Update On North Branch Wildlife Group


Published: April - 2006

Continuing subscribers will recall a brief story we published last year about the North Branch Wildlife Group in Iowa (see Article ID 1441). The organization had just opened up whitetail deer hunting on an unfenced, 2,000-acre parcel it had been managing closely for four years under the Quality Deer Management Program. Well, Ron Mason, a North Branch partner, tells us only four hunters managed to draw licenses for last season. One was a hunter from Kansas who missed a shot at a buck he says was the biggest deer he'd ever seen. Two other hunters took 12-pointers that field measured in the 140- to 145-class. The last hunter took an eight-pointer that grossed in the mid-120's and had an inside spread of 19 5/8. Plus, a buck estimated in the upper 160s was seen in an alfalfa field out of the hunter's range. All of the bucks taken were aged at 2½ to 3½ years old. (See photographs of the deer taken on our web site under "Web Site Updates.")

This year, Mason plans to add several more food plots and a wilderness cabin where hunters can stay. He says four years of studying the deer has proven valuable, and he expects this coming season to be even more successful than last season. You may recall from our previous story that this little property features a number of reclaimed limestone quarries, several hundred acres of planted corn and alfalfa, a 25-acre lake, and lots of thick woods and open pastures. It went unhunted for many years before coming under intense management.

Mason is charging $1,000 for a bow hunt in October; $2,000 for November. Gun hunts are $2,250 and run December to early January. All hunts are five-day affairs and do not include lodging or meals. Gun hunts are with shotguns, muzzleloaders or handguns. Interested hunters must apply for a license in Zone One. The state issues a total of 6,000 nonresident licenses a year. In 2005, 12,231 nonresidents applied. Call Iowa DNR (515-281-5918) for applications; or apply online at www.iowadnr.com). The application period is May 6 through June........(continued)

 
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