DUCKS UNLIMITED (DU) will hold their general membership banquet in two weeks. The committee has been meeting regularly to go over planning details. All you need to do is pay for a ticket and show up for a night of fun and fellowship. Knowing that funds raised at this DU function will go to a good conservation cause, is worthy of the effort on your part. Thirteen long guns will be given away at the DU banquet. A host of other great gifts for silent or live auction will also be in the mix. Many local businesses have contributed merchandise items available by drawing. Bring a wildlife supporter friend along for the night.
To help enjoy the DU festivities, today's art work feature will be one of the live auction items. Wood ducks perched on a log are typical of the habitat these beautiful wild perching ducks utilize. As an artist, Renner has become one of the prominent painters of wildlife with awards from shows throughout the Midwest. His original oil paintings can be found in private collections throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Jeff has painted commissioned originals for DU, Turn-in-Poachers, Minnesota Waterfowl Association and many others.
His accomplishments include the 1998 Boy Scouts of America print of the Year (Northern Lights Council), 1996 Arrowhead Ducks Unlimited Artist of the Year, 1995 Whitetails Unlimited Membership Artist of the Year and 1995 Boy Scouts of America Print of the Year.
WOODIES reflections is just one of the great artworks that will be up for live auction at the Ducks Unlimited membership banquet, March 10, at Marshalltown’s Regency Inn. Today’s art work was painted by Marshalltown native Jeff Renner, who now lives in northern Minnesota. Tickets for the DU function are available from Rich Naughton at 752-7197. Cost is $40 for early bird tickets acquired before March 5th. Tickets at the door will cost $45.
Jeff spend his childhood years in marshes, wetlands, sloughs and fields of Iowa with his father enjoying some of the best waterfowl and pheasant hunting a boy could imagine. He became interested in sketching wildlife scenes at an early age.
Renner has a B.S. Degree in wildlife biology from the University of Wyoming. He spent several years working for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the US Fish & Wildlife Service. He has done field research on timber wolves, waterfowl, birds of prey and many upland species. As a full time artist today, Jeff continues to spend countless hours in the field photographing and sketching wildlife and their habitats for potential future paintings.
If your eyes have been looking to the sky this past week, it is getting harder to not notice geese of many species working those airwaves of lengthening days. Spring is just around the corner for lots of birds. The inevitable urge to travel north is awakening. Other local new birds include some common grackles, red-winged blackbirds to name just a few. Every day, there will be more critters to watch for. Locally a few bald eagle pairs are in the nest and first eggs are probably laid. This is exciting stuff. Nature is doing her thing.
This weekend is the IOWA DEER CLASSIC show in Des Moines. It will not disappoint. The show hall is booked solid with vendors, seminar speakers have been arranged, and of course whitetail deer mount displays will be awesome. Friday the doors open at 3 p.m. and close at 9 p.m. Saturday hours are 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. Sunday is shorter with doors open at 9am until 4 pm.
DEER numbers for the State of Iowa have been released for the 2011-12 season. Hunters reported taking 121,407 deer, a number that is 4.5 percent lower than the 2010-11 take of 127,024. From Iowa's peak deer numbers of 2006, numbers are down 30 percent and still declining.
"Deer numbers in many areas are near or below the department's objective," said Dale Garner, chief of the DNR Wildlife Bureau. "We are hearing complaints from hunters that they are not seeing the number of deer they had in the past and some are voicing their concerns that the herd reduction may have gone too far." The DNR will review the harvest population surveys this spring and make proposals to stabilize deer where numbers are at or below goal. Current scientific data indicates that it will be necessary to adjust antlerless quota and season structure to bring about stabilization.
In areas where deer numbers are still above goals, hunter options for doe deer will continue. Many of these areas are near cities where hunting is restricted due to safety. Southern Iowa, in general, is where additional deer hunting pressure will be continued.
For the past season, hunters purchased 392,930 deer licenses, down slightly from the previous year's total of 394,298. Doe deer made up the majority (52 percent) of the reported harvest for the seventh consecutive year. Managing deer licenses, sex ratios and timing are all factors that allow the department to grow, stabilize or continue to reduce numbers of the deer herd.
Another DEER activity is the local Bear Grove Chapter of Whitetails Unlimited. That function will be held on March 3, 2012 at the Knights of Columbus, 201 W. High Street, Marshalltown. Social hour begins at 4:45 p.m. A large prime rib dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. Tickets cost $45. Call Dennis Balmer at Green Mountain, Iowa for your tickets his number 641-474-2385. Try Tim Shibe also at 485-6448, Brad Wall 691-0143 or Brad Larson 507-313-4190.
IOWA BOWHUNTERS meet for their spring banquet at Prairie Meadow's new hotel complex in Altoona on March 3. Highlighted speakers include Tom Hoffman for the keynote who has taken all 29 species of North American big game animals with bow and arrow. Special programs will also be presented by Jack Frost of Anchorage, Alaska, another big name in archery circles in the world. Both gentlemen are energetic, very knowledgeable and terrific ambassadors for bow hunting everywhere.
For your funny bone: The two most common elements in the universe are hydrogen and stupidity.
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.