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The original item was published from 8/21/2015 4:19:18 PM to 9/5/2015 12:00:00 AM.

News Flash


Posted on: August 21, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Fall Hunting Forecast

Steven P. Anderson
Multiple timely rains and otherwise conducive weather is yielding a much improved potential hunting forecast here in Washington County. Some of the best hunting continue to be on private lands with permission, but the Washington County Conservation Board (WCCB) also provides many opportunities.
On September 1st, the season for doves, the number one game bird in North America, will open for the 3rd time in Iowa’s History. Enjoyment and success remain high. The WCCB planted several sunflower plots on our Schmitter Heritage Area & the Clemons Creek Wildlife & Recreation Area. Any areas with short, weedy cover and nearby dead perch trees are also excellent bets for the placement of decoys.
September 5th, seasons open for both squirrels and cottontail rabbits. Both of these species are present in such abundance as to be classified as “under-utilized” in many WCCB areas with suitable habitat. It is observed that there is significant variance between the amount of mast (such as white oak acorns and shagbark hickory nuts) within Washington County this year. It is far easier to hunt squirrels during the early season if these are keyed on. Good WCCB bets are virtually all of our public hunting areas, with Fern Cliff & Clemons Creek Wildlife & Recreation Area being two perennial favorites.
There are 750 “Antlerless Only” deer tags in Washington County this year. Deer hunters should expect similar results to prior years, with perhaps improved opportunity in the pockets where EHD had significant impact previously (the wetter weather this year slowed this disease).
After another good nesting season, pheasant populations here in Washington County are much improved. In order of estimated numbers, suggested bets managed by the WCCB are as follows:
Rubio Wildlife Area (there is also significant acreage owned by the Iowa DNR there which are very suitable for pheasants)
English River Wildlife Area: This areas is quite large- with a good variety of habitats available. Suggested entry points include the Gent Addition (mud road leading to this one), the Nolan Addition (southwest corner) and the Fuller Addition (on the west side where Iowa & Keokuk Counties come together).
Schmitter Heritage Area: This property consists of 80 acres, about 70 of which is a mixture of native grasses, food plots, and brushy cover. It should be worth the half mile walk back.
Clemons Creek Wildlife & Recreation Area: This 170 acre property has everything a pheasant could ever want, including several food plots, various grasses, a crop field, all sorts of brushy cover, and even several wetlands for when the weather gets particularly nasty.
There are, of course, any number of other game species available on WCCB managed areas. Waterfowl hunters might set a string of decoys out on the English River Wildlife Area, or choose to jump shoot them from a huge number of smaller wetland under our management. Fall turkeys, and about every other game species, are available in many places, with varying population levels.
The WCCB continues to develop our new web site (, on which patrons will find a complete listing of our areas as well as other relevant information to all of our properties and activities. We also have maps and information in our office in Marr Park upon request.

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