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Iowa connections to Pope and Young Club convention

The POPE and YOUNG CLUB is an archery organization, a conservation promoting entity, and a keeper of extensive records of what archers with their bows and arrows can do as part of wildlife management programs in the states and Canadian provinces. Every two years, embers assemble at a convention site to discuss their work, meet and greet friends, see nationally recognized speakers tell of conservation efforts, and to recognize exceptional trophies and to honor big game animals taken in fair chase hunts. The recently completed biennial convention was held in Omaha April 10-13.

On display were 130 mounted animals that include a host of North American big game. There were moose, elk, caribou, wild sheep, bears and several species of deer. Deric Sieck’s deer from northeast Iowa was just one of the very nice deer on display. During the awards ceremony on April 13, the archer who took an animal was recognized on stage for honorable mention, or third through first place. On a backdrop large screen, photos of the animal and the hunter were shown and a brief abstract of the circumstances of the hunt were provided. A crowd of nearly 1,000 attendees was able to share much enthusiasm for all the dedicated archers, both men and women, young and old, who have chosen bows and arrows for hunting.

The Pope and Young Club was founded in 1961 as a non-profit scientific organization to better the image of bowhunting. They have grown and become a standard-bearer fro the principles of fair chase, ethics and sportsmanship in bowhunting. Named after founders Dr. Saxton Pope and Art Young, these two men drew national attention to bow and arrow hunting of big game when conventional wisdom said otherwise. They proved to state and national wildlife departments that archery gear was indeed a viable management tool for hunted wildlife populations. These 20th century archers encouraged responsible and ethical hunting with a bow by taking many big game species.

Membership in P&Y Club is open to anyone who strives for proficiency with bows and arrows, long-term conservation efforts, scientific validity of wildlife programs and high standards of ethical hunting practices. Members do not need a record book entry to join. Just the pride of belonging to a special fraternity of dedicated bowhunters is sufficient for many. Archers made the choice to make close range hunting an art form and take pride in their efforts that means so much to them.

One of P&Y’s guidelines is this: We protect the future of bowhunting and promote the conservation of habitat and wildlife. In addition are the club’s endorsement of science-based wildlife management, and to further the cause, awards many projects with a financial contribution for projects and programs. Keeping extensive records is one key role they play. Every entry into the record book is documented along with a record of how the animal was taken according to rules of fair chase. P&Y uses under a licensing agreement the same trophy scoring system as the honorable and legendary Boone and Crockett Club. We honor their system and vice-versa. Both P&Y and B&C guidelines require an animals skull/antlers/horns must dry at room temperature and normal humidity for at least 60 days after the date of harvest before an official scoring. Volunteer scorers that have taken and passed the respective organization’s classes to learn how to correctly conduct a scoring process can be contacted to discuss a potential entry into P&Y record books.

T-R PHOTOS BY GARRY BRANDENBURG - Every two years, the Pope and Young Club holds a convention where archers from across North America may be invited to bring and display trophy animals taken with archery gear. Their convention just concluded was held at Omaha, Nebraska. The Iowa connection during the April 10-13 event included a non-typical whitetail deer from Fayette County. The archer's name is Deric Sieck. Deric's deer placed first in the non-typical category with a score of 288 and 4/8ths. His deer was taken on November 21, 2016. The Pope and Young Club is a conservation organization and is also acclaimed for its extensive archery records of big game animals from North America.

Fair chase is a big deal to P&Y. It is defined as part of their ethical code to be the sportsmanlike and lawful pursuit of free-ranging wild game animals in a manner which does not give the hunter an improper or unfair advantage over the animal. All laws must be adhered to. And the rules of fair-chase are required to be documented before submitting an entry. Fred Bear, the late archery manufacturer who followed Pope and Young in showing the world how effective archery gear could be, said this: “A hunt based only on trophies taken falls short of what the ultimate goal should be…time to commune with your inner soul as you share the outdoors with the birds, animals and fish that live there.”

To learn more about the Pope and Young Club, I can be contacted at 641-750-4914. I am also an official scorer for any of the 29 species of North American big game animals. Another place to learn more is at the web site www.pope-young.org. They have a national headquarters and museum at Chatfield, Minnesota which is well worth a visit if you are in anywhere close to southeast Minnesota during your travels this year. You will be amazed at what the museum offers.

Non-resident DEER hunting applications for Iowa has its application process closing on June 2, 2019. People desiring to hunt deer who reside out-of-state need to make an application that allows points to be earned before a tag may be issued. A three-year wait is normal, perhaps more. The reason is that demand is high and allowed non-resident deer tags are limited by law. Interested folks should go to http://quotahunt.gooutdoorsiowa.com.

An annual appeal is timely. BABY ANIMALS NEED TO BE LEFT ALONE. Each year county conservation boards, state game wardens and wildlife workers get calls about the baby deer, rabbits, birds or other critters found that were “rescued” by uninformed people. So be an informed person, just observe what you see from a respectful distance. Officials understand that intentions are good, but the reality is that taking a baby critter out of the wild is in many cases a death sentence for the animal. Who knows how to best take care of their own? The adult wildlife animals who made the nest, or gave birth to the new generation. It is illegal to take wildlife babies.

MOTHER’S DAY could be a great excuse to go fishing. An outdoor excursion with mom to enjoy fishing is a pleasant way to enjoy family company. Just in this portion of central Iowa, the Iowa River is close. So too are lakes such as Union Grove State Park, Green Castle, Otter Creek Lake Park, Sand Lake, Dakin’s Lake and numerous private ponds that dot the landscape. Just for the record, a 21-inch walleye was caught at Sand Lake late last month.

FRIENDS OF MARSHALL COUNTY CONSERVATION is active in promoting activities and fund raising that is outside of the county government process. They have had success is getting an endowment gift of $10,000. It will grow even more over time. So in advance for your calendar markups, put the date of June 28th on notice. The place will be Green Castle Recreation Area for the Friends annual meeting and membership drive. Their goal is to contact individuals and groups interested in conservation and all those who use county parks or wildlife areas in any manner for hiking, hunting, biking, fishing, picnics, bird watching, star gazing or camping. A newsletter is being prepared for all Friends of Conservation members. Friends of Conservation also have an upcoming board meeting 7 p.m. on May 16 at Grimes Farm to continue planning event items for the June 28 event at Green Castle. Call 641-752-5490 for additional information.

WILD TURKEY season has its last day today. At this point, turkey harvest data shows about 10,200 bearded birds taken by gun or bow statewide. Marshall County has 51 of the count data. Clayton County in northeast Iowa has the most at a tad over 400. Grundy County has the least with only two. Eastern Iowa Mississippi River border territories and southern Iowa timbered hill country do much better for turkey habitat and correspondingly for the hunters who pursue them.

HUNTER SAFETY CLASS is next scheduled for Marshall County from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. May 16 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18. The site for this hands-on class of outdoor safety related gun and bow education is the Izaak Walton League grounds located two mile south of Iowa Avenue on Smith Avenue. To register, make this online contact at www.iowadnr.gov/huntered. The hunter safety course is required for anyone born after January 1, 1972 to become eligible to purchase an Iowa hunting license.

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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 PO Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.