Deer hunters have October 1 circled on their calendar marking the beginning to Iowa’s popular archery deer season.

An expected 50,000 hunters will be hiding among the branches on tree stands in the timber across Iowa forests and field edges waiting for the next legendary Iowa buck to walk by.

“The herd is in excellent condition statewide following the mild winter and early spring and the population is about where we want it. If they put in the time scouting and sight in their bow, I expect hunters will have another good year in the timber,” said Dr. Dale Garner, chief of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Bureau.

Regulation changes incorporated last year have helped to stabilize Iowa’s herd. There were no regulation changes for 2015. The archery season is open through Dec. 4, when it closes for the shotgun deer seasons. It then reopens Dec. 21 and runs until Jan. 10, 2016.

Iowa’s archery season crosses over with the youth only season for the first four days. The youth only deer hunting season opened Sept 19.

Around 9,500 youth under 16 years of age participate in the special season each year. They must hunt under the supervision of an adult mentor who has a valid hunting license and habitat fee. Only one youth hunter may accompany each adult mentor.

Youth hunters harvested more than 3,300 deer in the 2014 special season. The 2015 season closes on Oct. 4.

If you are looking for new areas to hunt, try Iowa’s online hunting atlas, highlighting more than 600,000 acres of public hunting land. The atlas is available at www.iowadnr.gov/hunting in the middle of the page.

Muzzleloader sight-in

Learn everything there is to know about muzzleloaders at the Muzzleloader Sight-In and Family Rendezvous on Oct. 11 at Platte River State Park.

The event will be held at the Roger G. Sykes Outdoor Heritage Education Complex from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Participants will be able to sight in their muzzleloaders for $5.

Several free family-friendly activities are scheduled, including demonstrations of traditional percussion and flintlock rifles, Dutch oven cooking, arts and crafts, hatchet throwing, traditional archers shooting long bows and making bows, and atlatl throwing. Lunch will be available for a small fee.

A park entry permit is required. The park is located near Louisville in Cass County.

More zebra mussels

As docks and hoists are being removed from most of Iowa’s Great Lakes, a most unwelcome visitor is being discovered in greater numbers.

Zebra mussels, first discovered in East Okoboji Lake and Upper Gar Lake in the fall of 2012, have been increasing in numbers and distribution the past few years throughout most of the Iowa Great Lakes. Spirit Lake is the only lake where adult zebra mussels have not been found.

This fall, the number of zebra mussels on docks and hoists removed from East Okoboji has noticeably increased. Residents who observe zebra mussels on docks and hoists removed from Spirit Lake are requested to report the location to the DNR Fisheries office in Spirit Lake.

Zebra mussels look like small, D-shaped clams that have alternating light and dark bands. Most are less than one-inch long. Young zebra mussels are microscopic and can be unintentionally transported with water in bilges, live wells or bait buckets. Adult zebra mussels can attach to boats, trailers and aquatic vegetation.

It is illegal to possess or transport zebra mussels and other prohibited aquatic invasive species in Iowa. It is also illegal to transport any aquatic plants on water-related equipment. Boaters must drain all water from boats and equipment before leaving a water access and must keep drain plugs removed or opened during transport.

Urban trout stocking begins on Oct. 9

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources will begin its popular fall and winter trout stocking on Oct. 9, with releases planned for Sand Lake, in Marshalltown and North Prairie Lake, in Cedar Falls.

The DNR has 17 cool weather stockings planned and will release between 1,000 to 2,000 rainbow trout at each location as part of its cool weather trout program that brings trout to areas that cannot support them during the summer months.

The stocking schedule:

Oct. 9, Sand Lake, Marshalltown, Noon

Oct. 9, North Prairie Lake, Cedar Falls, 11 a.m.

Oct. 15, Banner Lake (South), Summerset State Park, Indianola, 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 15, Big Lake, Council Bluffs, 1 p.m.

Oct. 16, Lake Petoka, Bondurant, Noon

Oct. 17, Lake of the Hills, Davenport, 10:30 a.m.

Oct. 22, Ottumwa Park Pond, Ottumwa, 11:30 a.m.

Oct. 24, Heritage Pond, Dubuque, 10 a.m.

Oct. 24, Discovery Park, Muscatine, 10 a.m.

Oct. 24, Wilson Lake, Fort Madison, Noon

Oct. 30, Terry Trueblood Lake, Iowa City, 11 a.m.

Nov. 3, Bacon Creek, Sioux City, 2 p.m.

Nov. 4, Moorland Pond, Fort Dodge, Noon

Nov. 6, Prairie Park (Cedar Bend), Cedar Rapids, 10:30 a.m.

Nov. 7, Scharnberg Pond, Spencer, Noon

Nov. 19, Ada Hayden, Ames, Noon

Nov. 25, Blue Pit, Mason City, 11 a.m.

Calendar

MONDAY

» Introduction to Trap, Skeet, 5-Stand and Sporting Clays, Fort Kearny Shooting Sports Range, Kearney, 12:30-5 p.m., 402-417-3779

TUESDAY

» Natural Legacy Conference, Kearney, 402-471-5708

THURSDAY

» Crow hunting season opens statewide

» Paddlefish snagging season until Oct. 31

FRIDAY

» Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop, Nebraska National Forest, Halsey

» Explore Archery, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 4:30 p.m., 402-471-6141. Also Oct. 9, 16 and 23.

SATURDAY

» Cowboy Trail dedication, Rushville American Legion Club, 206 Sprague St., 7:30 p.m.

» Dark goose hunting season opens in North Central Unit

» Light goose hunting regular season opens

» White-fronted goose hunting season opens

» Duck and coot hunting seasons open in Zones 2 and 4

» Hastings Gun Show, Fairgrounds, Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

» Youth waterfowl hunting season in Zone 1

» Living History Weekend, Fort Atkinson State Historical Park (SHP), Fort Calhoun, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., 402-468-5611

» Historic Firearms Display, Fort Hartsuff SHP, Burwell, 308-346-4715

» Pioneer Longrifle Rendezvous, Indian Cave State Park (SP), Shubert, 402-883-2575

» Autumn Harvest Art Show, Eugene T. Mahoney SP, Ashland, 402-944-2523

SUNDAY

» Muzzleloader antelope hunting season closes

» Shootout at Salt Creek, Nebraska Game and Parks Outdoor Education Center, Lincoln, 10 a.m., 402-471-6141

» Living History, Arbor Lodge SHP, Nebraska City, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 402-873-7222

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