Hamilton County Conservation Board website

Natural Resources

On Saturday, June 28, two members of the Waterfowl Association of Iowa (WAI) volunteered their time to help erect new boundary signs around the two Young Hunter Education Areas at Gordon's Marsh. Mike Dennis and his daughter Paige from Casey, and Jeremy Rosonke from New Hampton, both traveled a great distance to help Hamilton County Conservation better delineate boundaries of huntable areas, refuge and private property. Future cooperation between WAI and the Conservation department will enhance the quality of hunting experiences at Gordon's Marsh for young hunters. Some potential projects WAI would like to participate in include duck blind construction, installation of mallard nesting cylinders, and decoy donation for young hunters. Hamilton County Conservation is greatful for the assistance from WAI. Visit the Waterfowl Association of Iowa to learn more about the Association.

HERE IS THE LINK http://www.conservation.hamiltoncountyiowa.com/currentinfo.asp?IDWebPage=54&IDSite=1



Two Trumpeter Swans release Click Below to read more

 Swans Released


Making A Splash
By:Todd Burras, Outdoors Writer April 18, 2003
New organization wants to help improve waterfowl hunting in Iowa.
      A simple post on an Internet chat room eventually could have a significant impact on waterfowl hunting in Iowa.
      At least that's what Tom Tandeski, Rick Ault and several other avid hunters hope.
      Tandeski of Davenport and Ault of Estherville met about a year ago on a waterfowl Web site where the two shared their mutual concerns about ducks, conservation and the future of hunting.
      "We talked about how we as hunters and outdoorsmen need to take more responsibility for the environment and the condition it's in," Ault said. "We just thought there had to be a more practical way to make a difference."
      A flurry of e-mails between Tandeski, Ault and a handful of other like-minded hunters ensued, and soon the groundwork for a new organization was laid. Statewide delegates and a board of four members were appointed and in October the Waterfowl Association of Iowa (WAI) took flight. The flock has been growing ever since.
      "With the power of the Internet, we were able to quickly find a core group of waterfowlers who care passionately about our resources," said Tandeski, who serves as the association's president. "We're pushing our expectations for membership for the first year already."
      Ault, the association's vice president, has a list of nearly 90 members. But it will take an even larger army of dedicated members to meet the ambitious goals Tandeski has in mind. Political lobbying, applying for grants, habitat creation and protection, a summer camp for kids, college scholarships and a junior duck stamp program are part of his vision.
      "One of the main reasons I got involved was because I want to see what opportunities we can help provide for Iowa waterfowlers," Tandeski said. "I want to see what kind of opportunities we can provide for the kids of single parents, for people who are handicapped and even for older people who maybe would never have the chance to get out for that one last hunt. Those are some of the things that interest me."
      Tandeski, who has hunted in eastern Iowa since he was a boy, felt the urge to get involved in defending his hunting heritage two years ago when he witnessed the demise of the Iowa Dove Bill, which was crafted for the purpose of creating a hunting season for mourning doves.
      "What appalled me about the whole thing was that even though we had professionals stand up and say doves are a resource and they can withstand hunting and it won't hurt them, that still because of a lot of misinformation that funneled into the discussion the bill didn't pass," Tandeski said. "I realized then that not only is it a loss of habitat we waterfowlers are facing, but our very right to hunt in the future is being threatened from a lot of directions by people who oppose what we do."
      By working alongside groups such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, the Wild Turkey Federation, the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, county conservation boards, the Department of Natural Resources and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the WAI hopes to raise awareness of conservation issues, increase wildlife habitat statewide, provide hunting opportunities for those who wouldn't otherwise have them and even have a say in the process of setting hunting regulations.
      Brody Linder, an avid hunter from Ames, joined the WAI for several of those reasons and particularly because he has some concerns about the way the DNR sets some of its waterfowl regulations.
      "The early teal and wood duck season is okay, but my biggest concern is that we not start the mallard season so soon and shortstop ourselves," said Linder, who's also a member of DU. "The way it is now, they're still hunting ducks in North Dakota and Minnesota, and we're already done for the year. I don't like that.
      "I realized if I want my voice to be heard in regard to the seasons and regulations we have, then this is my chance to have a say in the matter rather than to just have the biologists say, 'Here's what we're doing. Take it or leave it.'"
      Having a place to discuss such issues is an important component of the WAI.
      "Get a bunch of waterfowlers in a room together and there are a million issues they want to discuss," Tandeski said. "Some guys think we should have longer seasons; others think we should have shorter seasons. Some think more limits; others think less limits. There are lots of other issues we can debate, and we won't always agree on the solutions. But the main thing is we all agree that something needs to be done to help preserve our resources and our hunting heritage."
      Creating a unified voice through a viable forum is exactly what Tandeski is hoping for.
      "We all know the squeaky wheel gets the grease," he said. "Hopefully, we can provide a consensus of what waterfowlers in the state want and take that information to the DNR and to our legislators and provide them with some direction. Hopefully, we can get a working relationship back between the DNR, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Iowa hunter."
      Guy Zenner, a waterfowl biologist for the Department of Natural Resources, welcomes the chance to work with the association. In fact, Zenner is a member of WAI and has been serving as a consultant to the board on matters of waterfowl biology. He's particularly optimistic about the role the WAI can play in the realm of hunter education.
      "The biggest benefit I see is that the association can be a conduit for accurate information being disseminated to our waterfowlers," Zenner said. "A lot of hunters don't understand how regulations are set and even how the DNR works. Setting waterfowl seasons is generally a pretty complex issue and how we get to those seasons is complex because we're not looking just at our state but the whole Mississippi Flyway.
      "The more people we can help understand the process we have to go through and the compromises we have to make for what's best for the whole picture, the better off we all will be and the better chance we will have at working together and finding solutions to the problems we're confronted with."
      A working relationship between the WAI and DNR would benefit both hunters and wildlife managers, Zenner said.
      "Having an organization that is more educated and more politically active will help the DNR," Zenner said. "We're living off the backs of our sportsmen and women of Iowa, and hopefully by working together they will get to know the limitations of the department and why getting funding for the wildlife bureau, the fisheries bureau and the enforcement bureau would help provide them with some of the benefits they want as hunters."
      And helping the state's hunters is the WAI's ultimate objective.
      "This is their state and their resources," Ault said. "We're only here to help manage those resources and to create opportunities for them to utilize those resources in a responsible manner."
      The WAI's next meeting will start at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 21, at the Ames Public Library. The meeting is open to the public.

      For more information about the Waterfowl Association of Iowa, check out the organization's Web site at www.iowawaterfowl.com or call Tom Tandeski (563) 323-5347 or Rick Ault at (712) 362-2758.


      The Waterfowl Association of Iowa is the 27th of its kind in the United States. The Minnesota Waterfowl Association, for example, has been in existance since 1967 and claims 10,000 members.
      Unlike Ducks Unlimited, a national organization that, among many things, raises funds for the protection of waterfowl habitat throughout North America, money raised by the Waterfowl Association of Iowa will go toward state projects only.