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Hunters, trappers and fishermen: DNR wants to talk 

November 13, 2010

Congrats to the Polley boys and family for carrying out a family tradition of outdoor appreciation and understanding of wildlife. It all started with great grandfathers, grandfathers and fathers going after ducks, geese, and deer many decades ago. The tag along boys in the family learned the importance of safety, ethics and law abiding conduct in the forest, marshes and upland grass fields.

One of those tag along boys was Dennis Polley of Haverhill. He went on to raise a fine family. He served as a deputy sheriff for Marshall County for many decades until his recent retirement. For the boys in his family, hunting and fishing became second nature, a fun thing to do as they learned the right way to do it.

Sons Ken and Kevin went on to law enforcement careers of their own, landing jobs with the State of Missouri as game wardens. Ken and his wife Nancy live in Brookfield, Mo. Kevin and wife Kelly reside at Sedalia, Mo. Now it is their turn to pass on outdoor traditions to the kids. And the best way to do that is to illustrate to young boys and girls the dynamic interactions of wildlife, the land and people throughout the year. As fall seasons approach, management of wild game populations through hunting becomes a cherished tradition for sons and daughters all across the USA.

Article Photos

Outdoor activities including hunting are being passed down to the next generation. Today’s photos feature two of the grandsons of Haverhill residents Dennis and Marilyn Polley. Tyler, 8, and wearing a cap, took his Brookfield, Mo. spike deer during the youth season. So did his cousin Colin Polley, 9, who took a big doe near their home at Sedalia, Mo. Under the carful mentoring of their fathers, Ken and Kevin, respectively, the boys used AR-15s in .223 caliber to take the deer. Both fathers are Missouri State Conservation Agents (game wardens). 


Keeping Iowa outdoor traditions alive and well in a changing landscape and a fast paced uncertain economy has got the eye and ear of the professional natural resource folks. What will the future bring?

The DNR wildlife, fisheries and law enforcement folks want to talk with and listen to the public concerning the status of and future realities their sections of Iowa natural resources research and management. To do that, a series of statewide meetings are being offered. For us folks in the central Iowa area, the date is Tuesday of this week, at 7 p.m. at the Conservation Center at the GrimesFarm.

Rick Trine, Central District Wildlife Supervisor for the Iowa DNR, will be present to introduce and kick off the public forum to inform hunters, trappers and fishing folks of the condition of the decades old Fish & Game Trust Fund. The DNR is looking forward to and planning for the future of outdoor sports and they want the stakeholders help to determine priorities of how the license dollars are used.

A presentation will be made on how existing hunting, trapping and fishing license monies are utilized for the good of the resource. Attendees will also learn about local success stories and in addition will use small group discussion times to brainstorm about the future of resource management. In light of restricted funds, inflation and projections for future service, the DNR will be asking what level of service is expected by the stakeholders. This is a serious discussion topic that will only become more important as time passes.

This scribe invites all hunters, trappers and fishing enthusiasts to attend the Nov. 16 forum. I'll see you there.


Here is another aspect of the outdoors for you to think about. Not everybody hunts, traps or goes fishing. However, for those that do, they are the ones who are financially carrying the load for all who do enjoy the outdoors in a wide variety of ways. The core of the money needed to make natural areas available and managed is supported by hunters. The rest of society gets a free ride.

Recognizing this many decades ago, hunters caused federal legislation to come about. An Iowan was one of the strong supporters of this endeavor. His name was J. N. "Ding" Darling, a political cartoonist for the Des Moines Register and the first head of the Biological Survey Bureau. Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Pittman-Robertson Act in 1937 to bring much needed funding toward a national effort with the states for wildlife.

The official name of the legislation was Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act. Its purpose was and still is to collect excise taxes on sporting arms and ammunition. In 1970, handguns and archery equipment were added to the list. Those dollars are returned to the states on a 75 - 25 basis to help leverage other funds to carry out wildlife projects. Hunters again are and were carrying the load that today allows hunter education classes in the USA to be conducted free to participating youth.

For a long time, many scholars have asked ... if hunters are the main source of income that finances wildlife area acquisition and management, to the tune of over $10 billion per year nationally, then where is the financial support from those that use the areas but do not hunt? Yes they can make voluntary contributions, but it always falls way short.

So I give a big thank you to all past and present leaders of conservation that had the vision to make wild places a priority, to make scientific wildlife management a priority, and to put in place the funding mechanisms to turn those visions into reality. As we struggle with the present issues involving how the future will unfold, I'm sure a framework will emerge to allow our grandchildren to say thank you to us. Let's work on it.


The theme for the Wednesday's session of the Story Hour for Preschoolers at the GrimesFarm & Conservation Center is "Turkey & Friends". Bring your little ones out for fun stories, activities, and a short walk outdoors. The session runs from 10 to 11 a.m.


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.



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