Take aim at Sporting Clays

SPORTING CLAY shoots are held all over the nation. In Iowa an almost constant weekend offering of events is available if one is so inclined to travel to them all. But for the novice shooter, or even club members who are trying to maintain proficiency, sporting clays shoots are fun. Lots of good natured joking takes place and at the same time, sage advice on how to improve. The fun of trying to break a fast flying clay target in rising, running, left to right or crossing shots through and over natural obstacles is a daunting task. The shot opportunities mimics real life quail, grouse, pheasant or rabbit hunting situations.

Sunday’s sporting clay shoot at the Ikes begins at 9 a.m. for those teams signed in and ready to go. Registration can begin as early as 8 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. The cost per round for 100 is $35. Food will be available for purchase. Details on this shoot are available by calling Ruth Dolash at 641-751-1121.

The State High School Trap Association met yesterday for competition at the Trap Shooting Homegrounds located north of Cedar Falls. This 100 target event is open only to high school (grades 9 12) shooters who have completed all 200 targets in High School Trap League. Today and tomorrow, May 31 and June 1, is the Scholastic Clay Target Program Championships. It consists of 100 targets. In this program geared for all age levels, the rookies (5th grade and below) take their best shots. Intermediate category is 6th, 7th and 8th graders. The last category is for high schoolers grades 9 12 and/or those at the college level.

This scribe will be able to obtain names and score of top shooters in the near future. Look for high 90s score out of 100 in order to win. The smiles on young faces will tell a bigger story of success, pride, mental focus, teamwork, firearm safety, respect for self and others and self-discipline. An outdoor shooting sport activity such as trap or sporting clays is just one way to encourage positive outdoor recreation for youth. It is nice to see it happen.

HUNTER SAFETY CLASS number two for area youth ages 12 and up will be held June 19 and 21 at the Marshall County Izaak Walton League. Sign up in advance are required via the DNR website. As busy summer schedules start to take hold of time available, a word to the wise is to block out this these dates, sign up for the class and attend. There is no cost for this class. Instructors are all strictly volunteers with many decades of experience to share. Iowa hunter safety classes statewide will see about 10,000 students take and pass the test on the last day. A hunter safety certificate is required before a young person can purchase a hunting license. Hunter safety programs have shown a significant impact on reduced hunting safety incidents and accidents as compared to several decades ago. A constant reminder of the need for safety with firearms is paying dividends in lives saved.

Are you interested in WILD EDIBLE FOODS? If so, or if you are willing to learn, the Marshall County Conservation Board is offering a Wild Edible program on June 10 at 7 p.m. The place to meet is the south portion of Timmons Grove County Park, near the shelter house. Timmons Grove is located about one mile south of Albion, south of the Iowa River. From there, Naturalist Diane Hall will lead a foray into the forest where the group will collect, fix and sample several wild edible plants. If you come, bring your own service items. Pre-registration is required no later than June 6 by calling the MCCB at 752-5490. There is no charge for this program. Some of the plants that will be sought include curly dock, elderberries and some wild flowers. Careful identification and proper preparation will be shown.

Another interesting program is a field trip to Ames, specifically Reiman Gardens and its Butterfly Wing Tour. This activity will be Thursday, June 12 from 10:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Registration is required by June 6. And this program does have a fee of $8 per person that includes admission to the Gardens and a brown bag lunch. At lunch, Pat Schlarbaum of the DNR will present an interesting program titled “For the birds Nest box building tips.” After lunch, participants can tour the 2,500 square foot butterfly exhibits, the tropical conservatory and the summer gardens. Those signing up will carpool and leave from the Conservation Center at the Grimes Farm. To register and pay, call 752-5490 before June 6.

Reiman Gardens is Iowa’s largest public garden covering 14 acres with 11 distinct specialty areas within it. Cameras are a must for this excursion in order to record some of the most fantastic butterflies ever seen, and a host of well placed and cared for plants that can thrive in Iowa. A series of walkways makes the winding journey through the gardens an easy and fun activity.

Every year, the Iowa DNR sets aside one weekend as FREE FISHING for Iowa residents only. In most cases a fishing license is not required, and the dates for 2014 are June 6, 7 and 8. Creel limits and size limits if appropriate do apply. If you enjoy fishing that weekend enough to partake the remainder of the year, then go ahead and buy a fishing license. The funds raised via the sale of licenses is vital, with a capital V, to the DNR’s work in fisheries management, fisheries research, boating improvements and access, and law enforcement. Each year about 400,000 people, residents and non residents, buy a fishing license to fish on Iowa water. The money goes into the Iowa Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund where it can only be invested for the protection and enhancement of Iowa’s fish and wildlife resources. In part, these funds allow fisheries bureau staff to produce and stock about 160 million fish annually. In addition, research studies are conducted to manage fish more effectively, construct fish habitat, improve water quality, restore lakes that need renovation and improve access.

Fishing is a pastime that will live a lifetime. Enjoy fishing with family and friends. Get a youngster hooked on fishing and watch the smiles get bigger and bigger. To witness this first hand, a KIDS FISHING DAY is planned for Riverside Cemetery on June 14. Get ready, set, go because this is the day the kids pull in bullhead fish by the bucket full. The event begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until noon. Biggest and littlest fishes will be recorded. Prizes will be awarded. Fun will be everywhere. Riverside’s cemetery pond has thousands of bullheads and they are all hungry.

Thought for the day: Before fishes, all men are equal.

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.