Youth Turkey Season Success


SPRING TURKEY SEASON is underway. Across the state, over the course of time between now and through May 17, 50,000 Iowa resident hunters will take to forest and field to attempt to take a tom wild turkey. Only about 25 percent will accomplish the deed. This is some of the best quality time outdoors a sportsman or woman, or youth, can partake in.

Spring weather, sometimes unpredictable, affects the mood and activity of turkeys. A good setup of decoys and a bit of learning how to call to them are good things to try. And sometimes those super sensitive ears and eyesight of tom turkeys will make a hunt seem almost impossible. At other times if a Tom comes running in like he was on a string, the hunt may appear easy. Either way, the hunt will be something added to ones memory bank of great times spent outdoors.

Getting a youth involved in hunting is a good thing. Mentors, whether parents, aunts or uncles or good trusted friends, can open up the minds and wonderment of nature to young people interested in outdoor activities.

Learning the ways of nature is never ending. If it starts with hikes in a forest, prairie or wetland at very young ages, all the better. As a youth progresses through time, the desire to go hunting may become obvious. Proper mentoring is a key ingredient to start a youth off with all the how-to’s of ethical and legal taking of game animals. Proper training with a gun or bow is part of the process. Learning the behavior and biology of game animals becomes a science investigation exercise to find out all one can about the species that will be hunted.

Brown at age 8 is very fortunate to have parents that hunt, take what they get legally and ethically and eat what they bring home. The ultimate of ‘fast food’ is what nature provides for hunters. Iowa’s youth seasons are designed to do just what happened for Brown, at a time before regular seasons open, so that they may make young dreams come true.

LYMPHOPROLIFERATIVE DISEASE is new to wildlife biologists. It may or may not be found in Iowa. Abbreviated at LPDV, this disease may affect some wild turkeys and is part of a new and on-going study in concert with Iowa State University disease research, to see if it exists in Iowa wild turkeys. Hunters are being asked to collect one lower leg of wild turkeys they may take, put the leg is a plastic zip lock bag, freeze it and add a data sheet of date, time and location of where the bird was harvested. The next step is to request a mailing envelope from the Department of Natural Resources, postage paid, fill out a questionnaire and send it in. The goal is to collect 1,000 samples from across the state. Research is a meticulous process of discovery. Hunters are encouraged to help be at the front lines for data collection. LPDV is not a human health issue.

IOWA DNR’S SPRING SPOTLIGHT SURVEYS will be happening during April. Biologists and conservation officers have assigned routes to drive during dark hours of night. On prescribed routes, spotlight are used to look for deer, raccoons and many other species of wild native critters. Data from spotlight surveys is just one of several tools biologists use to gauge trend lines for populations of mammals and other furbearers. Spring is an active time for all of these animals after a long winter of hunkering down in survival mode. Data obtained is used, in part, along with harvest statistics, to set next fall’s season dates and limits.

FISHERIES STAFF OF THE DNR are and will continue to work very long hours in the waters of Iowa’s great lakes and Lake

to collect spawning walleyes, northerns and muskies. Eggs obtained from brood fish are carefully moved to hatchery locations where a long process of incubating the eggs takes place followed by raising those fish to sizes determined to be sufficient for later stocking initiatives.

Gillnets set up at night allow walleye fish moving into shallower waters for spawning to be captured. This is a labor intensive time for the people doing the work since it involves an around the clock operation. Eggs are removed from walleyes in the morning after capture the previous evening. Once stripped of eggs, brood fish are returned to the lake. This makes room for another round of fish captured the next evening. The number of eggs collected will number in the millions. Hats off as a salute to those dedicated fisheries employees.

As for trout stocking in SAND LAKE, yes, there will be a new batch of trout arriving this spring. Due to COVID-19 health issues, to keep large groups of people from gathering, the date and time of stocking will not be announced. If you happen to be at Sand Lake later this month and a DNR fisheries truck arrives to let a large batch of rainbow trout out of the tanks, consider yourself lucky.

CLIMATE AND WEATHER: This past week we mere humanoids had the opportunity to see all kinds of short term weather events. Do you like snow? …you got it. How about brief spells of sunshine, rain, strong winds and cold temperatures? …. you got those also. Here is your science fact for the day: The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere exist over a short period of time, (minutes to months) and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over very long periods of time, measures of time and space, as in centuries, multiples of many thousands of years or even including geologic epochs. Climate is the average over very long time frames.

An easy way to think of the differences is that climate is what we expect, weather is what we get. Most people readily confuse weather (short-term, local-scale temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, cloudiness and more) with climate (long-term, large-scale averages) and think weather phenomena are driven by climate phenomena; they aren’t. So don’t confuse one for the other. Just keep your facts straight.

Quote: “Honesty is something you can’t wear out.”

— Waylon Jennings


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.


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