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IFL 2021 Schedule Update

DES MOINES - The Indoor Football League (IFL) today announced changes to the 2021 season schedule after the League’s Board of Directors voted to push back the season in an effort to provide each of its member teams the best opportunity for a successful season. The IFL Kickoff Weekend is now slated for the weekend of May 14, 2021.

The Iowa Barnstormers 2021 season will begin on the road during IFL Kickoff Weekend on Saturday, May 15 at the Sioux Falls Storm. The Barnstormers will return home to Wells Fargo Arena for the first time in over a year for their home opener on Saturday, May 22 against the Duke City Gladiators. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

“I’m trying to best meet the varying needs of all of our member teams, we determined as a league that delaying the start of the season is in the best interest of the IFL,” said league Commissioner Todd Tryon. “With a national footprint that stretches from the East Coast to the West Coast and from North Dakota all the way down to Texas, this season calls for us to be flexible and to consider the unique restrictions, or lack thereof, of each of our 12 markets.”

“We view this as a positive step as we have been able to put together a schedule that will allow each team the best opportunity for success in its own local market, while also allowing for additional time for our country as a whole to make greater strides in our collective efforts against the COVID pandemic. At the same time, we realize there will continue to be issues related to COVID and we have spent many hours developing plans on how we will deal with in-season situations that may arise.”

The IFL has developed a comprehensive system of COVID protocols and procedures that places the safety of the league’s fans, players, coaches, team and league staff, and partners at the forefront, including roster modifications, team testing procedures, limits on how teams interact within large group settings, and more.

In addition to the Iowa Barnstormers home opener on Saturday, May 22 against the Duke City Gladiators, the updated home schedule features the Bismarck Bucks (May 28, August 7), Sioux Falls Storm (June 19), Louisville Xtreme (July 17, August 14), and the Green Bay Blizzard (July 24).

The Barnstormers will be traveling a total of seven times with the new schedule. In addition to kicking off the season with a visit to the Sioux Falls Storm (May 15), the Barnstormers will travel to the Tucson Sugar Skulls (June 5), Bismarck Bucks (June 12), Green Bay Blizzard (June 25), Frisco Fighters (July 9), Louisville Xtreme (July 31), and will close out the regular season at Massachusetts Pirates (August 21).

Fans will notice that the updated schedule features 14 games, including seven home and seven away, instead of the previous 16 game layout. Barnstormers Season Ticket Holders will receive the seven regular home games plus the first post-season home game in their season ticket package.

Once again this season, all home games will be played at Wells Fargo Arena in downtown Des Moines, Iowa.

"We are excited to be back in action," said Iowa Barnstormers President Jeff Lamberti. "We appreciate our fans patience and support throughout this trying year and hope the Des Moines community will embrace our return in a safe manner."

The Iowa Barnstormers are working closely with the facility regarding seating regulations for the 2021 season due to Covid-19 restrictions. The health and safety of fans, players, and staff is the organization’s top priority. Information regarding Season Tickets and Single Game Tickets will be available soon.

The full 2021 Iowa Barnstormers schedule can be found here:

Saturday, May 15

@ Sioux Falls Storm 7:05PM

Saturday, May 22

vs. Duke City Gladiators 7:05PM

Saturday, May 29

vs. Bismarck Bucks 7:05PM

Saturday, June 5

@ Tucson Sugar Skulls 7:05PM

Saturday, June 12

@ Bismarck Bucks 6:05PM

Saturday, June 19

vs. Sioux Falls Storm 7:05PM

Friday, June 25

@ Green Bay Blizzard 7:05PM

Friday, July 9

@ Frisco Fighters 7:05PM

Saturday, July 17

vs. Louisville Xtreme 7:05PM

Saturday, July 24

vs. Green Bay Blizzard 7:05PM

Saturday, July 31

@ Louisville Xtreme 6:05PM

Saturday, August 7

vs. Bismarck Bucks 7:05PM

Saturday, August 14

vs. Louisville Xtreme 7:05PM

Saturday, August 21

@ Massachusetts Pirates 6:05PM

Mercer Park Aquatic Center Pool to reopening for lap swim reservations

Iowa City Parks & Recreation will be reopening Mercer Pool for reserved lap swim on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Reservations will be available for 45-minute blocks from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Reservations are required and are available on an ongoing basis from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020.

Both residents of Iowa City and non-residents can make reservations, which cost $4 per lane per block. Reservations will be for 45-minute lap swimming or water walking blocks for adults 16-years or older. Parents or guardians of children between the ages of 12 and 15-years-old must reserve an additional lane in conjunction with their adult reservation. No one will be admitted without a reservation.

How to reserve a lap swim time

Reservations may be made online at, https://apm.activecommunities.com/iowacityrecreation/Home via the Active Net activity registration system, or call 319-356-5100 to reserve your time.

No one will be admitted without a reservation. Visitors will be asked to follow the general COVID-19 safety practices and guidelines. Those include maintaining 6 feet of distance from one another, wearing a mask when not actively in the water, refraining from gathering, and exiting the facility promptly at the end of the reservation.

Currently, all pool passes are suspended. Passes purchased before pool facilities were officially closed on March 16, 2020, will be honored when the pools resume regular operations. If a pass holder would prefer a refund instead of an extension, they may request one by contacting Sydney Stodola at Sydney-Stodola@iowa-city.org.

For all Iowa City COVID-19 news, updates and resources, visit our web page at icgov.org/Coronavirus.


The first of Iowa's two shotgun deer seasons open Dec. 5

Iowa DeerThe first of Iowa's two shotgun deer seasons open Dec. 5

Blaze orange clad hunters moving through Iowa’s timber will be a common sight when the first of two shotgun deer seasons open Dec. 5.  An estimated 120,000 hunters participate in the shotgun seasons, harvesting about half of the total number of deer for the year.

“Shotgun deer seasons are important tradition for Iowa deer hunters as well as an important time for herd management,” said Tyler Harms, deer program leader for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

Hunters have reported harvesting more than 26,000 deer so far this year, which is about 1,000 more than this time last year, and that’s good news, Harms said.

“From our standpoint, that’s something we like to see because coming in to the season, people were concerned about reduced deer numbers due to the widespread hemorrhagic disease outbreak last year. If we project this harvest out, not factoring in any curveball Mother Nature would throw at us, we are trending to our goal of harvesting between 100,000 and 120,000 deer,” Harms said.

Iowa’s first shotgun deer season is Dec. 5-9, and second shotgun deer season is Dec. 12-20.

Changes to deer seasons

  • The antlerless deer quota has been adjusted in 23 counties.
  • The January antlerless deer season will not be offered this year except in certain zones for chronic wasting disease management.
  • The first shotgun season buck-only restriction has been removed in Winnebago, Worth, Hancock, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hardin and Grundy counties.

Basic firearm rules are important for a safe hunt

The first of Iowa’s two shotgun deer seasons opens on Dec. 5, and while optimism for a successful hunt is the primary focus, hunters are encouraged to brush up on safe hunting practices.

Basic firearm rules are pretty straight forward: treat every firearm as though it were loaded; always point the muzzle in a safe direction; be sure of your target and what’s beyond it; keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. READ MORE

Iowa deer exchange

The inaugural season for the Iowa Deer Exchange has attracted 350 Iowans who indicated they were interested in receiving venison and 60 hunters willing to provide it.  The deer exchange, along with the Help us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program, allows hunters an opportunity to provide high quality lean protein to their neighbors, while continuing to do what they enjoy – hunting deer.

“We’re pleased with the participation we’ve seen thus far, and the large number of registered recipients shows there’s an audience who wants venison. We’re encouraging hunters who are making their plans now to consider picking up another doe tag and registering to donate venison,” said Harms. 

To sign up for the Iowa Deer Exchange, go to www.iowadnr.gov/deer then scroll down to Iowa’s Deer Exchange Program link and fill out the required fields. The database creates a map and table with information deer donors and deer recipients can use to get connected. There is no cost to participate. It is illegal to sell wild fish and game in Iowa.

Hunter who prefer to use the HUSH program are encouraged to contact a participating locker before they harvest a deer to see if the locker has any additional drop off instructions. The list of participating lockers is available at www.iowadnr.gov/deer the scroll down to the Help Us Stop Hunger link. The HUSH program is a partnership between the Iowa DNR, the Food Bank of Iowa and participating meat lockers.

Deer tissue collection to survey for chronic wasting disease

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has a goal each year of collecting more than 4,600 deer tissue samples statewide to test for chronic wasting disease and the majority of those samples come from the two shotgun deer seasons.

“We are prioritizing samples this year to try to improve the information we are getting from this important effort. The deer that give us the best opportunity to detect this disease in new areas are adult bucks,” Harms said. After adult bucks, priority goes to adult does, then yearling buck and finally yearling does.

The surveillance effort includes collecting a minimum of 15 samples from each county, with higher quotas assigned to counties where the disease has been found in wild deer or have high risk of the disease due to adjacent counties with positive animals. To date, the DNR has collected and submitted more than 1,000 samples for testing this year.

Hunters willing to provide a sample are encouraged to contact their local wildlife biologist to arrange for the collection.

In the event that the county or priority area quota has been filled, or if the hunter is interested in testing a fawn or other nonpriority deer, hunters may choose to pay for their own test through a new partnership with the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory.

Hunters will need to contact their local wildlife staff and ask how they can get their deer tested through the new hunter submitted option. The DNR will collect and submit the sample on their behalf. There is a $25 fee for the laboratory to run the test. Results should be available within 2-3 weeks.

Deer Management Zones

Special antlerless deer licenses are available, outside of regular county quotas, in specific areas where the DNR would like to focus additional harvest to increase deer samples as part of its surveillance effort for chronic wasting disease.

The DNR has identified 12 of these deer management zones in nine counties. Information on these zones, where to buy a license and local contacts for samples is on pages 33-34 of the Iowa Hunting Regulations.

LEARN MORE

New option to report your harvest

Hunters who harvest a deer are required to report their harvest by midnight on the day after it is tagged or before taking it to a locker or taxidermist. The hunter whose name is on the transportation tag is responsible for making the report. If no deer is harvested, no report is necessary.

New this year is the option to report your harvest via text message. Simply text the registration number on your deer tag to 1-800-771-4692 and follow the prompts. Hunters are still able to report their harvest online, by phone, or using the Go Outdoors Iowa app. Reporting using the app is straight forward, fast and easy. Hunters have their confirmation right on their phone and also receive it as an email.

Deer harvest numbers are an important component of Iowa’s deer management plan.

LEARN MORE

Donated deer hides benefit disabled veterans

Hunters donated more than 4,100 deer hides to Elks Lodges across Iowa last year, which was a slight decrease from the 2018-2019 season. The deer hides are used by the Veterans Leather Program to make professionally-crafted leather gloves for veterans in wheelchairs and also turned into leather used for therapy programs for recovering veterans.

READ MORE


Traditional Thanksgiving pheasant hunt will be a little different this year

PheasantWith many holiday gatherings put on hold due to the pandemic, pheasant hunting is one way to keep an annual holiday tradition alive, while staying apart.

“Pheasant hunting is a big part of Thanksgiving for many families but with health experts advising against gatherings, this tradition won’t look the same as in year’s past, but it can still be part of the holiday,” said Todd Bogenschutz, upland wildlife biologist for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. 

He said hunters who do not live in the same house are encouraged to drive separately to the hunting spot and when they arrive, to space out and not congregate while in the field.

What they’ll find in the field is a pheasant season that’s off to a good start.

“I’m hearing really good reports, good pheasant numbers from all parts of the state despite the state experiencing an unusual number of days with gale-force winds and temperatures in the 70s,” said Bogenschutz. “Everybody that’s hunting in good cover is finding and getting birds.”

That’s good news heading in to the Thanksgiving holiday and might be just enough incentive to delay the trip to the couch until the afternoon hunt is completed.

Iowa’s pheasant season closes Jan. 10, 2021.

Places to Hunt

The Iowa DNR’s online hunting atlas lists nearly 700,000 acres of public hunting land, including 22,000 acres of land enrolled in the popular Iowa Habitat and Access Program (IHAP) allowing hunter access to private land.

Each area on the atlas includes a link to a map with property boundaries, the size of the area, habitat type, species of wildlife likely found, if nontoxic shot is required and more. The map is available as a downloadable pdf that can be printed or saved to a smartphone.


Twin Pines Golf Course Closes for Season November 29

Cedar Rapids, IA –  Twin Pines Golf Course will close for the season at the end of play on Sunday, November 29. The course will also be closed on Thanksgiving. Twin Pines is the last Cedar Rapids municipal course to close for the 2020 season. The clubhouse will remain open for holiday shopping, Monday through Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The clubhouse will be closed between December 24 and January 3. Call 319-286-5588 or go www.PlayCedarRapidsGolf.com for more information.


Iowa deer seasons have begun -- a few tips to help your hunt

Around 60,000 hunters will head to the timber in the next few weeks as Iowa’s archery deer season gets underway. Here's some tips and information to help you prepare for Iowa's deer seasons:

Scouting is important this year

For hunters in the derecho corridor, this year will not be like seasons past. In a typical year, deer tend to focus on existing food sources, then turn to green browse as the harvest continues. Given the amount of waste grain in the derecho fields, bow hunters may need to rethink their strategy.

Hunters should spend time getting reacquainted with the new landscape and pattern deer habits. Deer are habitual animals, but in the area impacted by the historic August storm, deer travel lanes, food sources and even some bedding areas have likely changed. 

Text to harvest

New this year is the option to report the harvest via text message. Simply text the registration number to (800) 771-4692 and follow the prompts. Hunters are still able to report their harvest online, by phone, or using the Go Outdoors Iowa app.

Hunters who harvest a deer are required to report their harvest by midnight on the day after it is tagged or before taking it to a locker or taxidermist. The hunter whose name is on the transportation tag is responsible for making the report. If no deer is harvested, no report is necessary.

Iowa deer population down slightly

The results of Iowa’s annual spring spotlight survey indicate the population is 3 percent lower than last year. Part of the decline could be related to last year’s outbreak of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in certain locations.

“What we know is that the population can recover,” said the DNR's Tyler Harms. “While we were in a pretty significant drought this year, we haven’t received any reports of the disease. That may change as the crops come out, but so far, so good.” 

New! Deer donation program

Hunters may now sign up as a deer donor with the Iowa Deer Exchange. The free program is a database to connect deer donors and potential recipients who are interested in deer meat. Sign up and learn more at www.iowadnr.gov/deer (on that page, scroll down to Iowa’s Deer Exchange Program).

Additionally, the Iowa DNR, the Food Bank of Iowa and 39 meat lockers continue to participate in the Help Us Stop Hunger (HUSH) program for 2020. Hunters are encouraged to contact a participating locker before harvesting a deer for drop off instructions.

2020-2021 Upcoming Deer Hunting Seasons


Bow: Oct 1-Dec 4 & Dec 21-Jan 10, 2021

Early Muzzleloader: Oct 17-25   

Regular Gun 1: Dec 5-9

Regular Gun 2: Dec 12-20

Late Muzzleloader: Dec 21-Jan 10, 2021

Holiday Antlerless-Only: Dec 24-Jan 2, 2021

Changes to deer seasons

  • The antlerless deer quota has been adjusted in 23 counties.
  • The January antlerless deer season will not be offered this year except in certain zones for chronic wasting disease management.
  • The early muzzleloader and first shotgun season buck-only restriction has been removed in Winnebago, Worth, Hancock, Cerro Gordo, Franklin, Hardin and Grundy counties. The early muzzleloader buck-only restriction has been removed in 20 additional counties in northwest corner of the state.

Practice ABCs of Tree Stand Safety

Tree stand incidents can happen to deer hunters regardless of skill level or experience, resulting in serious injury or even death. In nearly every case, these incidents were preventable.

To help prevent injuries, the Iowa DNR encourages hunters to practice the ABC’s of Tree Stand Safety.

Always remove and inspect your equipment.

Buckle on your full-body harness

Connect to the tree before your feet leave the ground

By performing these three simple steps and properly using a haul line, tree stand users can virtually eliminate their risk of falling to the ground.

CWD sampling

While chronic wasting disease sample collection is often associated with the shotgun seasons, the Iowa DNR does collect deer tissue samples during bow season as part of its statewide annual effort to monitor for the fatal disease.

The DNR hopes to collect at least 15 samples from each county, with higher quotas where the disease has been found in wild deer or in adjacent counties. Hunters willing to provide a sample should contact their local wildlife biologist to arrange for collection.

If the county quota has been filled, or if the hunter is interested in testing a fawn or other nonpriority deer, hunters may choose to pay for their own test through a new partnership with the Iowa State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Hunters should contact their local wildlife staff and ask how they can get their deer tested; the DNR will collect and submit the sample on their behalf. There is a $25 fee for the laboratory to run the test. Results should be available within 2-3 weeks.