Iowa waterfowl refuges are closed to all access until the day after duck season closes. This year the duck season closes later than previous years and the later season dates may impact some deer hunters who have hunted the areas in the past.
Iowa is divided into three waterfowl zones – the north zone, south zone and the Missouri River zone. Duck season closes on Dec. 4 in the north zone, Dec. 15 in the south zone, and Dec. 18 in the Missouri River zone.
These waterfowl refuges are always closed to duck and goose hunting but hunters are allowed to hunt non-waterfowl species in waterfowl refuges after the duck season has closed. Hunters with questions should contact their local wildlife biologist or conservation officer.
(IA DNR Press Release)
The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency has discontinued the seasonal field/grassland Fire Danger notices. Local fire departments and businesses with the Fire Danger warning signs may move them in the “Low” category.
Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator Bob Seivert says thanks those who posted Fire Danger Boards and the media, for emphasizing, the potential fire danger in Shelby County. “Public awareness, reminding citizens of the danger associated with open burning, and the availability of their Local Fire Chief to help them assess, and, plan safe burns” he says, “benefits all of us.”
Seivert says “Twice a week (During the planting and harvest season) we ask our Local Fire Chiefs to move or change the local fire danger boards. These are volunteers, and it shows their dedication, to prevent fires, as well as respond to them.”
The Fire Danger program will resume next Spring.
Three area men charged in connection with multiple Jan. 2015 hunting violations in Cass and Audubon Counties have had at least some of the charges dismissed in court. Online court records show Judge Karen L. Mailander, on November 29th, dismissed charges of Reckless Use of a Firearm and Trespass filed in Cass County, against Bradley Wendt, of Denison, and Donald Kinzie, of Stuart.
A charge of Reckless Use of a Firearm filed in Cass County against Dustin Hansen, of Adair, was dismissed by the Judge back on August 30th. Continuances were requested last January in connection with a Trespass charges filed against Wendt and Kinzie, in Audubon County.
The Iowa Department of Natural Resources had filed the charges on Dec. 9th, 2015. Officials began their investigation after receiving calls from the public.
After a few down years, pork and beef production are doing much better this year. In one recent week, the two meats together reached an all-time production high. That pushes prices down. Iowa State University livestock economist Lee Schulz says the various meats are always competing for consumer food dollars. This holiday season, beef may have an edge over Christmas hams or turkeys.
“That doesn’t mean that we’re going to steal all the competition from those, but I think with lower prices for beef, you’re seeing them able to compete a little bit more with those traditional proteins for each holiday,” Schulz said. He suggests more families may choose prime rib for their big Christmas meal. “Now with lower beef prices, you are starting to see some more advertising in the form of rib roast…I think retailers do believe they can compete with some of those more traditional dishes,” Schulz said.
Low prices aren’t good news for Iowa farmers and ranchers. But, Schulz says producers remain optimistic – especially on the pork side – as Iowa prepares for two new slaughterhouses to come on line.
(Reporting by Amy Mayer, Iowa Public Radio)
Deer hunters invest time and money honing their skills and buying the latest gear to pursue Iowa’s trophy whitetails. Hunters can protect their investment by helping to monitor for the presence of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in wild Iowa deer. Chronic wasting disease is a brain disease that can infect deer, elk, reindeer, and moose. The disease is always fatal, and at least one study has shown that it can have a population level impact on deer in Wisconsin, which has a similar landscape and deer population to Iowa.
State wildlife experts are working to make the sample collection process as easy and quick as possible. Hunters can call their local DNR wildlife expert who will meet them either in the field or at their residence to collect two lymph nodes from the head of the animal and a little information on where the deer was killed. That’s it.
Matt Dollison, wildlife biologist for the Department of Natural Resources in southwest Iowa, says “The only reason we need the location of the kill is in case the deer would come back as positive for CWD, we would know its location to create our surveillance focus zone.” The DNR has a goal of collecting 4,500 samples each year from across the state, with increased quotas from surveillance areas in counties that have had positive samples in pen raised deer, and in Allamakee County where positive samples have been found in wild deer. Hunter participation is voluntary.
In southwest Iowa, Dollison has an increased sample quota of 150 deer for northeastern Pottawattamie County and the very northwest portion of Cass County, where CWD has been found in a captive deer breeding pen. Unfortunately the DNR has struggled each year to reach half that number. Only adult deer are sampled and trophy bucks will not be sampled unless agreed to by the hunter and after it has been caped. Fawns will not be sampled.
Dollison says “We are working with the DOT to collect samples from road killed deer, but we need hunters to help us reach our targets. Disease monitoring isn’t exciting but it is important to help protect the herd and it’s something simple and easy hunters can do that directly benefits them and what they enjoy doing.” Dollison has placed fliers in local gas stations, meat lockers, and restaurants in an effort to get the word out.
“We want as many samples as possible,” Dollison said. “It’s imperative that hunters let us know as soon as possible after they recover the deer. The clock starts once the deer is down and time is our enemy on this. The sooner we can collect the sample, the better.”
Hunters in Pottawattamie, Cass, Mills, Montgomery, Fremont and Page counties can call:
FORT DODGE, Iowa (AP) – Webster County officials are seeking changes to Iowa’s process for reviewing hog confinement operations, arguing the current process has few restrictions and almost no local control. The Messenger reports the request comes after a large number of new hog confinement applications in the county prompted county supervisors and residents an update to the animal confinement rules.
Recommendations for changes include an increased distance from confinements to residential properties and waterways, as well as a three-mile distance from cities or subdivisions. The Webster County Board plans to present a list of recommendations to Republican state Sen. Tim Kraayenbrink at this week’s Iowa State Association of Counties legislative meeting.
The director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says he’ll be forced to layoff employees and reduce services “significantly” if there’s not an increase in the fee for an Iowa fishing license. The 19-dollar annual fee hasn’t been changed since 2003. Those license fees go into the state’s Fish and Wildlife Trust Fund, which is used to run the state-run fish hatcheries and other related services, but the D-N-R’s Chuck Gipp says that budget’s becoming “a challenge.”
“There is no such thing as ‘status quo’ expenses. That continues to go up as health costs go up, as employee salaries and things like that go up,” Gipp says, “so we’re struggling when it comes to having the personnel there.” Gipp has met with groups that represent Iowa hunters, fishing enthusiasts and others to discuss the situation. “It isn’t grandma down the street that doesn’t hunt and fish that’s going to be impacted by revenue increases,” Gipp says. “It’s going to be the actual person that purchased the license that is getting the benefit of the fish hatcheries,” Gipp says.
Gipp’s department operates seven fish “hatcheries” in Iowa that raise 150 MILLION fish each year, for stocking Iowa lakes and rivers. The Fairport Fish Hatchery on the Mississippi River near Muscatine is nearly 100 years old and “should be closed down,” according to Gipp. “The newest facility we have is a fish hatchery at Rathbun,” Gipp says. “But that’s 25 years old and the liners of those fish ponds that grow the fish are now 25 years old and need replacements, so you’re looking at $1 million or more just to replace that type of facility.”
Gipp made his comments Tuesday, during a budget presentation in the governor’s office. Governor Terry Branstad says he’s “neutral” on the idea of raising the fishing license fee. “The fishermen, if it’s something they really want, then I think they’re going to have to visit with their legislators about it,” Branstad says. “I’m not advocating for it. I’m not opposing it.”
Nearly 400-thousand people purchased an Iowa fishing license this past year. State officials say while there’s been a decrease in the number of hunters, the number of people who fish in Iowa has held steady.
Iowa’s secretary of agriculture is touting a water quality plan House Republicans advanced earlier this year. Bill Northey says the plan would dedicate “significant” state resources to address water quality concerns. “A real commitment, no new taxes…is a great pattern to work from and we’d certainly be very supportive of that.”
This past January, Republican Governor Terry Branstad proposed diverting some sales tax money levied for school infrastructure projects to water quality initiatives. House Republicans came up with their own plan, using water usage fees and gambling taxes for water quality projects. Neither idea was debated in the Senate, where Democrats controlled the debate agenda. “We recognize that there’ll be good conversations this year at the legislature this year about water quality funding,” Northey says.
Northey, a farmer from Spirit Lake, has been Iowa’s secretary of agriculture since 2007. Northey says farmers in Iowa have been “very active” in trying to control and reduce farm chemical run-off from cropland. Critics say the voluntary approach isn’t working and it’s time for the federal government or the courts to force changes in farming practices.