The POPE & YOUNG CLUB is just one of many fine conservation organizations that a person can join and support. This scribe is proud to be a Pope & Young member. And I'm also very proud and delighted to have had the pleasure to attend the most recent biennial convention of P&Y in Rochester, Minn. It was quite an impressive gathering of archery hunting enthusiasts from all over North America. More than 1,200 folks who share the love of the outdoors, hunting and who took the time to honor and reflect on the best of the best trophies representing 29 species of antlered and horned big game animals.
The huge main convention hall had three sides set up with impressive mounts of mule deer, whitetails, elk, caribou, moose, wild sheep, mountain goat, bears, bison, pronghorns, musk ox and others. These were the best of the best animals from the most recent two year recording period of January 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010.
The Pope & Young Club was founded on January 27, 1961 in Seattle, Wash. by Glenn St. Charles and several other Washington State Bowmen. The club name honors Dr. Saxton Pope and Arthur Young whose exploits with bow and arrow in the early 20th Century drew national attention to archery. P&Y's initial objectives were to better the image of bow hunting, to prove to state fish and game agencies the effectiveness of bow hunting as a wildlife management tool, and to advocate for specific archery seasons. P&Y has succeeded in that mission admirably.
T-R PHOTO BY GARRY BRANDENBURG
Iowan Travis Hamilton takes great pride in his non-typical whitetail on display at the recently completed Pope & Young Club’s 50th Anniversary Biennial Convention in Rochester, Minn. Hamilton’s deer was just one of many trophies invited for panel judging and exhibit before an audience of over 1,200 people from the USA, Canada, Mexico and Australia. The convention was held April 6 - 9. Pope & Young Club members are some of the most dedicated conservationists and hunters in North America. Hamilton’s deer scored 240 0/8ths. It came from Lucas County, Iowa where it was in the right place at the right time for Hamilton to take it on October 2, 2009.
From the early days, getting acceptance of archery into game seasons was an uphill battle. St. Charles and others never wavered from their vision and mission. Today specific bow and arrow seasons are the norm as part of the mix for scientifically based wildlife management programs. P&Y encourages responsible bow hunting by promoting quality fair chase hunting, sound conservation practices, high standards of conduct and fostering dedication to the protection of bow hunting's future.
The Pope & Young Club is also the official record keeping repository on bow-harvested big game animals. Together with the Boone & Crockett Club, P&Y maintains the universally-accepted scoring system and sets the standards for measuring and scoring North American big game. P&Y's most recent publication is Bow hunting Big Game Records of North America which has all the entries for all 29 species of big game that totals 88,139 animals. In just the last two years, 8,717 additions were accepted into the records of which the predominant animal was the whitetail deer with over 5,500 submissions. Second in entry numbers were elk with 772, pronghorns at 607, black bear at 597 and mule deer with 468.
Records are more than just numbers and names in the book. Long term data provides insight into the past and present management, health and trends in North America's wildlife populations and bow hunting opportunities. In addition, a wide variety of on-the-ground conservation programs are supported and assisted financially to partner with pro-wildlife management organizations for the improvement of habitats all over North America. To raise funds for these causes, P&Y offered raffles, silent auction items and sold outfitter donated hunts during the four days of the convention. P&Y members stepped up to the plate and raised in excess of $375,000. Well done.
The Pope and Young Club has a strong history and heritage of accomplishments. Membership includes men, women and youth who enjoy and prize archery's traditions. Support of on-going conservation programs is an unwavering commitment. P&Y operates a first class museum on archery that is located at Chatfield, Minn. The records program is one of its most important tasks for honoring big game animals taken in fair chase. For P&Y, high standards matter. Bow hunting is about challenge, patience, practice, perseverance and applying and mastering skills. P&Y is about doing it the right way, reveling in the process more than the end result.
In April 2013, Dallas, Texas will host Pope & Young Club's next convention. Many Iowans will be represented in that audience again just as they were present in very good numbers at the Minnesota venue this year. There will no doubt be many new entries of whitetails from Iowa into P&Y's next recording period ending on December 31, 2012. 'Iowa Connections' of people and trophies will be represented in Texas.
HENDRICKSON MARSH is doing well. Water levels are being managed at levels to promote submerged and emergent aquatic plant growth. Migrating waterfowl and other birds are making good use of this wetland complex this spring. DNR wildlife management crews have also been working to enhance the marsh habitats via removal of some trees like willow, maple and cottonwood from areas where they really should not be growing. Maintaining a marshland environment means taking active management steps. Trees do not always fit into the mix, particularly along water edges or at upland prairie restoration projects. Gardeners pull weeds that invade. Wetland and marsh managers cut trees that invade.
A recent foray by this scribe to Hendrickson was worth the effort. Waterfowl of just about every description were present: Mallards, blue-winged teal, scaup, ringneck ducks, shovelers, bufflehead and wood duck. White pelicans were also present in flocks of several hundred. Best of all, a Bald Eagle nest is active at Hendrickson. The adult pair was seen via a spotting scope feeding the eaglets. Observe them from a respectful distance only, from the boat ramp parking lot looking west-southwest.
A BLUEBIRD conference is going on today from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. at Story County's Conservation Center at McFarland Park four miles northeast of Ames. Those attending can learn more about bluebird boxes, issues related to bluebirds and enjoy great photos from Carl Kurtz of St. Anthony. This is a bring your own lunch program if you plan to attend.
Fishermen can take advantage of a new record fish program from the DNR. It will help keep tabs on a person's first fish and or big fish. The DNR fisheries folks have a list of minimum sized fish eligible for publication. Now the process is taking a new approach. Starting this year, anglers can strive for Master Angler, Silver Master Angler or Gold Master Angler. Here is what it takes. Submit a photo and a witnessed record of a big fish you may happen to catch. Measure the fish from tip of its nose to the tip of its tail. A list of 41 different fish in Iowa is available at the web site www.fishing.iowadnr.gov. You can also check out pages 38 and 39 of the 2011 Iowa Fishing regulations booklet.
Masters category is awarded for one qualifying fish. The Silver rating is for five qualifying fish and Gold Master Angler status is given for ten different species. The Silver or Gold categories come with additional recognition items including a medallion and a car or boat decal. For anyone catching their first fish of any size, submit the application and photo for a First Fish Award. It sounds like fun to me.
Go for it. Remember that God does not count the days you go fishing against your lifespan. So, to live longer, go fishing.
A blue sucker was caught in the Iowa River in Johnson County on April 11. Steven Jones tabbed the 33 1/4 inch 15 pound 6 ounce finny critter on a jig. He was after walleyes but the surprise was what came out of the water. This is the first state record for Iowa of this species.
The Marshall County Conservation Board invites the public to watch the controlled burn of a portion of the prairie at Green Castle Recreation Area (1 mile south of Ferguson).
Due to the rainy weather the evening prairie burn will now be held during the week of April 25 at 7:30 p.m. on the first night that weather conditions permit. Check the T-R website and listen daily to local radio stations or contact MCCB at 752-5490 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the announcement of the program date. The exact date for the program is dependent on weather conditions and will be determined on short notice.
The Marshall County Conservation Board will conclude its spring series of Brown Bag Brunch programs with a "Bird and Breakfast" program to be held May 5 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Timmons Grove South (one mile south if Albion on Highway 330). Participants should meet at the picnic shelter and bring a breakfast item to share along with reusable table service. Marshall County Conservation Board Naturalist, Diane Hall will lead the group on a leisurely hike in search of birds. Binoculars will be available or participants may bring their own.
Here are some more actual submitted questions at Everglades National Park in Florida. Are the alligators real? Are the baby alligators for sale? Where are all the rides? Hmmmmm.
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