Dordt University and Northwestern College, in association with the Great Plains Athletic Conference, have issued pandemic related guidelines for fall athletic events.

The action for the schools starts today (Saturday, Sept. 5), with most of it taking place in Sioux Center.

Northwestern was among the teams participating in the Dordt University Sunflower Opener in cross country this morning.

The Red Raider volleyball team is at the Dordt Classic, where Northwestern and Dordt will each face the University of Northwestern of Minnesota.

Peru State College of Nebraska was scheduled to be a part of that event but pulled out on Friday due to coronavirus concerns.

The Northwestern men’s soccer team is in action today in Orange City, hosting Missouri Baptist University in the Pizza Ranch Classic.

For the cross country meet, all spectators are required to wear a face covering and maintain 6 feet of distance from nonfamily members.

Fans are not allowed in a bubble that is marked off around the finish line to allow athletes and officials adequate space to distance.

For the volleyball matches, fans will be allowed to enter 15 minutes before the competition is to begin.

All spectators will enter through the lobby west of the gym and will have their temperature checked before admittance. Dordt student seating is limited to 75 students with the tickets distributed by the volleyball players. The gym will be cleared at the conclusion of each match. Concessions will not be available. Water filling stations will be available in the lobby.

“This is our launching point,” said Dordt athletic director Ross Douma. “This is the day we’ve been looking forward to for five months. We realize it is going to look different and we will work and make adjustments as we move forward. Our priority remains providing the best possible experience for our student-athletes.”

Northwestern has announced the regulations for all of its home events in the fall.

Attendance will be limited to 50 percent of capacity at all venues. Hand-sanitizing stations are available in various spots throughout each venue. All fans are required to wear a mask and observe physical distancing while present at Northwestern facilities. Family groups are asked to sit together and maintain physical distance between themselves and other fans. Tailgating will no be permitted on campus.

For football games at De Valois Stadium, entrances will open 90 minutes before kickoff in an effort to ensure an accurate capacity count. Red Raiders fans will enter the stadium though the west entrances and utilize the west grandstands. Visiting team fans will enter through the east entrance and utilize the east bleachers.

At the soccer field, fans are encouraged to bring their own seating and use the west sideline to physically distance themselves from others.

At Bultman Gym, entrances will open 30 minutes before junior varsity volleyball matches and one hour before basketball contests in an effort to ensure an accurate capacity count at the gates.

For away games, fans are encouraged to check the websites of the host schools for specific guidelines.

“It is important that we work together as member institutions of our conference to create the best possible outcomes for a successful season ahead,” said GPAC commissioner Corey Westra. “We are all committed to making this season a success. These guidelines provide a framework for us to operate within for this upcoming academic year.

Pheasants on rise

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources recently completed its annual pheasant survey and the news is good for hunters around the state.

Iowa averaged 20.2 birds per 30-mile route. That number is

significantly higher than the 2019 count and is the highest count since 2007. Six of the nine survey regions averaged more than 20 pheasants per route.

Todd Bogenschutz, an upland wildlife biologist for the DNR, said hunting could be the best it has been in the state in more than a decade. He estimated 250,000-350,000

roosters will be harvested this fall.

Bogenschutz credits the 2020 winter with its mild temperatures and little snowfall leading to higher hen survival and coupled with a dry spring to more successful nesting and an increase in the population.

The southeast region led the way with a 163 percent increase, followed by the northeast region with a 115 percent increase and east central region with a 55 percent increase.

While those numbers are good, the statewide numbers likely would have been better if not for the drought conditions impacting much of the state.

“In the western and central regions where we counted fewer birds, we struggled to get good survey conditions so the results are not likely representative of actual numbers,” Bogenschutz said. “Pheasant

populations in these regions appear higher than last year, according to casual staff reports, even though the survey says the population is

essentially unchanged.”

Quail populations in the state are essentially unchanged, as are the counts for cottontail rabbits. The partridge population is slightly up.

Iowa’s pheasant season runs Oct. 31-Jan. 10. Quail season is Oct. 31-Jan. 31. Partridge season is Oct. 10-Jan. 31. Rabbit season is Sept. 5-Feb. 28.

Correction

In last week’s REVIEW story about Sibley-Ocheyedan’s 21-8 football win over MOC-Floyd Valley, a photo caption and the scoring summary credited the wrong player with recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for the Generals. Tyler Woelber recovered the blocked kick for a touchdown.