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My favorite season

October 8, 2017
Kevin Williams - Grundy County Conservation Director , Reinbeck Courier

It is officially here. While the weather and temperatures might not indicate it fall has arrived. It is my favorite season for several reasons. It will mean cooler temps once these unseasonable times get past us. And they will! I don't like to be hot and so fall temps are what I enjoy. Of course, I will also say that my favorite season never lasts long enough no matter how extended it may be some years.

My wife doesn't really appreciate fall the way I do because she looks past it to winter and the cold temperatures, snowstorms, and icy roads that season can bring. Poor girl.

Fall is a season of anticipation. Most of the football season is still ahead and your favorite team might just do great things. While I am not a football fanatic, I enjoy watching or listening to the Cyclones win.

And anticipation of fall leaf color as trees also use this season to prepare for winter. Dry years tend to bring on better color in fall leaves than wet ones. This year might be spectacular!

Hunting seasons are mostly ahead but some have begun. There was cautious optimism that at least pheasant numbers may be continuing their slow recovery from historic lows of a few years ago. The pheasant count routes that include parts of Grundy County did not indicate increases, however. In fact, survey results indicate a statewide average pheasant population decline of 30 percent. My personal observations on the roads I travel almost daily had more pheasant brood sightings. I predict that there will be hunters on a few of our county areas finding more birds.

Waterfowl population surveys indicate decent reproduction and a good fall flight. There's room to hope for a pretty good duck season, at least if you're able to hunt the east or west coast of the state where big rivers provide a more dependable source of water for wetlands that migrating birds require. The same cannot be said for the rest of the state where many shallow wetlands have dried up. The big reservoirs are low, too, and many of the marsh-like basins at their upper ends that used to hold good water for birds are filled with silt from recent years of high water. They are now little more than mud flats.

Those who hunt still can't help but get excited at this time of year. You reading this know who you are and what I am talking about. It is in our blood!

Sadly, hunting isn't what it used to be, though. Only about 5% of Americans still hunt. And it is their license fees, the excise taxes they pay on guns and ammunition, and their financial support of organizations like Ducks Unlimited and Pheasants Forever that provide the bulk of the nation's funding for wildlife-related work. Note that I use the word wildlife instead of just game animals. Habitat that benefits game also serves the needs of non-game species. Take a friend or relative along on a hunt or hunts this fall. That's how I got started and how I'm guessing many of you did, as well.

Whatever you enjoy about fall, I encourage you to enjoy every minute of it!



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