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Published: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:37 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 9:48 p.m. CDT
Caption
(Contributed photo by KRISTOPHER "KRITTER" HAYES)
Carver Hayes, 4, of Creston shows off the largemouth bass he caught Saturday while fishing with his family. Hayes is the son of Regina and Kristopher "Kritter" Hayes. Kritter Hayes said it was the first fish Carver has caught all by himself, with no assistance. Carver used a white grub with a black jighead to catch the largemouth bass out of a family-owned farm pond. "That's his first ever by himself without me helping pull it in," Kritter Hayes said. "He reeled it in, held it up and released it back into the pond."

Healthy & Happy

DES MOINES – Iowans still have time to register their outdoor activities for the summer of 2013 and be eligible for prizes in the DNR’s Healthy & Happy Outdoors (H2O) promotion.

“We are excited to recognize Iowans for getting outside,” said Kevin Baskins, DNR Communications Bureau Chief. “Our goal is to show how outdoor activities play an important role in healthy lifestyles, and to showcase Iowa’s parks and natural areas as convenient, enjoyable locations for improving mental and physical health.”

Two prize packages are available for participants: A Fun with Family and Friends! Float Package from Seven Oaks Recreation, Boone; and a Recreational Kayak Package, including a kayak and a 6-hour kayaking course, from CanoeSport Outfitters, Indianola. Each prize is valued at around $500.

The prizes will be awarded at a ceremony Aug. 10, at the DNR building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

The awards ceremony is part of a special H2O Day at the DNR building, where programs and activities will include: a water bottle refill station by Des Moines Water Works; yoga-in-the-grass with Teri Daggett and Honey Creek Resort State Park; bug identification by Blank Park Zoo; a bicycle-powered generator by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation; bird watching and cooking demonstrations by DNR staff; and more.Iowans can also learn more about H2O at a special booth where they can register to win a Honey Creek Resort State Park Adventure package for signing up with H2O during the fair.

To participate in H2O, simply register online at www.iowadnr.gov/h2o; every activity registered counts as an entry in the prize drawing.

To be eligible for the float trip and kayak packages, activities must be registered by July 31, 2013. H2O will continue awarding monthly prizes through the year. Complete rules and promotional details are available on the H2O web page.

Ospreys

Nine, 42-day old ospreys will be released at two locations in the next few weeks, as part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ effort to re-establish a sustainable population of this fish eating bird of prey.

Four will be released at Mud Lake, on the Mississippi River, with the assistance from the Dubuque County Conservation Board and the University of Dubuque, and five will be released at Swan Lake, in Carroll County, with assistance from the Carroll County Conservation Board and Save Our Avian Resources.

These young ospreys are capable of tearing apart fish but not yet fly.  The public in Dubuque and Carroll County can help this effort by donating fresh fish the raptors need to survive. Once they reach about 54 days old, they will begin to take flight then achieve self sufficiency within a few weeks.

Ospreys return to nest where they learn to fly and to forage for fish. Once in Iowa, ospreys, particularly the males, will imprint on Iowa to return to nest when three or four years of age.

Since 1997, 247 ospreys have been released at 12 sites; 110 wild ospreys have been produced at 63 successful nests since 2003.

A nest cam has been installed on nest platform in Spirit Lake at http://dickinsoncountyconservationboard.com/osprey-camera/.

Lakes month

Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has proclaimed July as Lakes Appreciation Month, as a way of emphasizing that lakes and reservoirs are among Iowa’s most valuable natural resources.

According the latest study from Iowa State University’s Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, 6 out of 10 Iowans visit lakes multiple times each year, spending $1.6 billion annually on recreation.

“Our lakes and reservoirs improve the quality of life for all of Iowa’s residents and their importance should not go unnoticed,” Gov. Branstad wrote.

Lakes and reservoirs provide fishing, drinking water, irrigation, energy, recreation, scenic beauty and habitat for wildlife. These beneficial uses have been of vital importance to Iowa’s history, growth and financial health.

Pheasant harvest

Iowa’s pheasant harvest increased 45 percent in 2012, which was the first increase in harvest since 2005. Hunters harvested an estimated 158,000 roosters, lead by northwest Iowa, and followed by central and north central regions.

The increase in harvest was expected after the annual August Roadside Survey pointed to a population increase of 18 percent.

“We finally had a mild winter and spring in 2012 and our pheasant population responded,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

Bobwhite quail, mourning dove, cottontail and squirrel harvest estimates increased as well.

The only decrease in harvest occurred with Hungarian partridge.

The number of small game hunters increased 5 percent in 2012. The harvest estimates are based on a survey of small game hunters.

The 2013 August Roadside Survey is Aug. 1-15, with results available by mid-September.

Gift card giveaway

Jason Kight, from Wapello, was last week’s winner of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Adventure Ready Gift Card Giveaway. Kight won a $50 gift card generously donated by Bass Pro Shop.

Hunters and anglers who purchase one of four new licenses in 2013 will be automatically entered into a weekly drawing for a $50 gift card.

To participate in the drawing, Iowans can simply purchase one of the four qualifying licenses at any license retailer or on the DNR’s website at www.iowadnr.gov. The four qualifying licenses are:

• Bonus Line License – resident and nonresident anglers can fish with one additional line (with the purchase of the annual fishing license, which allows two lines), for $12.

• Outdoor Combo License – annual resident hunting/fishing/habitat combo license for $47.

• Angler’s Special – a three-year resident fishing license for $53.

• Hunter’s Special – a three-year resident hunting license with habitat included for $86.

The DNR will draw every Monday at noon and announce the weekly winner on its website and through Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. The promotion will run through December 23, 2013.

(Source: Iowa Department of Natural Resources)

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