Iowa State Fair’s DNR exhibit always a big attraction

STATE FAIR time kicks off next week on August 7 for its annual 10-day Run. If the weather cooperates, about 100,000 people per day will pass through the gates. Ten days multiplied by 100,000 equals 1 million visitors, or very close to it. This scribe hopes you are one of those fair persons who want to see the entire array of youth livestock projects, special exhibits of 4-H and FFA, and a host of others. It will be time well spent.

The DNR building has always been a favorite hot spot for this author. Why? Because conservation related issues and topics are what I based my professional career on. I like to know what is happening and why concerning good stewardship and management of natural resources. The same natural elements that sustain life for humans is what is also required of wildlife of every shape, size and form. WE all need clean water, clean air, good soils and places to live. Those life tasks use natural resources, hopefully in sustainable ways. In everything there are trade-offs concerning natural resources. Finding the balance is a bit tricky sometimes. However it is best that Iowans work toward common sense solutions without going overboard.

Visitors to the State Fair conservation building will have the opportunity to test their knowledge of state parks’ trivia. There is also a fun game called environmental jeopardy. There is an air rifle range, mounted animals on the walls to see, and of course the fish tanks. Last year a mountain lion mount was on exhibit. This year a wolf mount, bobcat and a replica bald eagle nest are on display. One can purchase a fishing or hunting license or buy a magazine subscription to Iowa Outdoors. Officers of the DNR, also known as game wardens, will on hand to answer questions. Biologists will be there also along with other staffers who have special knowledge about their line of work.

Outside on the west side of the DNR building is a mini state park setting with a waterfowl pond, shady trees, cool pathways to walk on and benches to rest your feet. And of course another State Fair standard is watching people. They seem to come in all sizes too. Have fun at this year’s Iowa State Fair.

—-

FALL SEASONS proposals are our for 2014-15 Deer hunters will notice fewer seasons and changes in certain seasons form past years. First, the January antlerless season is gone. It did its job in the past. Now it is time to move on. Antlerless tags have been reduced in 27 north central and northwest counties. Hunters in those 27 counties must take an antlered deer during the first shotgun season and early muzzleloader season.

Crossbows are allowed as a legal method of take for residents during the late muzzleloader season.

Waterfowl hunters have an experimental teal only season Sept. 6-21 in all three zones. All remaining waterfowl seasons will be set on Aug. 14 after the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service issues their season requirements. Regulating the taking of waterfowl from the Dakotas and Minnesota all the way to Louisiana is big task. Trying to time the best dates along the flyways is the critical issue to consider.

Here are just a few of the season start dates for 2014: Deer season for youth is Sept. 20 through Oct. 5. The regular archery deer season starts on Oct. 1. It closes during shotgun deer times, and reopens to bow hunters until Jan. 10, 2015. Shotgun deer season one is Dec. 6-10, and season two is Dec. 13-21.

Pheasant season opener is Oct. 25 to Jan. 10, 2015. Quail dates are Oct. 25 to Jan. 31, 2015. Cottontail rabbit dates are Aug. 30 to Feb 28, 2015. Fox and Gray squirrel can be taken Aug. 30 to Jan. 31, 2015. Furbearer hunting and/or trapping seasons open Nov. 1.

For a complete list of all species that can be taken, look for the DNR regulations booklet in early September. The printing has to be delayed until all the correct hoops have been jumped through administratively.

—-

Archers have today and Sunday to attend the Iowa Bowhunters Association Fall Festival at Pine Lake near Eldora. Two field courses will be set up in realistic hunting habitat. Hundreds of archers and many suppliers of archery gear will be on hand to display bow and arrow related gear. If you miss this one, in Grundy County near Morrison’s Black Hawk Wildlife Area will have a 3-D archery shoot Aug. 16-17. The course opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 12:30 p.m. Archers can compete in the respective division for $50 gift cards to Scheels. This shoot has an entry fee of $10 for adults and $5 for youth.

Any archery course practice is important to help build the muscle groups of arm, shoulder and back that are the mainstay of good form when shooting bow and arrow. he above two events are good ones to attend in Central Iowa.

—-

TREES are renewable resources. Careful stewardship of forests yields lumber of top grade or even top dollar veneer. A long-term plant, re-plant and selective harvest can help maintain a good forest species mix. Lumber from trees is used every day to help build homes, businesses and other infrastructure we all need. The paper products we write on, make reports with, are just one huge facet of the forest industry business.

For those who have a politically correct misinformation agenda about forests and forest management, I’ll leave you with this thought as seen on a vehicle bumper sticker: “If you object to logging, try using plastic toilet paper.”

Garry Brandenburg is a graduate of Iowa State University with bachelor’s degree in fish and wildlife biology. He is the retired director of the Marshall County Conservation Board. Contact him at P.O. Box 96, Albion, IA 50005.