STATE CONSERVATION OFFICER Tyson Brown has waited a long time to fulfill a goal, to become a game warden. It was a long road with many stepping stones along the way. And now that he is here, the sportsmen and women that cherish the outdoors are also happy to have him available for service. We welcome Tyson Brown to the area.
Brown made a decision during high school at Gladbrook-Reinbeck that becoming a conservation officer was his goal. Now he had to find the pathways that would lead to that goal. Knowing that a college degree would be one of the minimums, Tyson enrolled at Upper Iowa University in the fall of 2003. The following summer he landed a summer position with the Tama County Conservation Board.
One year of college classes later, his next summer job was with the Army Corps of Engineers as a Park Ranger at Saylorville Lake. Brown also worked with campus law enforcement at Upper Iowa 2006-07. Other stepping stones on his career path was that of all-terrain vehicle officer for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources at Waterloo, water patrol officer for the DNR at Dubuque, natural resource aide at Green Island, and lastly as the lead park ranger for the Dubuque Parks and Recreation Department, a position he held for five years from 2009-13.
Tyson is a graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy. He is also a qualified First Responder, Data Master, NRA Certified Instructor for basic pistol course, Iowa boating, hunter safety, trapping and bow hunter education. His interests in the outdoors includes fishing, hunting, boating. Tyson and his wife both enjoy bowhunting for deer.
Game wardens across the nation have huge territories to cover. It is a different type of law enforcement than city officers, sheriffs or state patrol. Nationally there are about 7,000 game wardens. To help put that number in perspective, 7,000 (out of 72,000) is the number assigned by New York City's police department to cover just its New Year's Eve celebration. In other words, there are not really a lot of game wardens to go around. They depend on public assistance, tips and other information to assist them in fish and game law enforcement.
And a big part of Brown's job is preventing violations or crimes concerning natural resources. Education is a tool used to inform the public of the standards of conduct expected when trapping, fishing or hunting. The Iowa DNR regulations booklet is very good at listing most of the rules that apply. And most of the active fishermen and hunters know the general theme of what is right and wrong regarding conduct during outdoor sports. Still, to find out the answers to questions or to clarify situations, a call to the game warden is always welcome. Brown's cell phone number is 641-751-5246.
There are about 85 conservation officers in Iowa. Just as in any profession, time moves quickly and officers who once were new to the system are now looking at only a few years left to retirement. They ask "where did time go?" As retirements take place, vacancies within Iowa are available for other officers to transfer into. If those transfers are approved, that leaves a vacancy to fill somehow by the administrators of the law enforcement bureau. Brown is not new to law enforcement, but he is "new" in the sense that he has just begun his duties as an Iowa game warden. We wish him well.
Conservation Officers in Iowa have more than 19,000 miles of interior streams and 582 miles of border rivers to patrol. There are 35 natural lakes, most dug by glacial actions over the landscape, and the water they contain covers more than 45,000 acres. There are 200 artificial recreational lakes with 24,000 surface acres. Old river channels add another 2,000 acres. There are four federal flood control reservoirs with 46,900 acres of water. The Mississippi River alone has 190,000 surface acres while the Missouri River has 13,500 acres. Within Iowa's borders are an abundance of private lands where most hunting and fishing takes place. Less than 2 percent of Iowa is public land, and not all of that is designated as public hunting areas.
Tomorrow, Sunday the 24th, is the DUCKS UNLIMITED TRAP SHOOT. It is not too late to gather a hunting buddy or two and head out to the Marshall Gun Club on the west side of the Marshalltown airport. The entry fee is $45 for three rounds of fire, and this includes the noon lunch. This fall event is a good way to practice for upcoming waterfowl seasons. If you attend, be there at 10:30 a.m. to sign in.
TEAL SEASON begins Sept. 6 and runs for 16 days statewide. Teal like to migrate early, particularly so if any hint of cold weather is in the air. The three-week long teal season is timed to to take advantage of peak migration times for Green-winged, Blue-winged and Cinnamon teal. Special note on the taking of these birds ... shooting hours are sunrise to sunset. To assist in identifying teal, a web site is available to learn more about them. Go to www.iowadnr.gov/teal. In addition, six special seminars will be held in Iowa to assist hunters. They are at Oxford, at F.W Kent Park Aug. 27 at 7 pm; Spencer Aug. 28 at Spencer High School; Burlington's Starr's Cave Nature Center Aug. 28 at 7 p.m.; Council Bluffs Aug. 28 at 6 p.m. at Lewis Central Middle School; Peosta at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at the Swiss Valley Nature Center; and also at Waverly Sept. 4 at 6:30 p.m. at the Waverly Public Library.
Here is a bit of information to all those folks that think that feeding geese at the local cemetery is a good thing. Well, think again. Bread crumbs will entice the geese to eat. But people are inadvertently giving the geese the wrong kind of food. It is best not to feed the geese anything. Allow them to forage for themselves or fly out to local farm fields to seek waste grain.
If you have never heard of ANGEL WING DISEASE, you have now. It is a deformity of the wings caused by the wrong type of food. Scientists have a theory that the rate of growth of a young gosling's wings is enhanced by eating bread, exactly the wrong food at the wrong time, that causes the wings to grow too fast. Bread can cause the wing bone structure to look mangled and twisted. These geese will never fly, they can't fly, and it is all because some people thought it was cute to feed the geese. What you were actually doing is killing them with misdirected kindness. Marshalltown has at least two geese in this situation now. There may be more.
There is no cure for the disease. Well let me re-phrase that. There is a cure and it begins with people knowing what not to feed geese. The geese are perfectly capable of learning the ropes of survival from adult birds. The best thing people can do is observe the geese. Leave the bread at home for the kids with thick layers of peanut butter and jelly. At least that is good for people.
Three simple rules in life: 1. If you do not go after what you want, you'll never have it. 2. If you do not ask, the answer will always be no. 3. If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.
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.