to come this fall. The ICN network allows simultaneous participation of citizens from 18 ICN locations across the state. The following is just the 'tip of the iceberg' regarding the proposals.
Topics to be discussed will include the Wildlife Habitat Promotion program with local entities and dropping the controlled hunting option for Lake Odessa (Eastern Iowa). In addition, duck and goose seasons for 2010 will be very similar to last year, assuming federal guidelines will remain the same as 2009. There will be adjustments of dates based on the 2010 calendar. The special Canada goose September season will not be held in 2010. However, the 15 day urban areas Canada goose hunting plan for Waterloo/Cedar Falls, Des Moines and the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City areas will stay in place.
T-R PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURG
Survivors of the long winter, this doe and buck (with new budding antlers), will have time to adjust to new vegetation growth and renew their body condition. Marshall County’s antlerless deer quota for this coming fall is 450. Planning work for the proposed fall 2010 seasons has been accomplished by the Iowa DNR. The next step is a public hearing on April 27th from 6 to 9 pm at 18 locations throughout Iowa using the Iowa Communications Network (ICN). For this area, the ICN site is at Iowa Valley Community College, 3702 South Center St, Marshalltown.
Deer related regulation proposals include season dates. Statewide, progress on deer population management goals indicate more counties are at or close to desired levels.Harvest and survey data show far southeast Iowa should be close to or at population objectives now. Reducing the antlerless quota numbers slightly has the effect of allowing the sell out of all tags and diverting hunting pressure by hunters to adjacent parts of the state where more deer hunting pressure is needed.
Antlerless-only quotas are proposed to be increased by 1,400 in three counties and reduced by 13,800 in 27 counties.
Deer management is a long term type of deal. Trend line data clearly shows the validity of carefully applying hunting pressure where it is needed. For each of the last four years, the graphed trend lines indicate that the overall population of deer is going down. As in all things related to wildlife management, biologists must work within the restraints and realities of natural cycles of weather, habitat, recruitment and losses from all causes. The long term goal for Iowa deer is to have the post season herd stabilize somewhere between 170,000 and 200,000 animals.
Furbearers bring their own unique set of time tested scenarios. For example, bobcats are the latest wildlife management success story. In Iowa the range of bobcats continues a slow expansion from south to north. Strongholds for this feline predator continue to be southern Iowa and several Missouri River border counties.
The trapping quota for bobcat in the south two tiers of counties is proposed to increase from 200 to 250. Iowa's other furbearing animals are the mink, muskrat, raccoon, badger, opossum, weasel, striped skunk, red and gray fox, beaver, coyote and river otter.
Sportsmen and women that utilize the recreational opportunities of game seasons each fall are encouraged to attend the ICN meeting on April 27. These are the users that have paid for wildlife management, natural lands and fish and game law enforcement through the purchase of hunting licenses, stamps and other fees.
Marshalltown area city deer hunters that want to participate in the urban hunt this fall will have another opportunity to get all the training and paperwork items taken care of. To clarify, any archer that previously took the tests and was certified last year need only take the proficiency test sometime this year to enable them to purchase city deer licenses. Once the IBEF course is passed, the archer will not have to take it again, ever. A side benefit is that you will have this task completed for other states or Canadian provinces requiring IBEF certification if you ever plan on an out-of-state bowhunt. That is a good thing to have.
For new archers wishing to become certified for city hunts, there will be a field day instructional class on May 15 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Marshall County Ikes grounds. To attend this field day, the hunter MUST first take the on-line International Bowhunter Education Foundation (IBEF) course, successfully pass the test, and receive a computer printed voucher to this effect. That voucher is the admission ticket to the field day. The course in available at www.bowhunter-ed.com.
The May 15 class is a good time to get this job accomplished. For details on the exact steps one must go through, do feel free to contact this scribe evenings at 488-2382 or Roger Kaput, evenings, at 641-753-7446. We have been through the course, and as instructors, can advise prospects of what to expect and how to make sure the process is followed. We will be glad to assist.
A September field day is being contemplated but a date is not yet set. Stay tuned as the time draws nearer. Marshalltown urban landowners that want deer control can assist in the process. The Park and Recreation Department is the clearing house for city property owners' names and addresses. They will in turn offer the contact information only to certified archers. Personal one-on-one meetings and permission forms can be secured prior to the mid September opener for city deer hunting. Increasing the number of certified archers is one goal of the Marshalltown deer task force.
Marshalltown's urban deer hunt in 2010-11 is likely to have a recommendation to the DNR Commissioners for 100 licenses valid in the city limits and an additional 100 licenses in the perimeter zone. The IBEF training course noted above is required for city limits licenses only, not the perimeter licenses.
Spring brings wildlife babies into the world. And this reminder is in order; do not play the mistaken role of 'rescuer' for little bunnies, fawns or other feathered or furry critters. They will do just fine by themselves, with the care the parents provide, mostly when we humans are sound asleep at night. For instance, cottontail rabbits out of the ground nest are perfectly capable of survival. If rabbits are pests of your garden, a two foot tall fence will do the trick.
Another reality of wildlife is that a majority of young birds or furry critters do not live long enough to see the next year. A few do survive all the trials, tribulations and rigors of life, and that is sufficient in Mom Nature's plan to perpetuate the species.
Weather conditions were such that, after publicizing the event on local radio stations during the day, the MCCB held the prairie management burn at the GrimesFarm on Monday evening. The new grass was growing to the point where if it wasn't burned then when the conditions were right, it wouldn't burn. Now, following the successful burn, the prairie will green up and the renewal process begins.
With the recent warm weather, wild flowers are beginning to bloom. Mark your calendars to join MCCB naturalist Diane Pixler on April 26 from 11:30 a.m. 1 p.m. for a Brown Bag Bunch Program. Bring your lunch and enjoy a leisurely Wildflower Walk at Grammer Grove County Park.
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 PO Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.