Conservation-Busy December By Kevin Williams, Grundy County Conservation Director
December 13, 2012
This is a busy time of year for most of us. I find myself using that excuse often when I am pushing deadlines on news columns for instance. Once December 1 came and went the rush to Christmas is on. December 1 also marked the beginning of the Iowa gun deer seasons, which basically run through December 16 (except for a couple of days that separate the two seasons). A busy time for the hunters that have been anticipating it. And a busy time for the law enforcement officers that check licenses and harvests as well as game law violations. It is a busy time for the deer, too. There have been a number of hunting related injuries this season already. Sadly, in the mad rush of that gun season, some brains get put on energy-saving mode and some get switched off completely. With about 172,000 deer hunting tags to fill, that makes for a lot of activity and pressure during the first and second gun seasons. So hunters need to be doubly careful. The one thing that everyone needs to be mindful of during this time is the pursuit of deer with vehicles. It is against the law to use a vehicle in the taking of deer. I would encourage you to call the sheriff’s office if you observe hunters using their cars, trucks, or ATVs in the chasing of deer during the remainder of this season. Believe me. They know they aren’t to be doing it. I have a little room left so let me fill it with a couple of things. First, I was rather surprised to receive a call week before last of an injured Snowy Owl. More years than not we get reports of the Arctic bird being spotted this far south. But it does seem a bit early this year. The bird was picked up and transported to wildlife rehabbers. I am sorry to report that the bird was in extremely poor condition and died a couple of days later. And I have been treated to some great looks at Bald Eagles this year already. Winters with little snow cover are the best for us because the eagles don’t concentrate at the rivers but rather hunt the wide open fields like we have here. I’ve seen them all over the area. More than one adult and at least one juvenile spent many a day in November flying up and down the Wolf Creek corridor. Those are the ones that I’ve enjoyed the most this fall. Sometimes they have been just above treetop height. Their wings make an awesome (and surprisingly loud) sound as they pass a few feet above your head. I don’t get tired of it!
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