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Notes from Iowa’s outdoors

  • 5/8/2018 11:57:00 AM
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Iowa’s 2018 reported spring turkey harvest is approaching 9,300 birds. Last year, hunters reported nearly 11,800 turkeys. Iowa’s spring turkey hunting season ends May 20.

Annual spring night population survey of deer, skunks, badgers, opossum, red fox, coyotes and other furbearers is wrapping up. The data is used as one factor to estimate Iowa’s deer population and is important for guiding management decisions on furbearers. The survey began in the late 1970s.

Two cooperative projects between the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Iowa State University are underway – one is evaluating the use of wetlands by spring migrating ducks in north central and northwest Iowa’s prairie pothole region and the other is evaluating the use of wetlands in the same region by breeding ducks.

A survey of Canada goose nesting pairs used to estimate the statewide population was completed in April.

These research projects and others, including harvest reporting data and hunter surveys, is used to guide season setting and species quota proposals enjoyed by Iowa hunters.

The DNR is concluding its annual burning for the spring that is critical to maintaining diverse grassland habitat for a variety of grassland wildlife species. Burning is likely done in southern Iowa and nearly finished in central Iowa. The frequent April snowstorms that blanketed northern Iowa have moved their burning schedule back a few weeks. Federal, county and other agencies also burn and their schedule may differ from the DNR.

Trout stocking is in full swing in northeast Iowa. A calendar with the stream stocking schedule is available at

The DNR’s annual collection of broodstock walleyes, northern pike and muskies for their eggs has ended for the season. Winter’s ice-covered hold on the northern lakes pushed the collection back to the latest ever at Storm Lake. Walleyes from the nearly 3,100-acre natural lake in Buena Vista County produced 497 quarts of eggs – its second highest amount ever.

Mother’s Day is May 13. Don’t forget to take mom fishing and give her the most important gift of all – your time. A list of places to fish is available at

The Iowa DNR waves the fishing license and trout fee requirement for Iowa residents June 1-3. All other regulations are in place. For someone looking to give fishing a try, there is a list of free fishing clinics on the general fishing calendar at