THE SPORTSMAN’S CHOICE FOR NEWS AND INFORMATION
See Page 20 for Details
Turn In Poachers 1-877-236-7529 Inside News Giant Non-Typical Sheds His Antlers
Hunters were disappointed the Cook County deer didn’t given them a chance. See Page 4
Illinois High School Claims Bass Title
Benton High School team came up big in Bassmaster national event in Oklahoma. See Page 5
McMaster Muskie Earns Big Fish Award
The Illini Muskie Alliance “Big Fish” honor for 2015 will go to veteran angler Bob Taylor. See Page 8
Young Hunter Shrugs Off Accident Caused by Scope
VOL. 09, NO. 06
Measure targets bobcat season By Kent Weil Contributing Writer Springfield — A bill in the Legislature intends to basically destroy the new bobcat season. Even as the “bobcat bill” signed into law last July by Gov. Bruce Rauner is being heard in the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules in order to establish season dates and bag and harvest limits, a revised blocking bill is being pushed. Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Forest, and others are attempting to make the sale of bobcat pelts illegal and to eliminate trapping as a harvest method through the passage of Senate Bill 2143. JCAR, a bipartisan legislative (See Bobcat Reversal Page 30)
Retiree Switches Gears to Create Unique Duck Calls
See What’s New and Exciting at the 2016 SHOT Show
How to Solve the Problem Caused by ‘Goofy’ Gobblers MARCH 18, 2016
SPRING POSE. This bobcat pauses in Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge on an early spring day. The bobcat population has been at center of controversy in the state.Photo by David Horning
Nesting bass appear unaffected by angling
By Ralph Loos Editor Charleston, Ill. — A unique study on the effects of tournament-style fishing on nesting largemouth bass has thus far found no reason to close Illinois lakes to spring tournaments. Not that there were any loud cries to do so. But the threat has long been there, and other states have become more attracted to the idea. To see if there was any connection, the Illinois
Natural History Survey began conducting and researching tournaments held at Ridge Lake, a 14-acre experimental lake in Fox Ridge State Park near Charleston, in 2007. “Thus far, we have not observed any influence of spring tournaments on the abundance of young-of-year largemouth bass recruits – nor have we observed a decrease in the abundance of adult largemouth bass as a result,” Matthew Diana and David Wahl, fisheries biologists at the (See INHS Tournaments Page 30)
Hunting accidents reveal flaws of state’s hunters Watch Your Label! EXAMPLE ONLY!
For details, see ad – Page 26
By Ralph Loos Editor Springfield — As can be expected, DNR’s report on hunting incidents from 2015 contains both comedy and tragedy.
For example, hunting doesn’t get much more humorous than it did in October in Calhoun County. According to DNR, a duck hunter there opened a box that had been left in his duck blind, unaware that
the box had several bats in it. And not Louisville Sluggers. One of the bats bit the hunter’s ear. The hunter was taken to a hospital, treated and released.
Photo Contest Weekly Winner Photo Contest
On the serious side, DNR outlined a tragic accident during the second firearms deer season in Perry County. A 66-year-old hunter was attempting to climb out of his homemade ladder stand when the camouflage netting blew over his head causing him to lose his balance and he fell 8-10 feet. The hunter suffered a ruptured spleen, fractured hip, fractured spine and broken fibular. Four days later, he died as a result of the injuries. These two incidents were part of the 2015 report, release recently by DNR’s Office of Law Enforcement. Hunters in the state are required to fill out a report when an accident (See Accidents Page 30)
Current Events Licenses expiring March 31: Statewide fishing, hunting and combination licenses expire.
Contents WEEKLY WINNER. Skyler Pirksen, 13, of Freeport, shot this 13-point buck Dec. 5 while hunting in Stephenson County. The rack had a 17-inch inside spread and green-scored 165 gross. See Page 30 for contest details
Subscribe to Illinois Outdoor News 1-800-535-5191 or see Page 26
News........................Pages 4-8 Columns ...........Pages 9,12 Nature Page...............Page 24 Fishing Report...Pages 28-29 Cuffs and Collars......Page 32
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
State’s tournament anglers praised
Any doubts about the competitive nature of Illinois fishermen can be stifled by pointing to the number of tournaments scheduled this year. Even before DNR’s Chris Young sent a note reminding angling groups to use the agency’s new online registration system – in his message Young pointed out that more than 2,100 tournament applications had been filed as of early R A L PH LO O S March – I had already noticed a packed ED I T O R calendar for lakes such as Sangchris, Jacksonville and Clinton. Despite the state’s tough economy and unnerving political climate, it appears sportsmen are shrugging it off and doing what everyone should do now and then – drop a line. The website hosting the tournament applications (www. ifishillinois.org) is providing up-to-date tournament schedules and will also help an under-staffed DNR collect valuable fish species data from the state’s bodies of water. “The Division of Fisheries appreciates the cooperation and compliance by our tournament anglers in setting up their online accounts and submitting tournament dates through the online system,” Dan Stephenson, DNR’s acting fisheries chief, said. “This program wouldn’t be possible without their help. We give a big thanks to the tournament anglers of Illinois.” THIS SUMMER WILL MARK the third anniversary of the concealed carry law in Illinois, yet maintenance and upkeep continue to keep supporters busy. One tweak being pushed is included in House Bill 6040, which, along with identical Senate Bill 3332 calls for the elimination of the provision prohibiting a licensee to carry a firearm into any public park, athletic area, or athletic facility under the control of a municipality or park district. Likewise, House Bill 6047 would allow concealed carry on public transportation in the state. Pro-gun rights lawmakers who worked to pass the concealed carry law say the ongoing refinement is part of the gig they signed up for. “It’s a work in progress in terms of making sure our Second Amendment rights are protected in Illinois,” said Rep. John Bradley, D-Marion, who co-sponsored HB 6047. “When you have something that big of a landmark and that important, you want to make sure you get it right.” BECAUSE THERE’S MORE TO LIFE than politics, politicians and laws, I bring you news about armadillos. According to our Les Winkeler, a new study has been launched at Southern Illinois University focusing on the parasites armadillos are carrying into the state. More importantly, “What I want to know is how do they spend the winter,” F. Agustin Jimenez, an associate professor of zoology at SIU, said. “We used to think they were moving northward, and in winter, they would die. This is not true. As more observations emerge, this time of the year is when people start seeing them. They must go underground. I don’t know how deep they go. Either they find a mother lode of beetles or they hibernate.” A story on the research will appear in the April 1 issue of Illinois Outdoor News. No foolin’. email@example.com Illinois Outdoor News welcomes unsolicited fishing and hunting photographs. Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope for return of photograph to: Illinois Outdoor News, P.O. Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.outdoornews.com/Illinois
Publisher: Glenn A. Meyer Editor: Ralph Loos (618) 967-4630, (866) 923-6641 Associate Editor: Sue Mulhollem Managing Editor: Rob A. Drieslein Director of Sales & Marketing: Evy Gebhardt Webmaster: Aaron Geddis Display Advertising: Bast, Durbin & Associates (262) 644-7940 or (800) 975-3474 Classified Advertising: Patty Haubrick (763) 398-3453 or (877) 494-4246 Administration: Dianne J. Meyer, Sara A. Pojar, Jennifer Chamberlain Subscriber Services: Teresa Anderson, Stephanie Meybaum, Carol Soberg, Gloria Raymond Layout Supervisor: Ron Nelson Layout Associates: Don Dittberner, Aaron Geddis, Ronnie Anderson Ad Production Supervisor: Cindy Rosin Ad Production Associates: Dana Tuss, Nichole Kinzer Office hours: Monday - Friday: 8am - 4:30pm Phone: (763) 546-4251 or (800) 535-5191 Fax (763) 546-5913 ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS USPS (024-762) is published bi-weekly, 26 times annually, by Outdoor News, Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271. Periodical postage paid at St. Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Subscription rates: $22 (one year), $40 (two years). Single copy: $2.50 POSTMASTER: Send address changes to: Illinois Outdoor News Inc., 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271
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“Your guide will be a little late. He got lost on the way over.”
Why such a fuss over coyote hunting contests? By Patrick Durkin
Since my first outdoors assignment in May 1982, I’ve often been asked to preview upcoming hunting or fishing contests, or to grab a notebook and camera to cover the events for a newspaper’s next edition. I’ve snapped hundreds of “grip-and-grin” photos of happy anglers with winning carp, walleyes, muskies, bluegills, yellow perch, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappies, white crappies, northern pike and Chinook salmon. For some reason, though, no one holds competitions for inland trout. Trout anglers simply don’t do such things. Occasionally, I’ve also donated a few dollars to enter big-buck, late-season doe, or longest-beard turkey contests; as well as derbies for squirrels and rabbits. I’ve even been invited to Western states – but never found the time – for prairie-dog shoots and one-shot antelope contests. And during a weekend this past January, I
was asked to observe a coyote hunting contest in Argonne, Wisconsin, but not by its organizers. That wasn’t surprising. Folks who coordinate coyote contests seldom invite media to cover their events. They know predator contests are controversial, even though they differ little from other fishing and hunting contests. They also know some fellow hunters oppose their contests, believing they poorly represent hunting. Still, organizers here in Illinois and other neighboring states hold them anyway, and quietly use posters, social media and word-ofmouth to attract contestants. And although bird hunters seem as hostile to contests as trout anglers, you’ll find exceptions, like Nebraska’s annual OneBox Pheasant Hunt. Even so, bird hunters mostly hold sporting dog trials and competitions, and restrict contests to longest pheasant tail-feather or best self-produced bird hunting videos.
(See Commentary Page 34)
Letters to the Editor
Commentaries and letters are the opinion of the writers; not necessarily that of Illinois Outdoor News.
Blame habitat, not hawks I am thankful that you published a response to the article about killing hawks. I hope that there was a large number of responses from those who have also witnessed the decline in all types of wildlife in the last 40-plus years. The killing of any bird of prey is an ignorant argument let alone the idea to put a bounty on them. Habitat destruction has been and will continue to be the number one reason for the loss of
Online Opinions This issue’s question ----------------------------------------------------Would a quota of 300 bobcats acceptable for Illinois during the 2016-17 furbearer season? Yes No
Online results from last issue’s question ---------------------------Are you satisfied with the current spring turkey season format? Yes 44% No 56%
Vote @ www.outdoornews.com/Illinois Discuss @ facebook.com/OutdoorNews
Attention Readers Illinois Outdoor News invites letters from its readers. All letters must have the writer’s name, complete address, and phone number. (Full address and phone numbers will not be printed.) Letters should be no longer than 250 words. Form letters will not be printed. Illinois Outdoor News reserves the right to edit. Address letters to: Letters to the Editor Illinois Outdoor News, P.O. Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286 E-mail: email@example.com
most species we have. Farming practices and the monetary gains, as in grain, subsidies, that are in place will continue to destroy what little habitat is left. I would like to see my tax dollars spent on programs similar to CRP that would encourage farmland to be taken out of production and used for habitat reconstruction. If ethanol and Monsanto are allowed to dictate how our country is used, we and every living creature will be in trouble.
Deanna Davidson Eureka
(See Letters Page 33)
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
Shed hunters shut out by giant non-typical buck By Ralph Loos Editor River Forest, Ill. — In a scene more fitting for reality TV than an otherwise quiet Illinois forest preserve, a dozen or so “hikers” spent a Sunday morning in February milling around edges of a wooded patch – each and every eye locked to the ground. They weren’t spotting flora. And they were gazing the wrong way to be birdwatching. Indeed, shed antler hunting has never looked so awkward. The fuss over a coveted set of non-typical antlers belonging to a legendary Cook County buck ended when a spokesperson for the Forest Preserves of Cook County announced that the deer in question had shed its massive antlers during a procedure aimed at quelling the crowds of people who had been showing up in hopes of harvesting the rack. “Forest Preserves staff
This shot is from the video taken of the buck earlier this winter as it grazed near woods in the Forest Preserve. The set of antlers that belonged to the deer in the Forest Preserves of Cook County – after they were shed. Photos provided determined that for the safety of the animal, as well as safety of humans, the unusually large antlers needed to be removed,” Stacina Stagner, communications manager for
Sounding Board DNR rainbow QUESTION: Do you support the fall seasons? trout stocking for the spring and
Dennis Reed Marion “In these lean times, I typically would say no. Money can be better spent. However, it is popular and it is a real thing that gets people outdoors and participating in fishing, so I guess I would say it’s not the worst thing to spend money on.”
the Forest Preserves, explained in an email. “The deer was temporarily apprehended and during apprehension, the antlers came off. The deer was administered medical assistance, tagged and then released.” Pursuit of the buck’s shed antlers has been going on each of the past few winters. But things seemed to get out of hand this year shortly after videos of the deer appeared on the Internet. Then a Facebook post with video taken by Joe Molfese featuring the buck attracted a new set of fans. That video, taken from the driver’s seat of a vehicle, showed the buck standing at the edge of a woods, its set of antlers prominently displayed. Dale Bowman, outdoors writer for
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Brian Frederick Alton
“I assume DNR is under contract to buy the trout each spring and fall, but I don’t think they should spend the money when they are laying people off. It [the trout program] can wait a year or two until things are better financially.”
Hugh Fields Naperville “Taxpayers are the ones paying for it, so I say yes, keep it. The whole point is to provide recreation opportunities and the trout program is a big one. I keep hoping they expand it every year. Fly-fishing was a good addition, but I think there’s room for more opportunity.”
—Compiled by Ralph Loos
To participate in Sounding Board, email firstname.lastname@example.org
firewood; collecting mushrooms, wildflowers or other wild plants and their seeds; and otherwise removing or damaging any plants or trees. • Hunting is not allowed on any Forest Preserve District property. Visitors may not kill, injure or otherwise disturb any animals or their nests. • Feeding of wildlife is strictly prohibited. After it was announced that the deer’s antlers had come off and that the deer had been returned to the wild, the obvious question became “what happened to the set of antlers?” Forest Preserve officials said the antlers would be given to DNR. For its part, DNR has not confirmed that is has possession of the antlers.
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“Anything that gets kids interested in the outdoors is great, no matter what it cost. I’m sure trout aren’t cheap, but the whole point of DNR is to get people outdoors and to appreciate it.”
“It is certainly worth the money because it gets people fishing and those people have to buy licenses and stamps, so it’s not completely a free for all. Rainbow trout don’t typically get caught in Illinois, so it’s a chance to catch one.”
the Chicago Sun-Times, followed with an article – and the number of hunters grew larger. So many people visited the forest preserve that officials began closing off sections “for safety reasons.” Reports from local media, DNR law enforcement officers and the Forest Preserve indicated that people had been following and watching the buck for weeks beginning in late January – about the time bucks in Illinois begin shedding their antlers. Shed antler hunting is illegal in Illinois forest preserves, though a search of the specific Forest Preserve District Code failed to find any reference to shed antler collection. The Code did state: • Collection of plants and animals is strictly prohibited. This includes harvesting
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March 18, 2016
Mixed Bag Archery Deer Drawings Set for Public Sites
Springfield — Archery deer hunting applications for the 2016-17 season are available and can be submitted through March 31 for the site drawings for a handful of state sites: • For Beaver Dam State Park and Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve in Macoupin County, drawings for the site permits will be held on April 1. Both sites require the harvest of an antlerless deer at the site prior to harvesting an antlered deer. Hunters can obtain an application from the park office at 14548 Beaver Dam Lane in Plainview. • Permits for the Upper Group Camp Area at Pere Marquette State Park in Jersey County will be accepted until 10 a.m. on April 1 when a random drawing will be held at the Pere Marquette Visitor Center. • Applications will be accepted through March 31 for the special drawing for site permits for archery hunting at Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County. Applications will offer nine weekly hunting intervals. Applicants will prioritize their hunting weeks and will be selected randomly in a lottery drawing. Twelve hunters per week are allowed on two separate areas open to archery deer hunting. Bohm Woods Nature Preserve will allow two archery hunters per week for 13 total weeks. Lottery drawings will be conducted on April 1 at the Horseshoe Lake State Park office. For more information, call 618-931-0270. Information about each of the above sites can be found at http:// www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/FactSheets/Pages/WestCentral. aspx.
Vintage Decoy Show Returns to St. Charles St. Charles, Ill. — The 51st annual North American Vintage Decoy and Sporting Collectible Show, hosted by the Midwest Decoy Collectors Association, will take place April 19-23 at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles. Considered the largest gathering of decoy and sporting collectible enthusiasts, the show includes room-to-room trading, a decoy auction and a tabled event. Attendees will find more than 30,000 items for sale through nearly 300 dealers. MDCA members from across the U.S. and Canada will offer a wide range of items including sporting art, fishing lures, duck calls, and both antique and contemporary working decoys. Identification and appraisals will be offered for any item that is brought to the show. This effort is designed to help discover those old artifacts that are hiding around the country and recapture our rich hunting and fishing history. For more information, visit midwestdecoy.org. LaSalle Lake Opening Brings Angler Alerts Marseilles, Ill. — LaSalle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area was scheduled to open for the 2016 season on March 15 and will be open daily 6 a.m. to sunset. All fishermen must be off the lake by closing time each day. Hours may be adjusted due to staffing issues, so visitors should call ahead 815-357-1608 to confirm operating hours. Visitors to LaSalle Lake are reminded that during the first two weeks of the fishing season, long lines are expected at the site entrance. Visitors should adhere to all rules, regulations and direction from staff. There is a wind warning system at LaSalle Lake, located on the tip of the internal dike that extends from the west shore. When the light of the wind warning system is flashing, no boats are to be launched and boats on the lake should find calm water and get off the lake when safe to do so. ‘Becoming and Outdoors Woman’ Registration Springfield — Registration is open for the DNR “Becoming an Outdoors Woman” Workshop on June 10-12 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Ill. Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Class instruction is offered in a fun, non-competitive and hands-on environment. The cost of $230 per person includes two-nights lodging, meals, class instruction, use of equipment, transportation during the event, supplies, and giveaways. Registration information is online at www.dnr.illinois.gov/ recreation/BOW. Wolf Shot Near Illinois Border Confirmed Nauvoo, Ill. — Test results conclusively identified two large canines shot this winter in Iowa’s Osceola County and Van Buren County as wolves, likely originating from the Great Lakes population in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. The samples were tested at the University of California-Davis. Van Buren County is roughly 35 miles west of the Illinois border. Investigation into both shootings was conducted and no charges will be filed in either case. “We understand this is a sensitive topic and that our decision not to charge will be unpopular with some, but in these two incidents, based on the results of our investigation we feel it is the right course of action,” said Chuck Gipp, director of the Iowa DNR. Like Illinois to the east, Iowa has seen a recent increase in the number of wolves moving in from established populations in the Great Lakes region, Gipp noted. Camping Reservations Taken for DNR Sites
Springfield — Campers wanting to make reservations for campsites and shelters at many DNR sites for 2016 can do so online through the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com. The reservations can be made using a Visa or MasterCard. For more information, check the DNR website at http://dnr. state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Programs/Camping/index.htm.
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Shopping pays: Illinois team takes Bassmaster’s High School Classic By Anthony Candia Contributing Writer Benton, Ill. — As if the hundreds of high school anglers in the state needed motivation to get ready for this spring’s bass fishing sectionals and state finals, a team from southern Illinois provided a flash point. Benton High School won the Costa Bassmaster High School Classic exhibition during the GEICO Bassmaster Classic, held earlier this month in Oklahoma. Winning the high school title in impressive fashion was the team of Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney. The students from Benton caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces from Lake Hudson, which is on the Grand River just below where the Classic was taking place. Bailey Fain and Justin Selvidge, of Lenoir High School in Tennessee, took second place with two bass weighing 11-14. Daniel Jarvis and Hunter Silverstrim, of the Queen City Bassmasters, earned third place with two bass weighing 9-14. Fain and Selvidge caught the tournament’s biggest bass weighing 6-9. Richardson and McKinney reported that they spent four days scouting the lake with fair success. They encountered relatively clear water and windy weather, two conditions that worked in favor of their strategy. All of that changed on tournament day when the same water turned muddy and calm. “We had to go searching for clear water to make our pattern work,” said Richardson. “The water was really muddy on most of the lake.” They found what they needed after running more than an hour from the launch ramp. The anglers concentrated in the back of a narrow creek where the water was clearer than the surrounding area. The two lures chosen by the team to win the tournament have unusual back stories. McKinney went shopping at the Bassmaster Classic Expo and found two lures to try. Those were a pair of Lucky Craft Skeet Reese SKT MR crankbaits. “We knew a lot of fish around here are caught on square bill crankbait,” said McKinney. Credit the spontaneous shopping trip for the win. “In the first two casts, I caught keepers and knew we were on to something good,” said McKinney. During practice, and without much success, McKinney used a half-ounce Lunker Lure flipping jig. He pitched the jig around logs and laydown trees lining the shoreline. Alternatively, Richardson used an unconventional lure for the time and place of the tournament. He described the lure as a small jighead attached to a tiny rotating spinner. Crappie anglers recognize the lure as a Road Runner jig. Richardson said he is fond of the tiny lure because he hand pours the leadheads himself. As success continued on the square bill crankbait, both anglers eventually fished with the lure to complete a limit. Top teams affiliated with the B.A.S.S. High School Nation earned the chance to compete in the tournament. The top two teams from the Costa Bassmaster High School Opens in the Southern, Central and Midwest
Trevor McKinney, left, and Dailus Richardson, of Benton High School, won the Costa Bassmaster Classic High School Exhibition on Oklahoma’s Lake Hudson with five bass that Photo by Gary Tramontina/B.A.S.S. weighed 18 pounds, 11 ounces. regions qualified. Richardson and McKinney are expected to compete for Benton in the upcoming state series. The Illinois High School Association has not released its assignments for this year’s series, which begins at 22 sectional lakes on
May 6. The finals are scheduled for May 20-21 at Carlyle Lake. Benton qualified for the state finals in 2013 and again in 2015, finishing in seventh place. Father McGivney High School (Maryville) won the 2015 IHSA bass fishing championship.
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ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
DNR: The hunt is on for Illinois bobcat cover photo By Ralph Loos Editor Springfield — When it comes to bobcats, David Horning isn’t going to try to pull the lens cap over anyone’s eyes. Luck plays a big part in getting a good photo. “My bobcat encounters have been chance encounters while driving around,” said Horning, an Eldorado “hobby” photographer who has built a nice portfolio featuring the elusive predator at the bottom of the state. One of the more popular shots taken by Horning was in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge back in 2009. That photo shows a wild bobcat crossing a gravel road in front of a refuge sign with a rabbit in its mouth. Horning has captured quality bobcat photos in southern Illinois since that 2009 shot – one appears on the cover of this issue of Illinois Outdoor News and another “rabbit in mouth” shot can be found on page 30 – but health problems have kept him from wildlife photography. He said his wife has also captured bobcats on film. The take-away from Horning’s experience: If you think it’s going to be a cake walk to trap or hunt a bobcat when Illinois’ new season opens in the fall, consider that even photographers have a tough time capturing the animal. Which is one reason why DNR is currently soliciting photos of live bobcats in the wild as part of a contest that wraps up at the end of this month. There is no money involved, but the owner of the selected photo will be recognized in this fall’s Hunting and Trapping Digest. DNR “is interested in soliciting pictures of live bobcat(s) to be used for the 2016-17 Hunting and Trapping Digest cover photo,” the agency announced earlier this month. “This is open for people of all ages as long as they’re a resident of Illinois. The selected picture will be placed on the front cover of the Digest, and the photographer’s name will be identified on the inside page.”
A deadline of March 31 has been set for submissions. The top picture will be selected by polling DNR wildlife biologists to pick the winner. Along with receiving credit inside the Digest, the winning photographer will be sent five copies of the printed publication. Bobcat photos reduced below 500K can be emailed to email@example.com. Along with the photo, participants are asked to provide the name of the photographer, a mailing address, phone number, email address and a brief statement that DNR has permission to use the picture for the 2016-17 Hunting and Trapping Digest. Meanwhile, a majority of the bobcat photos in circulation around the state originated from trail cameras. Advice from professional wildlife photographers who have been successful shooting bobcats is pretty basic: learn where local bobcats hang out and then practice patience and persistence.
This year’s Digest cover Sherri Easley’s buck photo was selected for the current Hunting and Trapping Digest. DNR wants a Courtesy of DNR bobcat for this year’s Digest cover. DNR spokesman Chris Young – himself a former newspaper photojournalist and renowned wildlife photographer – noted that DNR has selected a cover photo through a photo contest the past three years. “Normally, photos can feature any game species pursued in Illinois,” Young said. “This year, to bring attention to the bobcat hunting and trapping season, the focus has been narrowed to bobcats only.” This year’s contest has already attracted more entries than in past contests, Young added.
Sherri Easley got a shot that hunters would be envious of – a nice buck coming out of the woods. Her shot is on the cover of the 2015-16 Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. “It was just one of those perfect moments that happen once in a while,” Easley, who lives near Kickapoo, said. “A lot of it’s just being in the right place at the right time and having patience.” Easley recalled when she took the photo in late 2014: It was a chilly fall day, and it had rained earlier. She thought she’d take her camera to Kickapoo State Park to see if any animals were running around. “This buck really surprised me as it came out from the woods and paused just long enough for me to get this every deer hunter’s ‘dream shot.’”
Quail summit sparks hope for declining populations Staff Report Springfield — Illinois bird hunters concerned about the dwindling quail population took notice this month when national experts came together to discuss habitat challenges. The first National Quail Summit brought leading upland biologists and policymakers together during the National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic in Kansas City. Those participating said new ideas were generated in an effort to help reverse the 80 percent decline nationally of quail since the 1980s. Organizers noted that the event was in response to a reduction in funds that the federal government is allotting to the Conservation Reserve Program which is the largest program creating habitat for quail. Keynote speaker Shane Mahoney, a renowned conservationist, said hunting groups should form a coalition with other groups such as the Audubon Society, water quality groups and prescribed fire groups that share a common interest in conserving the species. Mahoney said it is possible to restore the species since the birds are still on the landscape, but it will require the purposeful management of land. “There was a 90 percent decline in elk, whitetail deer, pronghorn antelope, wild turkey, wood duck, Canada geese, mule deer and black bear more than 100 years ago that was every bit as bad as the decline in quail populations right now,” Mahoney said. “If there had been an endangered species act in 1910, each of those species would have been on it without question. They are still here because we decided that we still wanted them to be around.”
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
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ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
Taylor’s Lake McMaster muskie takes Big Fish award
Bob Taylor with the 48.5-inch muskie that earned him the Big Fish award for 2015. Photo provided By Ralph Loos Editor Victoria, Ill. — No stranger to the powerful pull of muskies – both figuratively and literally – Bob Taylor doesn’t have a depth-defying tale to go with the catch that earned him honors from the Illini Muskies Alliance. The 48.5-inch muskie Taylor pulled out of Lake McMaster at Snakeden Hollow last year simply was achieved by a combination of skill and patience. “It was early evening and I was hard twitching a 10-inch crappie pattern Musky Mania Jake in 35 feet of water,” explained Taylor, recently tagged Big Fish winner by the IMA, which awards a trophy to the angler releasing the
largest muskie captured in Illinois waters the year before. It was Taylor’s fourth Illinois muskie to measure at least 48.5 inches – he has now caught three from McMaster and one from Kinkaid Lake. His largest muskie was a 49-incher from Lake St Clair, which borders Michigan and Canada. Walter Krause won last year’s IMA Big Fish award with a 48-incher from Kinkaid. Taylor is a member of the Lake Shelbyville Muskie Club.
Reporting on state’s big muskies Word of Taylor’s win came as part of an IMA report on the 2015 Muskie’s Inc. Members Only Fishing Contest and the 2015 DNR Voluntary Muskie Creel Survey. Mike McClelland, DNR’s inland waters program manager, recently took over creel survey duties from Jim Mick, who retired from DNR at the end of 2015. McClelland sorted through the survey’s “green card” mail entries and the online entries, then combined lists to come up with 2015 results. In total last year, Muskie’s Inc. members captured 528 muskies ranging 30 inches to 49.25
inches. The creel survey produced an additional 73 fish ranging from 16 inches to 48.5 inches. A total of 601 fish were analyzed. Twenty-three Illinois bodies of water reported muskies in the contest. Over half (60.8 percent) produced a muskie at least 40 inches in length in 2015. The top five bodies – Fox Chain, Kinkaid Lake, Lake Storey, Shabbona Lake and Lake Shelbyville – accounted for over 80 percent of all fish reported. The Fox Chain not only produced the most fish per body of water, but it also produced more fish than the other four bodies combined. While numbers from the contest and creel survey help DNR biologist manage muskie populations, Ray Thompson, IMA president, noted that greater participation by anglers would go a long way toward making the information even more useful. “The accuracy of any study is affected by the amount of data used – and unfortunately, many anglers fail to report their fish in contests and the vast majority of those reported in the Muskies Inc. contest are not registered in the Illinois Voluntary Creel Survey,” said Thompson. “Thus, the accuracy of the creel survey is diminished and misleading information may be used as a basis for future muskie management decisions in Illinois.”
IMA loses icon Roland Steinhauser, one of IMA’s original organizers who is credited with helping open lines of communication with DNR’s Division of Fisheries, passed away on March 3. As a result of Steinhauser’s early work, “the Department really listens to us,” Thompson was quoted as saying in a memorial tribute to Steinhauser, who was 72. “The department always contacts us with any changes regarding muskies before they enact them.”
Sharpshooting controversy continues across CWD zones By Tim Bunton Contributing Writer Sandwich, Ill. — There have been deer complaints in the villages of River Forest and Glencoe, on the campus of Joliet Junior College and in forest preserve districts all around suburban Chicago. But for every resident who says “There are too many deer here,” an anti-hunting neighbor retorts “stop shooting our deer.” Even some hunters protest the state’s deer culling efforts, pleading that hunters themselves should be afforded
the opportunity. It’s looking like a no-win situation. The latest dust-up comes out of Sandwich, where, in wake of the Commonwealth Edison decision to allow sharpshooters to kill deer behind their sub-station on Somonauk Road, property owners are taking exception. According to local radio station WSPY, Keith Wiersma is upset because DNR sharpshooters are killing deer behind the substation, which adjoins Wiersma’s property.
“What irritates me is that they are shooting out of season – I’m not allowed to shoot this time of the year – they’re shooting over bait that they’re supplying to the deer to attract the deer, I can’t do that,”said Wiersma. “They’re being hired by DNR, who is cutting back on conservation officers due to lack of funding. We’re in a state that doesn’t have a budget. They’re cutting back on services for everybody, but they’re paying these guys to come out and shoot deer.” Wiersma also said that the local deer population has dropped
since DNR began the program last year. DNR Wildlife Biologist Bob Massey explained that the DNR is shooting the deer as part of the chronic wasting disease monitoring program. “I’m a deer hunter, so I fully understand guys’ concerns, but we just don’t have a better option at this point,” said Massey. “We’re trying to harvest enough deer in our management zones that we’re taking out sick deer fast than the disease is creating new sick deer.”
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Wiersma says that the DNR is perpetuating the CWD problem by placing hay and corn bait at the site and feeding deer from the ground. “What I’d like to see happen is, number one, them not being there,” he added. “I’m not getting paid to shoot deer, in fact I didn’t even get a deer this year.”
Kendall, Joliet deer news Meanwhile, little news has come out of Kendall County in recent weeks after a county official called police after spotting a DNR sharpshooter. The Kendall County Forest Preserve District Board voted last year to deny a request from the DNR to cull deer on district property. DNR, however, can shoot deer on private property if they are given permission by the landowner. Board member Bob Davidson said he contacted Kendall County sheriff’s police after he heard from constituents who said they thought the sharpshooters were shooting deer at the Henneberry Woods Forest Preserve near Yorkville. “We did receive an email apologizing and they moved their equipment and operation off of the property, but it was close to the private property but it was not on private property,” Forest Preserve President Jeff Wehrli told reporters in February. Sharpshooting has been controversial since it began in Illinois more than a decade ago as a way to monitor CWD. The issue has been debated all across the northern part of the state, especially in areas that have had positive cases of CWD, though disease isn’t the only reason for managing deer. In December, Joliet Junior College officials agreed to a one-year pilot program with DNR to thin the deer herd using sharpshooters on campus. College officials pointed to the success of the program used in forest preserves in Will and DuPage counties. They also voiced concerns that one year would not be enough to bring deer numbers down substantially.
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Fishing put him through college – and much more QUAD CITIE S W VIEW hile not tall of physical es every year and I have no desire to stature, Jimmy Houston retire.” stands very tall. Not just in The outdoors legend was a bit late the world of professional tournament for his first scheduled seminar – he’d bass fishing, where he has excelled fallen asleep in his hotel room and had for quite a spell – nor as a host of to be awakened. Understandable, as outdoors television shows which he he’d had just two hours of sleep in his has done for several decades or as an own bed the night prior after returning author of five books or as a marine in the middle of the night from a threedealer/businessman and spokesday fishing trip to Mexico filming an man-ambassador for the many sponupcoming TV show. And that was on sors he has amassed over the years the heels of an FLW Outdoors Bass – but also in life itself. Tournament in Florida where he won BY BOB GROENE Houston was here in the Quad $4,000 for a 52nd place finish out of 170 Cities as the headliner seminar pre(much younger) competitors. All of senter at the annual Quad Cities that over a three-week period, which is Conservation Alliance Outdoor Show, and our comfairly typical for the 71-year-old colorful and energetic munity was fortunate to reel him in. It was at least his dynamo. fourth QC visit: first as a seminar presenter at one of the On stage, Houston is extremely entertaining and a talvery early (1987) QCCA shows, then as a competitor in ented educator. He told the audience that he was going the BASS Top 100 tournament held here in 1995, and as to teach them how to pitch a lure with a bait casting rod a spokesman for sponsors at the 2009 FLW Outdoors and reel. All-American tournament. “It’s easier than falling in love,” he quipped. “I work pretty much every day for the first half of the Houston talked freely and fondly about many things year, then my schedule lightens up some,” Houston during our couple of hours together. About growing told me between stage appearances. “From here I’ll up in an outdoors family who were always active in drive to another appearance then on to Chicago for a church. And about when his dad bought a lakefront business meeting with a sponsor, then fly back home to resort, and his family moved from the city to western Oklahoma. I make well over 100 personal appearanc-
Utah Man Injured in Backyard Mule Deer Attack Adraper, Utah (AP) — Officials say a mule deer attacked a Utah man in his backyard, injuring the man and his dog. KSL-TV reports that Draper city officials say a resident in the Salt Lake City suburb called police recently to say a deer hurt the family dog and “was engaged” with her father. According to a news release, Animal Services supervisor Dennis Wilson arrived to find the man on the ground with the deer goring him. Wilson said he struggled with the deer and was able to take the animal to the ground. City spokeswoman Maridene Alexander said officers eventually shot and killed the deer.
For more Beyond Illinois visit outdoornews.com/illinois
Maryland Pair Charged AfterShooting ‘Robo-Deer’ Leonardtown, Md. (AP) — Two hunters in Maryland were arrested after they unknowingly shot a “Robo-Deer” belonging to the Maryland Natural Resources Police. The Washington Post reports that 21-year-old David Few and 24-year-old Brian Stitley directed flashlights at RoboDeer and then shot the dummy with crossbows from a road in Leonardtown. Last month a district judge dropped most of the charges against the men, including hunting from a vehicle and possessing marijuana.
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Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller, something that changed his life forever. “I’d always been a pretty good fisherman and then living on a lake and being able to fish all the time, I just got to be a better angler,” he said. “In fact when a world championship bass fishing tournament came to our lake, many of the competitors wanted to hire me as a guide and I was still in high school.“ His teen years angling prowess was also noted by (See Groene Page 12)
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Iconic outdoors professional and personality Jimmy Houston giving a seminar at the recent Quad Cities Conservation Alliance Outdoor Show. Houston is near 50 years of pro fishing. Photo by Bob Groene
Film Company Fined for Wilderness Violations Kalispell, Mont. (AP) — A Missoula-based film company has been cited for violating state fishing regulations and filming illegally in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the company’s owners and an associate were fined about $6,000 as part of a plea agreement involving 38 state and 11 federal citations. Missoula Wild produced films that showed people illegally fishing for bull trout, a federally protected species, officials said. State citations were issued for fishing for bull trout in closed waters, failing to immediately release bull trout, and failing to report it on a “bull trout catch card.”
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ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
HB 6008 war: good, bad and ugly of social media
allows hunting and target shooting Feb. 17, I logged into while protecting individuals from a my Facebook account similar situation. I welcome any ideas and noticed I had been you have to promote safe hunting and enrolled in a new group: “BLOCK target shooting.” HB 6008 AGAINST HUNTING.” Responding to one criminal act of I read that the group was formed by irresponsible target shooting with a Matt Porter, the proprietor of Porter’s proposed legislation which would Hunt Club which has operated in effectively ban the completely unrelatLake, McHenry and Kane counties ed sport of hunting is hardly reasonsince 1993. Porter made the group’s able, fair, democratic or responsible, first post to inform any followers that the group posted in response. he had been in communication with state Rep. Carol Sente, who was the Indicating a willingness to be sponsor of House Bill 6008, which had BY STEVE SARLEY open-minded, Sente wrote, “One of the intent of banning hunting within my proposed thoughts for changing 1,000 yards of a house. the bill is that we focus on recreational target shooting, reduce the yardage in the bill to 500 yards, and remove Porter wrote to Sente, “I represent the interest of sevany provisions about hunting.” eral hundred hunters in this area that hunt at my club, and this proposed bill would virtually put me out of Incredibly, within a 24-hour period of time, the issue business and leave these other hunters with no place came to a fruitful end. Sente posted on the group’s to hunt. I strongly urge you and your constituents to page, “Here are the commitments I’m willing to make OPPOSE THIS BILL and any others like it that come up. to you: 1). Remove all reference that HB 6008 made to hunting. 2). Make a written request to the Rules “I think you have made a catastrophic error in underCommittee to place HB 6008 into the House Agriculture estimating the more than 1.2 million hunters in Illinois and Conservation Committee. The Rules Committee that spend over $20 million dollars each year on huntmakes the ultimate decision but Agriculture is one of ing licenses and hundreds of millions in pursuit of our the most likely committees for the bill to go and is filled sport and our heritage.” with hunting and sports enthusiasts. 3). Remove the Sente responded that she was actually the author existing language from HB 6008 and listen to the comand sponsor of the bill. The bill had been spurred by mittees’ ideas for a solution to the irresponsible use of what she related was a request from her local chief of firearms and danger of stray bullets entering residences police asking for her help because on three occasions, that could endanger the lives of Illinoisans.” bullets entered the living areas of three different homes Porter summarized the entire incident by posting, “I in unincorporated Mundelein and could have killed or believe we sent a very strong message to our elected seriously injured someone. Sente wrote, “I would like officials that we will not relinquish any of our hunting to start by letting you know that I myself am a hunter, rights without a fight. I want to very sincerely thank sportsman and have a FOID card. Some of my favorite State Rep. Carol Sente. She is one of the good guys in memories with my father were him taking me to outour electorate. She truly seeks to represent the interests door shooting ranges and our antelope hunting trips to Wyoming. I will treasure those memories forever! I also of all the people in her district, which is an absolutely impossible task. In her district, as in our state, the voted for Illinois’ conceal carry bill. people comprise dedicated hunters and shooters and “With that said, my “I still have a desire to appear sportsmen and women, and hard core anti-gun nuts, before a legislative committee to discuss this issue to and everyone in between. see if we can reach a mutually agreeable solution that
Groene (From Page 9)
Bob Cobb, then outdoor editor for the largest newspaper in Oklahoma City, who wrote about Houston several times. Cobb went on to his own fame
by joining with Ray Scott as the longtime editor of BassMaster magazine and producer of Bass Master television. In his sophomore year of college, Houston married his
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high school sweetheart and last year they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary. The Houstons have two children who both have been working for Jimmy Houston Outdoors
Matt Porter runs a successful waterfowl operation in northern Illinois but found time to fight for the rights Photo provided of outdoorsmen on social media. “Carol has agreed to essentially “strip this bill to remove the threat to our sporting use of firearms, and seeks to use it for the discussion of how to best address the irresponsible use and discharge of firearms. She also agreed that the solution does not lie in the restricting of law abiding citizens in the legal and responsible pursuit of their sports, but in legislation and well thought out enforcement and punishment of those who use firearms irresponsibly – especially on multiple occasions.” Porter also pointed out that Sente had been threatened and now fears for her own safety. “I am embarrassed and ashamed by those who would affiliate themselves with us and threaten anyone, especially a woman,” Porter noted. “I would strongly urge all of you to please be respectful at all times during disagreements like this. We wouldn’t want someone treating our mothers, wives or daughters in such a way that made them fear for their lives, so we certainly should not treat anyone else like that.” One lesson to take away: social media has power, both good and bad. Porter started the group on Feb. 17 by inviting a half-dozen friends to join. In less than 24 hours, the group had over a thousand members. email@example.com
since college. Just watch a wide grin erupt when asked about his seven grandchildren. Even though his dad was a successful businessman, Houston was on his own to get
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through college. He financed that by catching and selling lots of fish – mainly catfish and crappies, by guiding anglers and by skin diving on salvage operations. In his senior year of college (May, 1966), Houston won the Oklahoma Bass Fishing Championship, an event considered professional competition, which is significant. “If I make it just a couple of more months,” he joked, “I’ll be the first professional bass fisherman to compete for 50 consecutive years. “Two years ago I was the oldest angler to ever qualify for either the BASS Classic or FLW Outdoors championship. I was 69 and made the 35-angler field for the FLW Outdoors Bass Tour championship competing against 170 of the best bass fishermen in the world.” Over the course of his tournament fishing career, Houston has won over $1 million and many boats, collected two highly coveted BASS Anglerof-the-Year crowns, qualified for 15 BASSMaster Classics and continues to compete in FLW Outdoors Bass Tour events. His beloved-by-fans signature stitch is kissing a caught bass before release. Chris Houston, Jimmy’s wife and a mighty proficient woman professional angler in her own right having won many tournaments and championships herself, not only accompanies Jimmy to FLW Outdoors Tour bass tournaments, but together they practice fishing dawn to dusk before each event. Jimmy and Chris have both been inducted into the National Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame. firstname.lastname@example.org
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
READER R E A L
S TORI ES
‘Scoped’ in the Shawnee:
March 18, 2016
S POR T SM AN
Young deer hunter keeps her spirits, wits At age 11, Rachael Howard had an unfortunate accident many experienced hunters are familiar with – while hunting in southern Illinois with her dad, Rob Howard, she was smacked in the forehead by the scope of her shotgun. Now a 15-year-old freshman at Lockport High School, Rachael shared with Illinois Outdoor News the story she wrote shortly after the incident. By Rachael Howard
o look for my deer.” Those weren’t the words my dad was expecting to hear from me while my forehead was gushing blood. His tall, broad and calming attitude made me feel safe and protected while everything was going on. That is why I look up to him. Since it was youth deer season, my dad and I went to the Shawnee National Forest near Marion to go deer hunting. It is a very rural area. There are no “big cities” or “bright lights.” All of it is just filled with corn fields and forests. My grandpa lives down there, so we stayed at his house for the three days that we were there. It was a cold, October morning and we woke up around 4 a.m. so we could get to the blind, set up and get settled before sunrise. Once we got into our blind that first morning, I took a big look around. All I saw were tall, brown trees, covered in moss, and the smell was like a mildew/ musty type of odor. I was about to fade off to sleep in my chair, waiting for the deer, but at about 8 o’clock we saw a doe. My dad whispered quietly, “Ray, wake up. There’s a deer!” I looked up and saw it. “Should I get my gun?” I asked, uneasily. “Yes, but move very slow and quietly. If you move too fast the deer will see you and run away.” My hands were trembling and I was sweating up a storm as I reached for my gun and grabbed it. Once I had looked through the scope I put the target right on the deer. BOOM! I shot the gun. You could see the line of smoke the bullet made. After I shot the gun, there was liquid running down my face. I thought I was crying. I touched it to see what it was. The color was red – blood red. “It hit me in the forehead,” I muttered to my dad. He knew immediately what happened because it happened to him too, and he rushed towards me. He responded, “Put these paper towels on it to stop the bleeding.” We walked out of the blind. “When I shot the gun the scope hit me in the forehead,” I declared, a look of shock surely on my face. “I know. Remember when it happened to me? But it didn’t hit me that hard,” he answered. “Go look for my deer,” I exclaimed with high hopes. “Are you sure?” he asked. “Yes, I will wait here while you go look.” “Okay, but if you need me, just holler.” “Ok, Papa.” Because there were complex turns and winds, he was gone for about 15 minutes. While he was gone, I thought to myself, “What will this do to my forehead?”
Rachael Howard with pheasants she bagged on a Photos provided “more successful” hunting trip. emergency room. The room had a musty odor because it was older. My dad typed in all my information that they needed and they took me to a hospital room. They laid me down on the bed and said to relax. I waited for about another 20 minutes and then nurses started coming in to get me ready. The one that was going to work on me said I needed a couple stitches. Fantastic. She put this piece of paper over my head that only had an opening right where my cut was. She told me, “I am going to give you some numbing shots.” My dad told me that I could squeeze his hand as hard as I could if I needed to. He also told me that I am the strongest and bravest girl he ever met. I think he The impact of her shotgun’s scope resulted in nine told me that because he didn’t want me to get scared. stitches for Rachael and “a good story to tell.” The first shot she gave me hurt like one million bees came out and stung me. It was right in the cut so that Will I have to get stitches? I hope not. The feeling made it hurt even more. Once the needle went in, the of just talking about stitches gives me the chills. What blood started coming out, fast. I was squeezing my will they do to me? I have never been to the emergency dad’s hand so hard that I think it was turning purple. room before. The second shot went in. That hurt just as much. My forehead was bleeding so much that my dad had to When he came back I said, “Did you find the deer?” look away. I counted how many shots she put in my “No, but I am going to call Grandpa Howard and forehead, about 10 to 12. then ask him where the hospital is,” Dad said with a She stopped and took a tool and tapped my forehead little discouragement in his voice. “We can come back in several places asking, “Can you feel that?” later once you are checked out.” “No,” I replied. “Okay,” I said, trying to look strong, though inside I was scared to death. While she was stitching up my head, one area wasn’t completely numb. She gave me three more shots and My dad tried calling my grandpa but he didn’t answer. Finally we walked to the car and were going to carried on with the stitching. Once she was finished she cleaned all the blood off of my face and said, “Keep it go to his house. clean by taking a warm rag and dabbing it with it.” When I walked up to the car, I was about to take off Later that day, we went back to our blind to look for the paper towel and see how bad it was, but before I the deer. There was no sign of it. I wasn’t that bummed could, my dad said, “Stop! I don’t want you to see it.” about it because I had an adventure my whole trip. I replied, “Ok” and put the towel back on. I turned round to see his tall figure, with his brown hair sticking When I came home, I had a good story to tell to my mom and brother. My mom was the one most worried out of his camouflage hat. The only thing I saw in the about me, but I told her I was fine. Once we had left the reflection was my scraggly brown hair, my wind burnt hospital, I had nine bright blue stitches in my forehead. cheeks, and my right hand holding the bloody towel. I called myself Frankenstein. After we got packed up and put everything in the My dad is my best friend, mentor, and most of all trunk, we got into the car. I reclined my seat and just my idol. He helps me with problems and emergencies. relaxed. The bleeding had stopped by then. When we He pushes me to do my best in every situation. Now I got to my grandpa’s house I sat down, and took off have realized that staying calm is the best thing to do the towel. When I took off the towel and showed my in any emergency. I will always have a memory (and a grandma and grandpa they said, “Yup, that’s gonna scar) when the scope of my gun hit me in the forehead. need at least a couple of stitches.” That was the last I will never forget the story and the life lesson. All in thing I wanted to hear. all, I think that was one of the most fun-filled Octobers Once we got to the hospital, we went straight to the I have had.
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March 18, 2016
Hunting dog owners have to keep close tabs on their canine companion and look for any signs of aging in the field, and adjust hunting activity accordingly. Photo by Paula Piatt His athleticism and stamina, By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer once omnipresent, had begun hen my late black Lab to wane. His appetite, once turned 7 years old, ravenous, fluctuated. When he changed. It wasn’t my Lab was younger, he super-noticeable, but I could could have slept through the see it in his every movement. Battle of the Bulge. But when
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he turned 7, he started to get restless and occasionally paced at night as much as he slept. Even his coat, once as glossy as spit-shined charcoal, lost some of its luster. Concerned, I brought him to the vet. The results: He was perfectly healthy, except for “a touch of arthritis” in the “elbow” of his front left leg – a problem that got worse over time and required treatment and medication. “Your dog is just getting old,” said my vet, a Lab owner and bird hunter himself. “Enjoy his golden years while you can.” The question(s) you have to ask yourself is basic: How do I care for Fido as he gets older while also ensuring his quality of life? In addition, just how long should I hunt my favorite hunting companion, and what steps can I take to mitigate the aging process? How long you hunt your dog is a question only you can answer. I made the call when my Lab’s body language said
he was ready to retire. It was obvious the joy he felt and demonstrated for 10 autumns was no longer there. I learned that quickly on a September prairie grouse hunt in his 11th hunting season. He was in good shape, but he hunted hard for only 10 or 15 minutes. He slowed down to what was effectively a walk. His mind seemed willing, but his body had nothing left to give. After that short hunt, it took him several days to recover. It was agonizing to watch. As a sort of celebratory coda to his career, I hunted him one last time on the duck opener. He retrieved three drake bluewinged teal like a champ. Following are some tips to consider as your hunting dog gets older: • Keep your dog at a healthy weight. Extra pounds on older dogs means extra stress on their bodies, including their joints and internal organs, said Dr. Ann Spanish, a veterinarian at Shakopee (Minn.) Veterinarian Clinic.
“For larger hunting breeds, you often see them start to slow down when they’re in that 7-year-old range, though every dog is a little bit different,” she said. “Keeping your dog lean is very important as they get older. Studies show far and away that maintaining a healthy weight is more important than using joint supplements and anti-inflammatory medication – and both of those have their uses.” She said keeping your dog at a healthy weight is important for overall cardiovascular stamina, too. If your dog already has joint pain, losing some weight likely will provide relief. • Regular exercise is vital. Dogs gain weight as they get older because their metabolism slows down. Regular exercise can help offset that change. “Exercise can and often does keep dogs youthful and happy,” Spanish said. “How you exercise is an important
(See Aging Dogs Page 22)
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
By John Tertuliani Contributing Writer
pinning reels are a wonLine twist is an undeniable derful way to go fishing, a issue with spinning reels. The definite advantage to use very nature of a spinning reel, with light to medium tackle. a fixed spool with a rotor that Casting long distances with wraps the line during a retrieve, accuracy takes a bit of practice. makes line twist inevitable. The desired results are not diffi- Reducing line twist starts with cult if you follow the basics. making sure the reel is correctly spooled. If you spool incorrectIf the reel has been cleaned ly, you are starting out with and lubricated or is new, then twisted line, another reason the line is in order and you’re spinning reels cause frustration. ready to go. The proper weight and amount of line is necessary To start putting new line on to get maximum performance. a reel, open the bail, otherwise The line weight and amount you will have to remove the recommended spool or cut on the reel is and retie the often printed Reeling new line in at line to the reel on the spool. If spool once the a moderate pace will not printed on bail is open. keep the filler from the spool, look Attach the line coming up and bouncing to the reel with in the owner’s on the table. Check your an arbor knot. manual, or sometimes the progress by stopping to An arbor knot information is look at the line between is simple to tie on the box. – nothing more the guide and the than making a Anglers like filler spool. slip knot over to put on the the main line heaviest line running around possible, going the arbor of the reel and then an above the recommended line overhand knot over the tag end weight the reel is designed to of the slip knot to keep the tag use. Putting a line heavier than end from slipping back through the recommended limit is a the knot. mistake. First, the line will not cast well, reducing the distance Threading the line through you can cast. Second, the drag the guides or at least the guide will be overworked, insufficient closest to the reel makes the for the heavier line. Spinning job easier, as you need to add reels get criticized for the wrong tension to the line as you reel in reasons, using line heavier than the new line. You can use the recommended being one. thumb and index finger of your
BowTech Elite Excalibur Hoyt Mathews PSE Ten Point
rod-holding hand to apply tension. You may want to apply a silicone-based lubricant on your thumb and finger or use a soft cloth to put tension on the line if you do not want silicone on your fingers. A spool with the label side up is the popular way to put line on a reel, and it is often the correct side. Line manufacturing practices vary from company to company, which can mean label side up is not always the correct side to lay a filler spool. Another problem that can arise is the spool coming up from the table. As you reel faster, the spool bounces around and lands label side down as you slow down. The tendency is to keep reeling with the filler spool now label side down. Reeling new line in at a moderate pace will keep the filler from coming up and bouncing on the table. Check your progress by stopping to look at the line between the guide and the filler spool, watching as you move the rod down toward the spool – you will see the line twist if you have the spool lying on the wrong side. Remember to keep tension on the line to the reel with your thumb and index
Spinning reels today are state-of-the-art, but to get the most from one, you still have to follow the basics. Contributed photo finger until finished spooling new line on the reel. Fill the spool to within 1⁄8 of an inch of the edge of the spool rim, though some say 1⁄16 of an inch. Too much line is worse than not enough. When you have too much line it falls off, if not it jumps off, the reel. A tangled mess soon follows – you may end up cutting off a bunch of line to clear the tangles. Starting out with a bit less line is a good idea until you learn the limits of your reel. Casting a spinning reel is not as easy as a spincast, but easier than a baitcast. Hand placement will make you an expert. If you’re right-handed, the reel seat post goes between your
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two middle fingers, but some anglers prefer the third finger and pinky. The right hand does not leave this position, as this is the commanding hand that is not removed from the rod when casting or retrieving. The right index finger controls the line, which controls the cast. The proper hold is your index finger positioned comfortably above the bail. The index finger reaches down and pulls the line straight up from the spool with the tip of the finger, holding it for the arc of the cast. If your hand on the reel seat is positioned too far back, you can easily pull the line back against the face of the reel with your finger. Worse yet is reaching over with the left hand and pulling the line up to your right index finger. When you pull the line back across the reel face with the opposite hand, your chance of snagging the bail is pretty good. You’ll know it immediately when the bail immediately snaps shut and the lure lands at your feet – the line may break if it has any weak spots. There is no need to change hands when using a spinning reel, which is why the original design was other-hand cranking. The left hand should be used to power the cast at the bottom of the rod butt, reduced today to a cork stubble. The left hand is used to open and close the bail. Yes, close the bail as soon as the lure hits the water, if not slightly before. Spinning reels have a trip lever to automatically close the bail as the rotor swings around, and that is where the slack in your line begins. If you want to put slack in your line and start forming those aggravating loops that can ruin a day of fishing, let the bail close automatically. Loose and twisted line is what gives spinning reels a bad name. Manually closing the bail with the opposite hand at every cast is a big help, as is using a swivel whenever possible. Do not overfill the spool, and change the line often, unless it’s braid. Last but not least, never crank the reel when a whale is pulling line out against the drag, or you will surely take line twist to a new level.
March 18, 2016
Illinois that have done pretty well.” etirement has taught Kevin Before his retirement, Rathjen had Rathjen an important lesson never carved wood. On the other hand, – he’s an artist. The Jacob he was a machinist by trade. And, he resident retired from the Grand built his own home. And, he is a life-long Tower power plant six years ago waterfowl hunter. and was looking for something to “I started making calls just to see if I fill his time. Rathjen decided to try could make one that would quack,” he his hand at making duck calls. said. “Once I mastered that, people got That proved to be a wise move. interested in it, and it was just word of For the second year in a row, one mouth to friends. When I started carving, of Rathjen’s calls received second Kevin Rathjen, of Jacob, people took an interest in that. Ninetyplace in the decorative division creates artistic and working five percent of my calls go to some kind of the National Wild Turkey Photos by Les Winkeler of charity. Otherwise, I don’t just sit down duck calls. Federation’s call-making contest and carve one for myself. held in Nashville, Tennessee. The intricately detailed “I just started one day. I saw some pictures in books prize-winning call, fashioned out of artificial ivory and of people who carved on them. I thought maybe I’ll African black wood depicts the hand of God creating try that. I just started carving a couple ducks and saw I ducks. had a little knack for it. I just kept it up.” The call is mounted on a base shaped as an open Rathjen’s workshop fills a corner of his garage. His Bible. tools have gone well beyond the original wood lathe “I didn’t know I had an artistic bone in my body,” he initially purchased. Rathjen said. “People say, ‘Where do you get that?’ I Recently, he built a perforated down draft table don’t know. I guess because the subject matter interto suck away the tiny dust particles created by the ests me for one thing. It’s kind of keeping up a tradidentist’s drill he uses for the more intricate work. He tion. There have been a lot of call makers in southern By Les Winkeler Contributing Writer
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
wears a set of jeweler’s magnifying glasses while working at the well-lighted table. “I never thought it would get to this,” he said. Rathjen’s workshop is well stocked with about 20 different kinds of wood. And, he’s always thinking about that next project. “I’m always thinking what can I do?” he said. “I’ve been down to the (NWTF) shows in Nashville. I go down there and see what they are doing and I think, ‘What can I do that they haven’t seen before?’ I’m trying to do something that no one else does.” Rathjen can churn out a standard working call in about five to six hours. By contrast, he worked on his prize-winning call nearly a month. “It’s so fragile,” he said. “I broke it and had to start over. I had some setbacks making that thing because it was so fragile.” Yet, time flies when he’s at work. “That’s part of the reason I got into it when I retired,” Rathjen said. “I needed something to do. That was it. It does keep me busy. I have a lot of orders. I don’t do a lot of calls. I did 43 last year. I gave 21 away to different charities. I’m not getting rich by any means. The high dollar calls are all given away.”
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Gear to help your hunting or shooting improve in 2016
combine a smooth-shooting and stable platform, with ultra-swift 340 feet per season. A new open-geometry 6061 T6 aluminum riser is designed to distribute load over a greater surface area and improve torsional rigidity. Along with the proven benefits of Elite’s exclusive Riser Cage design the result is reduced torque at full draw and a riser that’s up to 30 percent stiffer than comparable riser concepts. elitearchery. com
By Dan Durbin Contributing Writer
person could spend hours walking the floors of the ATA or SHOT shows. It’s where you’ll find all the new products from the major and budding players for the 2016 archery and shooting or hunting seasons. If you hunt, shoot, or do just about anything close… it’s like being in heaven without having to punch out to get there. Here’s what Outdoor News saw at the recent trade shows.
M A T H E W S
Built on Crosscentric Cam technology, the Halon delivers hard- hitting energy with the consistent accuracy you’ve come to expect from Mathews. Inspired by No Cam technology, the Halon’s all-new Crosscentric Cam employs
E B A R R O N E T T
L I T E
B R O W N I N G HSS
a partially concentric string payout to produce a stealthy draw and delivers speeds up to 353 feet per second. AVS technology is utilized in this high-speed system to maintain cam synchronization, store more energy and increased efficiency throughout the draw cycle. It measures 30 inches axle to axle and features a true-center nocking point to ensure straight and level nock travel. With wider, more torsionally rigid limbs and the all-new dual bridged riser, the Halon is built to perform in the toughest hunting conditions. Mathewsinc. com
March 18, 2016
The Elements line of rugged, outdoor handwarmers and power banks are getting charged up 2016. The
MISSION S I B E R I A N
TEN POINT ThermoCharge 6 and ThermoCharge 10 hand warmer/power banks are packed with features like an all new power curve design that optimizes heat transfer, larger battery capacity, and dual USB out ports (ThermoCharge 10) for charging multiple devices. These rugged multi-use hand warmer/power banks pack major heat plus all day charging for your personal electronics, keeping you focused on the trail ahead. Celestron.com
Impulse series delivers speed without compromise and “shootability” without sacrifice. Nearly a decade of product innovation has led to the design of the next generation of Elite bows, which
The Pentagon five-sided hub blind added interior room and unrivaled views through the panoramic window arrangement. The unique shape of the Pentagon adds 70 percent more interior room than similar four-sided hub blinds, offering a footprint of 41.5 square feet. The extra room is ideal for group hunts, extra gear, camera equipment or wheelchairs. The large, panoramic windows cover three sides of the Pentagon and allow a wide-angle view around the hunter. Each window is covered with replaceable, shootthrough mesh camo, and the three center windows feature gun ports.
A M E R I S T E P (See ATA & SHOT Page 25)
March 18, 2016
Poaching is not the biggest problem
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
By Russ Mason Contributing Writer
ver the past couple of years, there’s been a lot of interest in poaching or increasing fines for other wildlife infractions. Some states have even passed legislation increasing fines for poached deer, based in part on the size of the buck’s antlers. I see these attempts as educated derivatives of the mistaken yet broadly held belief that regulated hunting can lead to the extinction of species. What’s interesting, at least to me, is that nobody seems to be looking at the data and calculating the relative risks. My point is, where is the evidence that poaching actually impacts wildlife population viability? In truth, in North America a good argument can be made that poaching (with the plausible exception of commodities like ginseng) presents little to no threat and isn’t much more important to wildlife management than belching in church is to the health of religion. Not that this has always been the case. No one familiar with American history and the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny would disagree with the claim that unregulated market gunning for profit had enormous and negative impacts on many species of wildlife. Moreover, when market gunning was outlawed, illegal harvest for profit continued in many places well into the 1930s. This lawless and damaging behavior was the poaching that law enforcement was (and should have been) concerned with. However, the days of commercial, large-scale poaching at the landscape level are long past. The North American Model of Wildlife Management eliminated profit as a motive and so changed the importance of poaching to something almost biologically trivial. Don’t get me wrong: Poaching does remain a concern elsewhere. A cursory Internet search of the term “the importance of poaching to wildlife” brings up a host of international problems. The key word, however, is “international.” Outside the unsurprising and unsubstantiated hyperbole of animal rights organizations, today’s threats have to do with the harvest of animals in Africa and Asia because there is substantial money to be made, especially in the markets of the Middle East and places like China. Yet here, on this side of the pond, there’s little to no evidence that poaching, no matter how egregious, has had any impact on any North American species in more than half a century. The obvious question, then, is why we continue to focus on poaching instead of a host of tangible and growing existential threats to wildlife and natural resources? An easy (and probably correct) argument is that the focus on poaching translates into simple, easily understood changes to existing, traditional and well-understood regulations. In other words, poaching
Some states have recently increased fines for poaching deer, but in reality such poaching has no impact on deer population Photos courtesy of USFWS viability.
Invasive species like these zebra mussels have a bigger impact at the population level than poaching does.
The threat of Asian carp establishing themselves in the Great Lakes is a very real concern. has an “easy button” that can be pushed to soothe public sentiment. Admittedly, there’s no harm done, except that the regulations changes aren’t much more than gestures connected, basically, to little or nothing. It’s been said before, but it’s
worth saying again: Rather than focusing time and energy on the easy but biologically irrelevant, it might be worthwhile to concentrate all of our energies on modern and growing threats. For example, there are diseases we know about and others likely on the way that could extirpate whole populations. As well, hunter numbers are declining inexorably and there is no “plan B” to provide the funding necessary to maintain
natural resources. Like it or not, the present abundance of wildlife and fish in states like Illinois is largely a function of intensive, dedicated, (and yes, expensive) management. More broadly, the evidence is clear that invasive species like bighead carp, various feral mammals, zebra and quagga mussels, lampreys, and a host of insect pests already are producing (or threaten to produce) devastating impacts. Finally, the conservation community needs to find new and progressive ways to work with essential industries like agriculture to resolve phosphorous run-off and algal blooms in the Great Lakes. The good news is that none of
these threats (and there are other) are unmanageable or impossible to solve. It’s just that they are difficult to understand, complicated in nature, and require sacrifice to resolve. The big question, then, is whether we (all of us, not just the agencies with statutory responsibilities) are up to the challenge. Are we really interested in protecting natural resources so that future generations thank us, or do we talk about science-based “stewardship” motives without real commitment? I know what I prefer to be true. What about you?
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
2016 Wood Duck Challenge For young people under the age of 18. 1. B uild at least one wood duck nesting box according to an approved plan. 2. Install the box, preferably on a pole with a cone guard as diagramed. Lip of cone should be at least three feet from ground. Trees are difficult to make predator-proof, but if you choose a tree, wrap a three foot strip of sheet metal below the box, four feet off the ground. Add another strip above the box if there is access from another tree. In time, gray squirrels are usually the first to beat the tree wraps. 3. H ave a photo taken with you holding the box, or a photo of you with the installed nesting box in the background, and send it to: Illinois Outdoor News Wood Duck Challenge 9850 51st Ave. N., Suite 130, Plymouth, MN 55442-3271 before May 15. You can also submit photos online at www.outdoornews.com/Wood-Duck-Challenge/ Hereâ€™s what you get: 1. Satisfaction for helping one of natureâ€™s beautiful creatures. 2. An iron-on 2016 Wood Duck Challenge patch and a Gander Mountain decal. 3. Illinois Ducks Unlimited Greenwing Membership, card, decal and magazine. 4. Your photo published in Illinois Outdoor News.
See instructions on Page 21
Illinois Ducks Unlimited www.ducks.org/illinois
For more information on Wood Ducks and to submit your photo go to www.outdoornews.com/Wood-Duck-Challenge/
March 18, 2016 ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS Page 21 • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS • WOOD DUCK INSTRUCTIONS •
For Constructing Your Wood Duck House Editor’s Note: The Wood Duck Society and the staff at this publication agree that mounting wood duck houses on trees creates an unnecessary predation hazard for the birds. Following the pole-mounting procedure should reduce wood duck predation by raccoons (and other predators) and produce more young wood ducks. he most common drawback of using wood to build duck houses is that when poorly constructed, they will last only a year or two before they literally weather apart at the seams. That is why Outdoor News recommends using cedar (rough side out), overlapping and sloping the roof, insetting the bottom, blunting or predrilling and setting all nails (Sheetrock screws also work well), as well as using thin “grip” or “anchor”-type cedar shake nails 21⁄2 inches long (except to attach cleat spacer to rear wall, where 11⁄2-inch nails are used).
Cleaning and accessibility Since annual cleaning and inspection are an important part of wood duck house projects, easy access is a must. Hinges add expense, and houses with roofs that open up for cleaning are not very strong. Plus, the nest material is a long, sometimes dangerous, reach from the top of the box to the bottom. The simple side wall access door pivoting on two nails permits convenient, safe side access and a much sturdier box. An added benefit of the side access door is how it simplifies
Rob Flood, of Wildwood, shot this 12-point buck Nov. 21 in Rusk County near Bruce. The rack had a 16-inch inside spread.
Material sources Nest Box: Cedar kits (Helmeke design – side door) Minnesota Waterfowl Association (MWA); 907 First St. N.; Hopkins, MN 55343. Phone: 952-7670320 or www.mnwaterfowl.com Poles: Eight-foot treated landscape timbers (ﬂat on two sides) from any lumber yard. Discarded steel sign posts sometimes are available free to conservation groups from highway departments. Sheet metal cone guard: Use tin snips, or furnish a heating contractor with a pattern. Commercially cut cones and support brackets available through Prairie Pothole Chapter of MWA; www.prairiepotholeday.com or by mail: P.O. Box 14; Willmar, MN 56201. Angled support brackets: Purchase 1-inch steel right-angle brackets and bend to 40 degrees, or purchase ready-made through Prairie Pothole Chapter at above address. If 4-by-4-inch square posts are used, brackets can be omitted by ordering MWI style cones. MWI cones have four “wings” that are bent up and attached to post. Questions? See www.prairiepotholeday.com post installation. Note: Placement of the cleaning/access door on the right side wall as you face the front of the house makes installation handy for a right-handed person.
Efficiency Traditional wooden duck house designs have wasted some wood and created a real “monster” when it comes to carrying and mounting the heavy beasts. Female woodies, goldeneyes, and hooded mergansers prefer this snug, 8-by-8-inch interior box dimension, and it can make the boxes much lighter and easier to carry and install.
Duck safety A 3- by 4-inch duck entrance hole and an 18-inch distance from the bottom of the duck entrance hole to the bottom of
the house (17-inch inside distance) are important dimensions to frustrate raccoons and help the hen or the nest survive an attack. Never add a perch to the front of the house. Ducks don’t need it, and raccoons use it for a better grip during an attack.
Installation Select a relatively open area to pole-mount duck boxes. Face the boxes toward an open “flight lane” where woodies are likely to fly by and see the entrance from a distance. Placing the boxes near or over water accomplishes this, as well as being close to where woodies are more likely to spend a lot of time. Don’t rule out posts not close to water. Early morning observation during the nesting season often will reveal pairs of woodies searching favorite areas for nest sites some dis-
tance from the closest water. Since raccoons are notorious shoreline predators, these more distant nest locations may be less bothered by raccoons. Also, don’t be concerned about placing your nest box close to your home or other human activity. Woodies and other cavity-nesting ducks are very tolerant of human comings and goings. Install your house via the relatively low pole-mount method described also in this issue.
Photo by Stan Tekiela
rough one side. 2. Sides/front/back/floor 1 inch by 10 inches (actual 3⁄4 by 91⁄4). 3. Roof —1-inch by 12 inch (actual 3⁄4- by 111⁄4 inches). 4. Rough surface goes out on completed house. One “side” will be smooth unless you make an even number of houses and alternate the direction of your cross cut.
Drawing details 1. Use a square to align rear “hinge nail” with front “hinge nail.” 2. Use a wood rasp to round out “finger groove.” 3. Drain holes are not recommend in this house design.
Safety tips 1. Everyone in the woodworking area should wear safety glasses. 2. Adults should closely supervise the use of all tools. Power saws should involve “hands on” adult supervision – if not actual completion by an adult.
Final considerations 1. Have you attached your 1⁄4inch mesh exit ladder? (A staple gun works great!) 2. Add 4 inches of cedar shavings as nest base material. For additional information, contact the Wood Duck Society at 651-429-8007, or www.wood ducksociety.com
Lumber 1. Use grade 3 cedar,
Stan Gawlinski, of Momence, arrowed this 10-point buck Nov. 14 near his home in Kankakee County. The rack had an 18-inch inside spread.
Brice McDannald, of Jacksonville, arrowed this 10-point buck Nov. 15 near Lynville in Morgan Gary Hamende, of Thompsonville, County. The rack had a 193⁄4-inch inside spread and arrowed this 8-point buck Nov. 9 near green-scored 184. his home.
Kristi Woodrow, of Enfield, arrowed this 10-point buck Nov. 12 near her home in Hamilton County. The rack had a 20-inch inside spread and green-scored 146.
Travis Reider, of Oblong, shot this 11-point buck while using a muzzleloader Dec. 11 in Crawford County near Robinson. The rack had a green score of 180.
Dennis L. Strohbeck, of Brighton, shot this 8-point buck Dec. 6 near his home in Macoupin County. The rack had a 161⁄2-inch inside spread.
PHOTO GUIDELINES We appreciate receiving your photos. At times the photo department gets swamped, and as a result there may be a considerable delay before you see your photo in the paper. Please be patient. We will do our best to print your photo as quickly as possible. TIPS FOR PUBLICATION: • Use the photo form found in the last few pages of the paper. • Send only one photo per envelope. • List all individuals in the photo in the order that they appear. • Include the who, what, where, when and how pertaining to the photo. Thank you!
Send your photos to Illinois Outdoor News P.O. Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286
Skyelar Zimmerly, of Amboy, arrowed this 10-point buck Oct. 17 in Lee County near West Brooklyn. The rack had an 18-inch inside spread.
Shawn Norman shot this 11-point, 225pound, 160-class buck in the southeastern part of Illinois on Nov. 21.
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
By Bob Zink Contributing Writer
atching pronghorns reach their almost blinding top speed is a thing of beauty. It seems like when I think they have reached top speed, they accelerate even more. One would assume this speed evolved for escaping predators, and this is probably true. Animals don’t become fast just because they can – there is a reason, somewhere in their history. We usually assume the reason for pronghorns’ speed exists in their current environment. Otherwise, why bother? There aren’t any predators in western North America today that are remotely as fast as the pronghorn. So, why so fast, Mr. Pronghorn? A recent paper by Pavel Dobrynin and (34) colleagues titled “Genomic legacy of the African cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus,” published in Genome Biology, provided a possible hint. But first, what did they do, and what is “genome biology?” I have reviewed many studies in which genetic infor-
Even when you think pronghorns have reached their top speed, they accelerate more. These types of speed likely are evolutionary legacies, Zink says. They may not need such speed now, but they likely did in the past. Photo by Bob Drieslein
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mation was used to answer interesting biological questions. After all, genes, which tell how and where to build parts of organisms and how to operate them, are in a sense the blueprints of heredity. All of these studies used information from a few genes. Yet there are many thousands of genes in most organisms (humans, by the way, don’t have the most genes. Instead it’s the water flea, Daphnia). The reason why more genes haven’t been studied was technology – it was too difficult or too expensive. Today, it is possible to economically gather information from thousands of genes. Genomics, then, is a somewhat loose terms that means “a whole lot of genes.” It doesn’t mean, yet, all of an organism’s genes, save for a few species with very small genomes. Being able to study more genes leads to improved understanding of the historical signatures or imprints left in genes. For example, if a species underwent a drastic reduction in population size
– say, because of a drought, or being forced into small habitat areas during glacial advances – then the population loses genetic variability. Each gene in a population is usually represented in several different forms, called alleles, and mostly they are able to do the same function. However, at some times, different alleles are much better at allowing a population to adapt to a new environment. Genetic variation is sort of like an insurance policy against a changing environment. Obviously, environments always change, and extinction is a rule of life, so having genetic variation doesn’t always make populations bulletproof, but it helps species survive as long as they do. Sorry, back to cheetahs and pronghorns. According to the authors, “Cheetahs have elongated legs, slim aerodynamic skulls and enlarged adrenal glands, liver and heart, plus semi-retractable claws that grip the earth like football cleats as they race after prey at more than 120 km/hour.” That’s more than 70 miles per hour. The cheetah is famous for its acceleration – from zero to 60 in three seconds. When running, its feet spend more time in the air than on the ground. Today, cheetahs range across eastern and southern Africa, and are widely declining. Early studies of a few genes showed that cheetahs had very little genetic variation, equivalent to that in highly inbred lines (inbreeding is bad). In their study of cheetah genomes, the same result was found, namely that cheetahs have lost at least 90 percent of the genetic variability (think, insurance) relative to other cats. However, in this genomic information was a signature. The long-term population of cheetahs looked like a straw with two major constrictions. One constriction was 100,000 years ago and coincided with the time when cheetahs “leaked” across the Bering Land Bridge and headed south through Asia, eventually reaching Africa (and not surviving in the intermediate areas). During this range shift, there were few cheetahs, and
(From Page 15)
consideration, too. Swimming is great because it limits the wear and tear on joints, while running on hard surfaces does not.” Keep in mind, too, that older dogs are more sensitive to extreme temperature changes as their metabolism changes. I had to stop hunting my Lab in hot and cold weather as he hit year 9. It took him several days, for example, to recover when making retrieves in late-season cold water – even when he was wearing a neoprene vest. Also, moderate exercise might be more beneficial than strenuous exercise, because when dogs get older, their heart and lung functions deteriorate. • Proper nutrition. Spanish said older dogs require proper nutrition as they get older, which may mean switching dog foods over a period of time. Feeding them nutritious food keeps them healthy, active, and happy.
genetic variability plummeted, likely a result of inbreeding. The second bottleneck occurred around 12,000 years ago, which was the same time as the North American extinction of the “megafauna,” which included many large mammals such as pumas, sabre cats, giant sloths, rhinos, mastodons, giant beavers, and cheetahs. To be clear, then, the genetic bottleneck probably occurred in African populations, and we do not know if the populations back in North America went through the same reduction in genetic variability, although it is possible. For whatever reason, cheetahs went extinct in North America along with lots of the other megafauna, or large mammals. So, the cheetah sort of grew up in North America. Of the species it likely preyed upon, the pronghorn remains and still shows adaptations to this long-gone predator. Now, when you think of the acceleration that a pronghorn can generate when frightened, and you watch a video of a cheetah accelerating on an African antelope like an impala, it comes together. The pronghorns’ speed and acceleration are likely evolutionary legacies. They might not need these attributes now, but they did in the past, and they can still use them. This story reminds us that the features we see in animals today might not be a result of living in the current environment. This makes our understanding less complete, but compels us to think about things animals do today that might not make all that much sense, and to ponder what things in their past might have formed odd behaviors. In another essay, I’ll venture into the growing idea of Pleistocene rewilding, or bringing back animals that disappeared from North America. It would give a new thrill to driving across the Western U.S., and to look out the truck window and see a cheetah hot on the tail of a pronghorn. It would also give people pause to think about letting their small dogs out at highway rest stops.
I switched to an all-natural dog food and my dog responded well to it. His energy level increased significantly. • Supplements and medication. Spanish recommends both. So, too, do I. When my Lab’s arthritis got worse, my vet recommended an anti-inflammatory medication and a joint supplement. In tandem, they worked wonders. In fact, he hunted nearly pain-free for two more hunting seasons. His mobility and mood greatly improved. His sleep improved, too. Overall, he was a much happier dog. • Schedule regular checkups. The overall health of senior dogs can change dramatically and quickly. Most vets recommend checkups every six months, perhaps even quarterly. Numerous conditions – from thyroid problems to diabetes to kidney ailments – can reveal themselves in a short time period. The good news is most diseases and health issues, if caught quickly, can be successfully treated.
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Snow goose recipe Pan-Seared Snow Goose Breasts 4 servings 4 boneless snow goose breast halves, skin removed 1 ⁄4 cup olive oil 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 1 ⁄2 teaspoon garlic salt 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (Tabasco) 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced 1 green bell pepper, coarsely chopped 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced 1 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped Salt and pepper to taste Slice goose breasts thinly across the “grain” of the meat. Combine half of the olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and hot pepper sauce in a glass bowl. Add sliced goose, cover and refrigerate for one to two hours. Heat remaining oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, peppers and garlic. Cook until onions are medium brown. Remove goose from marinade. Drain well and discard marinade. Add goose and stir-fry for one to two minutes or until just cooked, but not past medium-rare. Stir in tomato and season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional hot sauce. Serve over a bed of Cajun rice.
By Tori J. McCormick Contributing Writer
he press release, hot off the fax machine, instantly made me chuckle, and tapped into the mischievous part of my brain. This was (roughly) early March 1999, and I was the outdoors writer for the Aberdeen American News, a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. In a few weeks, the first flights of breeding-groundsbound snow geese would migrate through the James River Valley, a winged thoroughfare that still provides an awe-inspiring spectacle. But back in 1999, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had instituted its first spring “conservation order” regarding light geese, a population that exploded to historic levels, in part because of an increase in agriculture in their wintering grounds (more food) and the incredible wariness of mature birds. In short, snow geese were, and often are, very difficult birds to hunt. What’s more, many hunters, it was posited at the time, were reluctant to pursue a waterfowl species they didn’t care to eat. The season still exists today – it runs through March 31 in Illinois. Indeed, as table fare, snow geese often get less respect than the late Rodney Dangerfield. That fact wasn’t lost on many state wildlife agencies. The press release in 1999 was basically a plea to hunters to eat what they kill during the special spring season. The agency went to great lengths to try to debunk any notion that snow geese were little more than sky carp, or lutefisk with wings. That same week, I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column based on the press release. I chronicled my lone experience of eating snow geese and how the bird was like eating a catcher’s mitt. If you like eating leather, I wrote, you’ll love snow geese. The state agency folks didn’t get the joke, although the reading and waterfowling public seemed to take it as a challenge. In the days and weeks ahead, the good folks of the Aberdeen area dropped off several prepared dishes of
snow geese at the newspaper. Try this and tell me you don’t like snow geese, they said. Still other folks got my home address and delivered soups, stews, and other snow goose edibles. Others invited me over for dinner. It was hilarious. They were right. Snow geese are delicious, assuming they’re prepared well (do not overcook any waterfowl). The younger the bird, the better they taste, I would learn over the years. The spring conservation season continues this year. And there’s never been a better time to put a few snows and blues in your freezer. In the years since the conservation order began, I’ve prepared snow geese numerous ways. One of my favorite recipes uses the legs and thighs, which are the most delicious parts of the bird. The recipe calls for boiling a large pot of water and stirring in two packages of dry onion soup mix. Add 20 goose legs/ thighs, turn down the heat, and simmer for roughly two hours or until the meat is tender, although not fall-off-thebone tender. Once the meat is done, grill the legs/thighs and slather them in barbecue sauce.
As long as they’re prepared well, snow geese are great to eat. And there are many ways to Stock and Don Dittberner photos prepare them. Another quick-and-easy way to go. Snow geese are and teriyaki goose kebabs. recipe is snow goose fingers. fat birds that are buggers to I love grilled waterfowl. If Remove the tenderloin next pluck. you’re lost for recipes, do to the breast bone. Dust the a quick Google search and I’ve done it, and they’re strips in seasoned flour and you’ll find more than you can hard to beat that way. But fry them (rare or medium-rapossible use in several lifethe reality is you can’t pluck re) in oil or butter. Serve with every bird, and that requires times. your favorite dipping sauces, an alternate plan.” Snow geese are still disresuch as sweet chili, plum, or spected table fare, but they’re Some of my other favorite hot mustard. delicious and can be prepared recipes are snow goose chili My friend John Devney, numerous ways very well. of Delta Waterfowl, loves to hunt snow geese during the spring conservation order. “For me, it’s a time thing,” Devney said. “If you’re hunting with a few guys and you’re dealing with 60 geese at the end of the day, that’s pretty serious. You sometimes have to err on the side of efficiency.” When the day is nigh and you have enough birds to clean to feed a small city, Devney says he’s more inclined to “breast them out.” To expedite the cleaning process, he uses a Bird Hitch, an ingenious little invention made of stainless steel that breasts the birds while leaving on their wings and head for legal transport. It fits on any 2-inch receiver hitch. When he’s done cleaning his birds, he brings them to a meat market to have them processed “into something he can eat.” “I’ve had them made into sausage, meat sticks, and jerky,” he said. “When you’re Jon Kringer, of Pinckneyville, has killed his fair share of spring Photo provided geese. He shot this one in Perry County. dealing with volume, it’s the
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
N A T U R E NOTES Photo by Jack Sande
March is Syrup Time
arch is a transition month and often announces the beginning of spring, even here in the frozen north. Many of our backyard birds are singing their spring mating and territorial songs. Some early migrants such as bluebirds and horned larks already are arriving. Male goldfinches have molted their drab gray feathers for a new coat of bright yellow feathers. Don’t forget to clean out your wood duck boxes or put up new ones!
WINTER SIGN: Even though spring is on its way, Blaine Wollin found this “sign of how harsh winter can be” in his woods.
SNOW PERCH: No songbirds visited Jean Henn’s feeders while this barred owl perched there during a storm.
BirAdNDsBees Photo by Dan Fenlon
DASH BIRD: Chris Podgorski had the window of his highway department truck open and this tiny bird – a golden-crowned kinglet – flew in and came along for the ride for a bit.
It’s also maple syrup time. This uniquely American product has a long history dating back to early indigenous people. No one knows for sure how, when, or where maple-syruping started, but there are a number of native legends surrounding the origins of maple syrup. One of the most popular of these stories is about using the sap from a maple tree to boil venison.
Sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) are the preferred tree to tap for its watery sap, but others also yield high-quality sap that one can boil to make syrup. At my nature center, we tap silver maples (Acer saccharinum) as well as box elders (Acer negundo). Sap from trees is a clear liquid consisting of 98 percent water and only 2 percent sucrose. So when a tree is tapped, you need to collect about 40 gallons of sap to boil down to just 1 gallon of syrup. With some trees, the percentage of sugar is even less, and you need to collect 50 or 60 gallons to make one gallon of syrup.
Why does the sap run at this time of year? People can only collect sap from maple trees in northern climates. Typically during March, we have nighttime temperatures that are below freezing and daytime temperatures above freezing. This freeze-andthaw cycle produces the sap “flow” that allows us to collect it. Regions of the U.S. without freezing winters can’t tap their trees. This combination of freezing and thawing is critical. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we get no sap. For example, we have had many years where we went right from winter into spring with warm weather, and the trees produced no sap for us.
Q. We live in eastern Wisconsin and had a bird under our feeders this winter that we’d never seen before. Can you identify it? A. That’s a varied thrush, a bird that makes its home on the West Coast all the way up to Alaska, but every winter there seem to be a few in our region. They subsist on dried berries and crabapples during our winters.
Q. How do bees stay alive in their hives in the winter?
BIG BUMP: Wood turners seek out rot-free oak burls, like this one discovered by Gary Kraszewski during a hike. Such growths are caused by injury, a virus, or fungus.
WHOO’S THAT?: Few of us ever get to see long-eared owls since they hide so well in conifers during the day, so Don Severson felt lucky to spot this one.
A. Thanks to beekeeper Clay Ottoni for this fascinating information: “Honey bees congregate in a cluster in the hive to help keep warm. They can generate heat by shivering their flight muscles, first decoupling them from their wings, then contracting the muscles against each other. We’ve recently learned that one of the many jobs of a hive bee is as a ‘heater bee,’ either vibrating their abdomens or their decoupled flight muscles. They can heat their bodies up to about 111 degrees F, about 16 degrees hotter than normal body temperature.” Q. What’s the best kind of milkweed to plant for monarch butterflies, and where can I get seeds?
A. We should all be planting milkweed plants or seeds, so female monarchs have places to lay their eggs. Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), butterfly weed (A. tuberosa), and swamp milkweed (A. incarnata) are all good choices. You can either harvest seed in the fall from these plants or buy them at a native plant nursery (check online).
WHITE-OUT: Kevin Rosenbaum was pheasant hunting in South Dakota when he encountered this snowy owl.
Q. What kind of birdhouse should I get for my cardinals? GIANT FUNGUS: Don Christer was pheasant hunting when he came upon this large fungus that’s not in my field guide to mushrooms. Readers, your thoughts on its identification are welcome here.
A. Cardinals won’t use a birdhouse of any kind; they always build their nests in the great outdoors, hidden in a shrub or tree. Birds that do appreciate humanmade houses include chickadees, bluebirds, wrens, and tree swallows. Q. I simply can’t believe that a bird as small as a hummingbird can fly across the Gulf of Mexico.
A. Hummingbirds pack on the fat, then head out over the Gulf in February, flying nonstop for 18 or more hours to make landfall in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, or Florida. It’s almost inconceivable that tiny birds weighing 1/10th of an ounce can accomplish this feat, but they do.
A tree needs to be at least 30 and 40 years of age to be large enough for tapping. One tree can produce between nine and 15 gallons of sap in a good season. Many people tap between five and 100 trees. Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup. The state of Vermont is the largest U.S. producer. If you get a chance, visit your local nature center or sugar bush and learn more about this uniquely American tradition and product.
ter times too early) from win • Wood ducks return (some homes in the South. for g their white winter coats • Weasels are exchangin brown fur. claiming wetland territories. • Red-winged blackbirds are erge from hibernation. • Wood turtles begin to em ing to attract females. • Ruffed grouse are drumm
Your photos are welcome. l images to Send prints to address below and digita Val Cunningham’s email address.
CONTACT INFORMATION: DRUM ROLL: This ruffed grouse was so intent on drumming to attract a female that he ignored Steve Ribustello’s camera.
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March 18, 2016
ATA & SHOT (From Page 18)
Leupold’s Vendetta 2 has been improved with a new software package, an improved mounting system, and the ability to use it on a crossbow. Squeezing the pressure pad switch attached to the bow’s grip, hunters can instantly range a target from full draw, eliminating unnecessary motion and maintaining stealth. Leupold’s built-in True Ballistic Range calculator automatically compensates for the shot angle, delivering the correct incline-adjusted range instantly. leupold.com
Browning’s rugged three-layer soft shell fabric tackles tough country yet is quiet enough for serious bowhunters. The jacket includes the Harness Access System, and the pants feature improved fit for increased comfort. Both the jacket and pants also feature revolutionary Advanced Scent Control to get hunters closer to game than ever before. The midweight shell fabric is windproof, highly water-resistant and breathable. Inside, the soft fleece lining features revolutionary ADDvanced Scent Control to significantly reduce human scent. Browning.com
The new Mark XIX Desert Eagle distressed white finish has a “cool factor” that most guns don’t. The new Cerakote finish consists of a multi-step process that involves a high-temperature ceramic coating that has been extensively tested for durability. It comes in two calibers: .50 AE and .44 Magnum. The .50 AE is a gas-operated, semi-automatic pistol with a seven-round capacity while the .44 Magnum has an eight-round capacity. Both guns measure 10.75 inches in length with a six-inch barrel. Magnumresearch.com
Sure-Shot Game Calls
The reintroduced Classic Triple Reed Duck Call is like the original created by Jim “Cowboy” Fernandez back in the 1950s. Borrowing from Fernandez’s quest for perfection and the best tonal qualities found in nature, Sure-Shot has designed the new Model No. 700 using the same exacting specifications developed in the earlier design. Sureshotgamecalls.com
captures five-megapixel stills and 30-second videos inside a generous 50-foot flash range, ideal for monitoring scrapes, mineral sites or other localized spots where long-range images are neither desired nor required. Accepting up to a 32 GB SDHC card (not included), the workman like Terra 5 IR is highly energy efficient, providing longterm service and performance on just eight AA batteries (not included). wildgameinnovations.com
Essentially, the Ameristep Arcane Blind is kind of like one big ghillie suit – but one you can sit inside it. The Arcane sports three front walls constructed of see-through HD mesh covered with Ameristep’s proprietary Edge-ReLeaf three-dimensional camouflage. The result is the ultimate in concealment, visibility and breathability. The same leafy goodness covers the solid fabric roof as well. The back wall consists of solid camouflage fabric with a black Shadow Guard inner liner that does an amazing job of erasing silhouettes. ameristep.com
Hunter Safety System
Unlike traditional bows, crossbows have issues related to cocking while hunting from an elevated position, so HSS designed a harness to solve that, and more. When the crossbow is cocked, the treestand safety harnesses’ tether strap tends to fall in front of the hunter, which not only is frustrating but also can tangle with the crossbow and knock off or damage the scope. To eliminate this problem, HSS has added a Tether Stow Strap that will safely secure the tether when cocking the bow. A deep zippered pocket is specifically designed to accommodate the cocking rope. hssvest.com
The Nomad Tumbler was added to Siberian’s growing line-up of affordable, high-performance cooler products for the outdoorsmen, traveler or tailgater. The Nomad Tumbler has the ability to keep your beverage cold for up to 30 hours or piping hot for up to six hours. It is double insulated. siberiancoolers.com
The new 2016 Carbon Nitro
RDX Crossbow Package is a perfectly balanced precision hunting machine and features its ultra-light carbon fiber barrel and an innovative adjustable C3 carbon stock. Its RDX bow assembly measures a remarkable 10 inches axle-to-axle. Projects bolts up to 385 per second. tenpointcrossbows.com
Scent Reflex are synthetic lures and attractants that some consider the future of the industry. They are available in five of Wildlife Research Center’s most popular formulations; Estrus Gold, Hot-Scrape, Ultimate Buck Lure, Buck-Nip and Synthetic Estrus. wildlife.com
The X-Force Advantex has robust new features to help shooters gain confidence quickly and be hunt-ready as quickly as possible. With a lighter and better balanced overall feel, the Advantex features a narrower front end for increased maneuverability, a split-limb design to improve performance, a new rifle-like stock for accuracy-inducing comfort and fit, and adjustable foregrip placement for increased shooter comfort. The new precision trigger mechanism provides an amazingly crisp trigger pull for increased shootability, and it features anti dry-fire technology. And keeping all types of crossbow hunters and shooters in mind, engineers designed the Advantex to include single-point and traditional sling mounts. Carbonexpressarrows.com
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
users with bright, crisp images and an extended field-of-view, giving everything a person needs in a hunting binocular. They are available in four variations – 8x42, 10x42, 10x56 and 15x56, and feature Fast-CloseFocus to minimize the rotation on the focusing wheel for sharper images at various distances. Steiner has also implemented its ever-popular ergonomic eyecups to reduce eye fatigue created by peripheral light, wind and dust. Steiner-optics.com
The new MXB-Sniper Lite is an incredibly easy to cock crossbow that weighs in under six pounds and is designed for unparalleled balance and accuracy. Featuring the new SyncCam and Smart Guide Cable Slide, the MXB-Sniper Lite offers an ultra-smooth draw cycle for easy cocking and precision cam synchronization that self-centers at full draw.
This innovative design results in a user-friendly system that produces consistent nock splitting accuracy. The Smart Guide Cable Slide alleviates down pressure on the cable and the cams, which means less torque. missionarchery.com
The Micro just got magnum power. Built on the popular Micro 335 platform, the new Micro 355 packs incredible performance into an ultra-compact design. The Micro 355 features the stylish and comfortable Feather-Lite Skeletonized stock complete with rubber grip inserts for unmatched control and feel. It also comes equipped with an ambidextrous cheekpiece, oversized finger guards, and the Guardian Anti-Dry-Fire System for the ultimate in safety and protection. The Micro’s compact size and high speeds make it the perfect crossbow for situations where space is tight. Excaliburcrossbow.com
BEST BUCK ENTRY. Brian Andersen, of Odell, shot this 8-point buck Dec. 6 near Dwight in Livingston County. The rack had an 18 1⁄ 2-inch inside spread.
The G45NG Pro is 10 percent smaller than the original G series and features a dull matte finish camouflage pattern providing no unwanted reflections. New for 2016 is an adjustable PIR range that can be customized to capture targets at specified distances day or night. Now your G Pro series can trigger out to 100 feet to match your camera’s night-time illumination capabilities. Another new feature is security mode (DVR mode), which incorporates re-write technology on your SD card. If your SD card were to fail, you have the choice to choose whether or not it will re-write over the oldest pictures or videos on the card. stealthcam.com
The HX Series offers a new optical design that provides
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The new Monster Buck Product Line is all about attracting big bucks. It’s powered with Formula FX500, a special blend of the top key natural food sources for whitetails in North America. Monster Buck attracts deer from greater distances and keeps them coming back. Infused with persimmon, this super-strong, long-distance deer attractant, comes in three different applications for various times of the year. cmeredeer.com
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ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
By Steve Quinn Contributing Writer
very angler group has its widely held fallacies, perhaps none more than bass anglers. That’s perhaps surprising, given the volume of research directed at largemouth bass. Moreover, superbly skilled professional anglers often offer commentary on fishing and fishery management topics. Yet, despite their talents and big winnings, many pro anglers are as guilty as anyone else of clinging to myths. Whether you are a “sometimes” angler who goes to the lake a few times each summer to land a big bass or a pro who dedicates his life to it, you’ve likely heard a lot of advice – some good, some bad and some just plain silly. Here’s a selection of firmly held beliefs that just ain’t so.
Myth: big baits, big bass
This myth isn’t a fallacy. You can increase the average size of bass caught by using larger lures. But there’s far more to
that relationship. Largemouth bass are a most appropriately named fish. Endowed with a capacious maw, they eat anything they can catch and engulf – bats, rats, snakes, turtles, clams, birds, and amphibians, plus all sorts of invertebrates and fish. Scientists have calculated the sizes of prey that bass consume. For narrow-bodied, soft-finned prey like shad or trout, bass may eat items up to half their own length. Wide-bodied, finny prey are selected at smaller sizes. Researchers at the University
consumption exceeds that of summer. Crayfish are rather poor food, however, from the standpoint of nutrition. They require substantial handling time, both to subdue the clawed critter and to extract the edible portion from its chitinous shell, which amounts to about a third of its total mass. Low fat content and caloric value also make craws less nutritious than most fish. But they’re easy to find and catch, particularly in spring when weed growth is thin. In summer, craws find shelter in dense weed beds that shield them from bass predation of Arizona, curious about bass found choking on other fish, conducted experiments to test bass choices. Adult bass were offered green sunfish, redear sunfish, and tilapia with body depths around and beyond the maximum size vulnerable to attack, according to calculations. Bass pursued and attacked prey larger than predicted, often choking on them. This result helps explain why at times miniature bass attack topwaters, worms, and floating minnowbaits almost their own length. At the other extreme, adult bass eat items as small as nearly microscopic water fleas (Daphnia), even subsisting on them for months when larger prey are scarce.
Myth: catching nesting bass is like picking cherries
The pursuit of largemouth bass like this one has led to a neverPhotos by Bill Key ending assortment of fish myths and legends.
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Some anglers look down on sight-fishing for bedding bass as unsporting and unethical, in that it takes advantage of bass at their most vulnerable moments. Catching a bedding bass can be easy, or it can be so difficult or nearly impossible. I hear bass pros rue the fact that they spent several hours trying to tempt a bedding lunker to bite, in the end failing and returning to weigh-in without a limit. Sight-fishing is an art, and skilled anglers can read the behavior of a particular bass and determine the likelihood of its capture. It takes years of practice, plus powers of observation, patience, and gamesmanship to do it well. So, when
it comes to sight-fishing, if you don’t like it, then don’t do it.
Myth: planting brushpiles increases bass populations In most cases, brush and other attractors concentrate bass but do little to enhance reproduction, lakewide biomass, or growth. As a result, some fishery managers are reluctant to encourage their use, feeling that bass exploitation may rise if catch-and-release rates are low. Attractors can improve habitat by increasing the surface area available for invertebrates that feed small fish, but effects are local, not populationwide.
Myth: big bass live deep Big bass live where living conditions and prey availability support their bulk. That can be shallow, deep, or in between, depending on available habitat and prey type. In northern lakes, many of the biggest bass of summer are caught underneath boat docks in a couple of feet of water, or within lily-pad beds of similar depth. Tracking studies have shown that some big bass hold on deep structure during the day but move into the 10-foot zone to feed after dark. In deep, clear lakes, lunkers may hold in open water, but they’re often suspended at levels where baitfish are most available.
Myth: bass seek crayfish in spring for nutrition benefits Crayfish are a favorite bass food wherever they’re found, and in some cases spring
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Myth: bass strike red hooks thinking it’s blood Manufacturers have rushed to capitalize on the latest craze by offering lures with red hooks, red sinkers and blades, red line, even red reel spools. I’ve heard pros state in seminars that red hooks or a red highlight can attract extra bites by simulating the blood of a baitfish, gills, or perhaps a crawfish. Studies of bass vision indicate they detect red easily and can discriminate among shades. No research shows, however, any instinctive attraction to it. While anglers might reason that blood is red, bleeding baitfish are vulnerable to attack, so fish should attack objects with red markings; bass don’t think like that. They lack the neurological processes to come to any conclusion. Bass are capable of quickly learning to bite what brings a reward, ignore what brings no benefit, and avoid dangerous stimuli. But the idea that bass can associate reddish markings on baitfish with red on artificial lures is far-fetched, according to what we know about bass.
Myth: a bass is a bass …
While most knowledgeable anglers recognize the differences in behavior, habitat, and prey choice between largemouth and smallmouth bass, many accept the adage that largemouths behave similarly everywhere you find them. This phrase may boost an angler’s confidence when fishing a new body of water but is biologically groundless. The largemouth is generally considered a single species divided into two subspecies, Florida and northern largemouth. But further genetic studies show variation in the DNA of fish even from nearby watersheds within the same state. And differences in diet, water color, and cover type also make bass from different lakes behave differently. In some, topwater lures work all summer while they zero in other lakes. Night-fishing is fine some places and a waste of time elsewhere. Lure color preferences can be pronounced as well, and feeding and spawning behavior can also vary. Local experts and guides are tuned to bass behavior and can teach visitors their tricks. For this reason, tournament anglers often hire a guide or consult renowned locals when researching for a tournament.
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
By Bob “Greenie” Grewell Contributing Writer
If a gobbler has no breeding intentions, he might become a ghost. But, when mating hens are in the mood, just about any audible can ring their bell. If ever I’ve faced an uncooperative gobbler, this was one. The wind was gusting and I didn’t hear a gobble. But you can’t tag a bird unless you’re in their habitat. I walked, stopped, and listened for almost 10 minutes before I heard a faint gobble. I guessed his direction from where I thought I heard gobbles. Suddenly he appeared to be in a deep hollow, but didn’t gobble with intensity. I moved to the top of a partially wooded ridgeline and sat down. I waited for several minutes before he gobbled with certainty. I hen yelped between wind gusts, and he answered back. Within seconds, the tom was closer. Then, nothing. I ceased calling after I heard him walking in the leaves behind me, spitting and drumming. He circled my backside. I didn’t move or call because I was facing an open pasture and couldn’t turn for a shot without him seeing my move-
ment. The gobbler passed to my right, gobbling one more time. Then, silence. It became a game of patience. I was certain he was going to circle and come out in front of me. Then I saw him, visible at the edge of a greenbrier tangle. He studied the open field for several minutes. The show began. He strutted back and forth along the edge of the open field. His gobbling picked up frequency as he tried to get me to make a move. I cutt and yelped. The gobbler responded with “come-to-me” gobbles. I stopped calling. When his patience wore thin, he strutted toward me. After he committed, he strutted within 15 yards. I putted. When he stood up like an ostrich, I shot this goofy gobbler. Fortunately, he was by himself. If he had been with another tom, it’s not always that easy. What a tremendous turkey hunting morning! Sixty-two degrees, no wind, the sun glowing across the eastern horizon. Gobblers were yelling aggressively. I was already
Putt…putt…putt! There were two gobblers and the other tom was standing behind me. I’ve learned that no matter how obvious any turkey encounter, always be aware of your surroundings. Both birds ran off putting. This time, two birds beat me! During this hunt, I stood at the edge of a dense woods before daybreak. No turkey vocals. I waited for 15 minutes. Nothing! Just as I was leaving to head back to my truck, a tom gobbled. He gobbled late. Fortunately, he picked up intensity and gobbled with intensity. I made my move, sliding down a steep slope into a grassy ravine. I walked until I guessed I was 80 yards from his gobbling. I found a cluster of trees and planted myself. He gobbled for several minutes. Then, silence. Patiently, I waited until the tom was vocal again. When he gobbled, he was closer, on my left. I waited. Then, I heard a jake, with his weak gobbles. The two birds appeared to be together, with no hens. So, I clucked. They both gobbled. Tucked in between two trees, the jake appeared first. It was an easy shot. But, mature toms are notorious for letting jakes check out potential hens. The jake was hot, gobbling as young toms do, circling me, looking everywhere. I didn’t call and let the young tom walk past before I shot the mature tom. Wild turkeys are predictable and stupid, right? I doubt this! Many hunting experiences will make you wilt like a dried oak tree leaf because gobblers teach hunters that every encounter is survival of the craftiest.
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ave you ever experienced how “goofy” gobblers can be during their spring mating activities? We know they can be wary and habitat-astute. But, they can also become very unpredictable when mating overrides their normal survival instincts. Therefore, dealing with individual gobbler responses is challenging. Such as: What if a jake approaches first, or a tom rushes in, then backs off and there’s an hour standoff? This is why turkey hunting is so exciting. Predictability is not the norm. There’s no doubt spring gobblers don’t play fair. They can take more turns than a merry-go-round. Their actions often cause hunters to ask themselves, “If only I could do it again, I wouldn’t make the same mistakes.” But, if hunting spring gobblers were easy, hunters could slay a bird every time. Certainly, hunting wild toms can be frustrating. But, that’s what makes hunting gobblers so addictive. If we shot every gobbler we hunted, turkey hunting might lose its zest. I’m reminded of a time when I was hiding along a hardwoods hillside hoping for a gobbler to approach my calling. Although a gobbler didn’t appear until late morning, after he did, he cruised across the top of an open ridge, gobbling like a fool. He was “hot!” I was certain I could coax him in for a clean shot. But, this gobbler proved my confidence was premature. Confidence told me I had him because I was tucked into a weathered downfall of a massive oak tree. I was positive resident turkeys were familiar with its appearance. When a strutting, gobbling, pacing tom finally seemed interested, I turned my back to him because I was sure he would approach, walking downhill. He was working a ridge top 80 yards above me. After his last gobbles, he yelped several times on my left side. As he was descending the leafy hillside, he yelped with arrogance, working his way down the hill on my left. I just knew I had him because I expected the tom to step into view at 15 yards. My shotgun was on my knee. I was wrong! This tom insulted me. He left me in the woods by myself. I noticed a familiar shape after three subtle clucks – the gobbler was standing on my right side. I couldn’t move because he was looking directly at me. He had me! I watched him walk over the hillside, “putting” as he glanced back toward me. This rogue gobbler beat me. But, I didn’t feel like a failure. I had to let him go because my shot might have wounded him. It was a lesson I’ll always remember. Never underestimate a gobbler’s approach. Turkeys don’t always win, however.
sitting at my favorite spot on a hilltop beside an open meadow. It was a “hunter’s utopia.” During several minutes of the morning, turkeys provided me with every vocal they normally create. Although the gobblers I heard were not close, I was certain there had to be toms on the move. I was right! Within minutes, I heard spine-tingling gobbles below me, to my right. I didn’t call, waiting to see if he was with hens. He moved circular, gobbling aggressively. I was overly confident he was in the bag. Suddenly, it sounded as if there were two gobblers. A jake and mature tom approached me. I’ve wondered why older toms hang out with jakes? Warrior gobblers learn to elude hunters and use various tricks. Some biologists believe it’s because an immature tom (jake) makes a mature tom look superior. Possibly a mature tom uses a jake as a pawn to help him avoid predators and human hunters? In any case, I was right! I noticed movement as one tom strutted in from my right. Shotgun in position. I purred, then clucked and he triple-gobbled! I carefully lowered my cheek to the receiver of my 12 gauge and waited for him to appear. He was far enough away that I moved my left hand to reach for another diaphragm call. I screwed up!
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Fishing & Hunting Report
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
Crappie bite appears to be heating up as spring nears The fishing and hunting report is compiled using reports from conservation officers, hunting guides and fishing guides.
Report from the Dock
ng and fishing news A helpful summary of hunti
2 at 50 fishing season opens on April The 2016 Illinois spring trout nwhile, the Mea . state the out ugh thro ponds, lakes and streams g-only season will be available spring catch-and-release, fly-fishin Fly-fishing anglers can use 19. ch Mar on g nnin begi at nine sites t at the nine sites, but no trou se relea and h catc fly-fishing gear to ly period. g-on ishin fly-f trout may be kept during the t each year in bodies trou ow rainb 00 80,0 DNR stocks more than ng the spring season. duri itted perm of water where trout fishing is sites until the season ked of the stoc No trout may be taken from any take (harvest) trout to pting attem one Any 2. l Apri opens at 5 a.m. on ed citations. issu be will ing open on before the legal harvest seas g fly-fishing gear who intend to All anglers – including those usin t have a fishing license and an mus – 2 l release fish caught before Apri disabled, er are und the age of 16, blind or es. Inland Trout Stamp, unless they Forc ed Arm the in e from active duty or are an Illinois resident on leav t. er is five trou The daily catch limit for each angl use is funded entirely by those who ram prog t trou e habl The Illinois catc ps. Stam t Trou d Inlan of sale the program through the
Lake Michigan: The lakefront has been showing some great signs of life for the shore fishing guys. The powerliners are doing well on both coho and brown trout. The preferred baits have been nightcrawlers as well as medium roaches. Fish are also hitting spoons and body baits. Baits such as deep diving x-raps in white or Berkley frenzy’s. The weather has not been very conducive to getting out on the lake, but there can be some great action if the winds lay down. The browns and cohos are starting to get active on the lakefront from the boats. Fish the warm-water discharges with jigs and twisters tipped with a piece of squid or crankbaits like a J-9 in chart/white or orange/gold. Trolling small orange dodger and peanut flies log lining body baits like a Rapala Tail dancer has also been working well for the cohos in these areas. Look for areas of warmer water with cold water near. Work the breaks of where the cold and warmer water meet. Do the same with any dirty water you find. The dirty water will be warmer than the surrounding cleaner water, and the fish will be using the dirtier water as an ambush point. Check the weather and recent conditions prior to heading out. There have been some good reports of perch limits being caught in the river by shore and by boat. The 95th Street launch is where most people have been launching and finding these golden delights. Perch are biting at Navy Pier. It is some work, but it can pay off with some jumbo perch. Reports have shown that a lot of smaller ones are being caught and getting limits of larger fish require a lot of sorting. Live minnows and cooked shrimp on drop shot rigs as
well as ice fishing jigs tipped with spikes have been producing. Also Kastmasters or other jigging spoons will do well and may take the occasional trout. Remember that the discounted parking for fishermen is only until 10 a.m. Perch are being caught in the canal from the 95th Street bridge. Fish are being caught around the barges on minnows and softshells on jigs or crappie rigs. Chain: The lakes are clear, but the fishing is starting to pick up. The bass are starting to get into their pre-spawn patterns and can be caught casting rattle baits and lipless cranks on the break lines and near the newly forming weeds. If you get into the back bays and channels, you will find some good panfish action. The fish are holding tight to any wood or steel structure as this warms up first in the sun. Small jigs
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Southern Zone 18: 6:40 am/ 7:21 pm 19: 6:38 am/ 7:22 pm 20: 6:37 am/ 7:22 pm 21: 6:35 am/ 7:23 pm 22: 6:34 am/ 7:24 pm 23: 6:32 am/ 7:25 pm 24: 6:31 am/ 7:26 pm 25: 6:29 am/7:27 pm 26: 6:28 am/ 7:28 pm 27: 6:26 am/ 7:29 pm 28: 6:25 am/ 7:30 pm 29: 6:24 am/ 7:31 pm 30: 6:22 am/ 7:32 pm 31: 6:21 am/ 7:32 pm Northern Zone 18: 6:31 am/ 7:19 pm 19: 6:30 am/ 7:20 pm 20: 6:28 am/ 7:21 pm 21: 6:26 am/ 7:22 pm 22: 6:24 am/ 7:23 pm 23: 6:23 am/ 7:24 pm 24: 6:21 am/ 7:25 pm 25: 6:19 am/7:26 pm 26: 6:18 am/ 7:27 pm 27: 6:16 am/ 7:29 pm 28: 6:15 am/ 7:30 pm 29: 6:13 am/ 7:31 pm 30: 6:11 am/ 7:32 pm 31: 6:10 am/ 7:33 pm
Vektor Charts ™
Each daily graph starts with midnight on the left. The Vector Fish & Game Activity Tables are computer-generated timetables indicating when fish, game and other species will tend to be in daily feeding and migration patterns. The tables, which indicate peak times, are based on the combined positions of the sun and the moon. Major periods can run from an hour before to an hour after the peak time; minor periods peak a half-hour either way.
under a float or a plain hook with a small hunk of nightcrawler have done well. The channels are open and fishable. The walleyes are really starting to turn on around the channels and the bridges. Bouncing jig-and-minnow combinations around the pilings has been putting some nice fish in the boats. Braidwood: This cooling lake offers anglers an opportunity to get out in the early spring when most other lakes are too cold and not producing fish. The lake is open, and shore fishermen are seeing quite a few catfish and bluegills. Fish are being caught on ice jigs under a float or on bottom rigs tipped with crawlers or other cut bait. The largemouths can be caught fishing the secondary drop-offs with large profile bait like a jig and pig or by fishing the shallower areas bouncing a crankbait or spoonplug off the rocks and the bottom. Spinnerbaits have also been doing well for the bass guys, but hang on as one of those giant catfish have a tendency to latch on and give you a great battle. Always keep an eye on the flags at the launch, as they will give you an indication if it is safe to be on the water and when you should take caution. Green is good, yellow is caution, and red is dangerous. LaSalle: The lake is now open with reduced hours, but the fishing remains hot since the opening day. There are some good reports of big hybrids and blue cast caught by fishermen trolling shad raps and spoonplugs. The shore fishermen are doing well on livers fished on the bottom. There have been
some good reports of bass being caught casting the rip rap with a weightless stick-style worm. The fish are holding at the transition between the mud bottom and the rock walls.
South Devils’ Kitchen: Fishing to be slow, but bass are picking up on spinners and crankbaits in evening hours. Crab Orchard Lake: Anglers are reporting that crappies are being found at depths ranging from about 6 to 10 feet. Most are in heavy cover near points. The best baits have been minnows and jigs. Bright colors seem to be working the best. Bluegills are being caught near rip-rap and around weed beds on the typical bluegill baits. Bass fishing has been slow. Baldwin Lake: Largemouth bass have slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish fishing has been fair. Carlyle Lake: Crappies and catfish best. Catfish taking cut shad and shad guts off rocks by Keysport. Crappie biting on minnows, jigs, tube jigs by
Hazlet State Park. Sauger hit and miss, if they can be found. White bass are said to be hungry for jigs. Bluegill fishing is fair on worms. Pinckneyville Lake: Largemouth bass have slowed. Bluegills are biting on worms in 6 to 8 feet of water. Crappie and catfish fishing has been fair. Kinkaid Lake: Crappies good in shallow coves near in flowing water. Muskie, bass and catfish also good in same areas. A couple of nice muskies landed in recent weeks, but the biting is tough. Some channel cats caught deep near Johnson Creek. Lake of Egypt: Crappie action is slow but getting better. Bluegills have been slow. Bass action is expected to pick up as water temperatures rise. A few catfish being caught on worms. Little Grassy: Crappies have been biting on minnows, mostly in cover in about 15 to 20 feet of water. Bass action has improved but remains slow. Plastic worms have worked best. Bluegills are running small and biting on late-season grasshoppers and worms. Mermet Lake: Fishing has been slow
CPOs Semenik and Hurt CPOs Todd Semenik and Jason Hurt conducted a spotlight/illegal road hunting detail utilizing the DNR deer decoy. The detail was conducted in McHenry County during the late evening hours in December. During the detail, a truck stopped in the roadway, backed up, and illuminated the decoy. The driver then shot the decoy while still seated inside the truck. After attempting to elude the CPOs, the vehicle was eventually stopped. Inside the vehicle, CPOs found three subjects and two loaded uncased shotguns. The driver faces charges of shooting from the roadway, unlawful use of a vehicle/ lights, carrying of a loaded uncased firearm, DUI-drugs, and two counts of felony fleeing and eluding. A passenger in the vehicle was also charged with carrying a loaded uncased firearm and illegal consumption of alcohol.
Research team using roadkill to access bald eagles By Bob Groene Contributing Writer Springfield — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is using 21st Century technology to learn more about the bald eagle and its flights up and down the state’s
Mike Lanzone, CEO of Cell Track Tech, the company that designed and manufactured the solar-powered eagle tracking device, shown on the back of this big mature female bald eagle, is about to release the bird after capture and scientific testing along the Photo by Bob Groene Mississippi River.
river systems. “Using roadkill deer for bait and net launchers for traps, I’m part of a group of five teams working to capture about 40 bald eagles along the Mississippi River for tests,” Drew Becker, a fish and wildlife biologist with the Rock Island field office of the USFWS, explained. “When an eagle comes to dine on the roadkill, we activate the launch net, and upon capture, we attach a small solar powered radio telemetry unit to the back of the eagle that, using cellphone towers across North America, will track everywhere that eagle goes.” The devices do not harm or impede movement of an eagle and sends out signals telling researchers where the eagle is, its elevation and speed, and how long it stays anywhere. “This will help us learn more of both the where, what and why and eagle does,” Becker added. “With that information we can be more effective in their management.” There are five teams in the group working on eagle capture around the Quad Cities area of the Mississippi – three are on land using launch nets and two are in boats using dead floating fish as bait-decoys to capture eagles. Upon capture,, the biologists weigh and take DNA and feather samples of each eagle, and measure its feathers, beak and talons. They then release the eagles back into a safe environment.
March 18, 2016
on all fronts, though crappie action has improved in recent weeks. Crappies are being caught on jigs. Bass fishing has been slow. Rend Lake: Crappie fishing has been good on minnows in rip rap along Route 154, pillars around bridges and creeks near main channels. Channel catfish fair on stinkbait and cut shad. The best fishing is reported to be near the main dam breakwater, areas near North and South Marcum, Jackie Branch, and Gun Creek. Bass fishing has been slow. The bluegill bite has been slow.
Central Lake Taylorville: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Water conditions are murky. Newton Lake: Bass good, but flooding has changed situation. Water clarity
very murky. Some white bass were also reported prior to the rains. Crappies a big question mark after a poor fall and few reports this spring so far. Spring Lake: Bass slow. Crappie biting on tube jigs at the south end bays. Channel cats also biting on shad at the big turn on the south end. Lake Bloomington: Bluegills are biting on worms, but are slow and small. Crappies are being caught on minnows in 12 to 14 feet. Lake Decatur: Fishing has been slow as water clarity has been poor. Crappies are being caught on minnows. Bluegill fishing has been slow, and a few being caught on worms. Catfish have been very slow on worms and stinkbaits. Lake Shelbyville: Fishing below the spillway has been slow. Conditions better late in day for muskies and walleyes. On main lake, fishing has
been slow, but some crappies caught on sunny days. Evergreen Lake: Several reports of crappies being scattered, with most coming from the warmer shallow coves and shore lines. Some nice fish have also been caught in 10-15 feet of water. Minnows, waxworms, or light-colored tube jigs slowly retrieved have worked best. Several reports of saugeyes being caught. Many small ones have been reported with a few keepers also being caught at the pump house and trolling deeper water. Bass fishing has been slow with some smaller ones being caught. Light-colored spinnerbaits and crankbaits working best for bass. Muskies have been reported as decent on deep diving baits in deep water. Some smaller ones have been reported in shallow water with the bigger ones still out deep. Clinton Lake: Crappies, white bass and walleyes being caught below the spillway. Catfish taking shad around bridge. A few white bass and crappies being caught near bridges. Coffeen Lake: Bass, catfish excellent all around the lake. Bass biting on spinners and waxworms. Catfish biting stinkbait and worms. Crappies spotty. Lake Springfield: Crappie bite picking up on minnows. Bass slow. Channel cats being taken on shad. Crappies have been good on jigs fished in or near hot water area, with many small ones. White and yellow bass are good on jigs and bladebaits in or near warm water area. Sangchris Lake: Crappie bite picking up on medium-size minnows. Bass being caught on crankbaits and plastics. Channel cat bite good on liver.
Bob Henson caught this large crappie while fishing the backwater areas of the Illinois River.
Rock River (Oregon): Channel cats biting hard in the Erie area. Walleyes are hitting at the dams. Catfish are taking redworms and fresh-killed minnows. Walleyes are falling to jigs tipped with minnows. Illinois River: The sauger bite is still on fire. There are several reports of limits being caught as well as double-digit fish days. Jigging the flats and pulling three-way rigs has started to put some fish in the boats. Check the water conditions prior to heading out as the river
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
at this stage can get dicey and several of the launches are closed due to the water conditions. Fox: The water has warmed up considerably, and the smallmouth action is picking up. Some of the better fish are being caught on jigs and smaller flukestyle baits worked in the eddies. The panfish bite at the mouths of the feeder creeks has really started to peak. Good catches of bluegills and crappies can
be found fishing small jigs under slip floats in the tailwaters of these creeks. There have been some reports of walleyes being caught up at the McHenry dam. Jig and minnow combinations have been bringing in the walleyes and an occasional white bass. Vermilion: Water levels have been up significantly, but slowly dropping. There has been an abundance of smallmouth bass activity.
Tip of the Week
— Always try to have a backdrop when hunting coyotes so they can’t circle in behind you. Jason Herbert Professional career: Seminar speaker, pro staffer, and outdoor writer for 8 years.
Specialty: Coyote hunting and deer hunting. Tip: “I always try to set
up along a river, a step ridge, a lake or pond, some sort of backdrop so they can’t come in behind you,” Herbert says. “If they can get downwind of you, they will scent you and they won’t come in at all. Instinctively, they are curious about your call, but they won’t come in if they smell you. “You might get lucky if a young one comes in. Jason Herbert They rely more on their eyes. But an older coyote will sit out in front of you until he can tell that it’s safe. With a good backdrop, you can kill him as he’s trying to work around you.” Herbert says the biggest mistake hunters make when trying to kill a coyote is making too much noise. “Some people don’t think about it and slam their car doors and start talking,” he says. “If a coyote hears that, he’s gone.”
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
(From Page 1) oversight committee, is tasked with reviewing the rules as defined by the implementing agency – in this case DNR. JCAR is also tasked with facilitating public understanding of rules and regulations, typically by encouraging public input through a public comment period. The comment period on the bobcat bill – House Bill 352 – ended on March 7. During the spring legislative session of 2015, the Humane Society of the United States made a concerted, aggressive effort to prevent passage of the bobcat bill, spending upwards of a million dollars in a campaign to stop legislators from casting “yes” votes. In late May 2015, once it was clear the votes were there to pass the bill allowing the bobcat harvest, Sen. Harmon introduced SB 2143 in an attempt to prevent the sale of bobcat pelts. SB 2143, “Prohibits the sale of bobcat pelts of bobcats taken in Illinois” and notes “the penalty for a violation of this provision is a petty offense, as provided in the general penalty section of the Code.” According to hunting and trapping groups, the legislation was an obvious sour grapes attempt to pull the teeth of the bobcat bill, since HSUS and their supporters in the Legislature could not stop its passage. Filed so late in the session, SB 2143 sat in the Senate Assignments Committee until last month. The bill was scheduled to be heard in the Senate Commerce and Economic Development Committee on March 10 but was held by the sponsor, meaning it was withdrawn and not heard that day.
A bobcat with a rabbit it caught in the Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois. Photo by David Horning
Harmon had introduced an amendment to the bill on March 2, adding the provision, “It shall be unlawful for any person to trap bobcat in this state at any time.” Impressively, well over 100 witness slips against SB 2143 were filed by trappers in the state – that while more than 50 people signing witness slips in favor of the bill were from an organization in Tampa, Florida. “This [SB 2143] is a very bad bill, “ said Illinois Trappers Association President Neal Graves. “It is a bad bill, idiotic even, when it allows Illinois residents to legally take a bobcat, but interferes with the harvester’s right to market the pelt as they see fit, like they would any other furbearer. Senator Harmon is blatantly attempting to circumvent the legislators who passed the bill last spring.”
Accidents injury to a person or property damage in excess of $750. And the operator of every vessel is required by the Illinois Boat Registration Act of 1959 to file a report in writing whenever a boating accident results in loss of life, injury to a person or property damage in excess of $2,000. Included in DNR’s 2015 summary of these reports:
(From Page 1) occurs in the woods or in the field. Hunters aren’t the only sportsmen in the state required to report incidents and accidents. The operator of every snowmobile is required by the state’s Snowmobile Registration and Safety Act of 1971 to file a report in writing whenever a snowmobile incident results in loss of life,
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• In Shelby County in December, a 32-year-old bowhunter slipped and slid into a deep pool of water while crossing a creek en route to his archery stand to hunt. The hunter was unable to swim or pull himself from the water. • In September, a dove hunter in McDonough County was retrieving downed doves and got into high grass and sunflower plants. A second shooter, 65, did not see the victim and fired in his direction. The victim was hit by a high number of pellets to the chest, left arm and side. • In September in Whiteside County, a hunter was utilizing a
March 18, 2016 Graves continued, “All the science is on our side. Every study in Illinois points to a harvestable population of bobcats, just like any other furbearer. DNR estimates about 5,000 cats in the state, and the proposed first year harvest of 300 will not affect the statewide population one bit. The parts of the state where populations are still recovering will still have a closed season. There is no biological reason not to allow sportsmen to take cats.” With the “piling on” of the amendment to prohibit trapping of bobcats, Graves stated, “The Illinois Trappers Association will do whatever is necessary to prevent the passage of this bill. We fully expect the coalition that passed the original bill to stand together to defeat this one.” The Illinois Federation of Outdoor Resources, which represents some 120,000 outdoors-oriented men and women in the state, has also opposed SB 2143. “We worked hard for three years to pass the bobcat bill,” IFOR President Scotty Bryant said. “We had the support of a broad range of outdoorsmen who united in favor of this bill. IFOR showed compelling evidence that bobcats are responsible for the loss of a considerable amount of upland game such as rabbits and quail. A significant number of deer fawns are killed in the spring when bobcats are feeding their young. “What we were doing with this bill shows that our intent is to protect resources as a whole, not just bobcats.” ITA and IFOR officials were asking those opposed to SB 2143 to call, email, or write legislators and ask them to oppose the bill. A list of state legislators and contact information for them can be found at www.openstates.org.
layout blind in an open field. After firing two shots, he laid his firearm down without engaging the safety. As he pushed down on the gun/ ground to sit up, a corn stalk or other debris pressed against the trigger, causing it to discharge. The shot went into and through his “pinky” toe, removing a section of the toe. • In November in Adams County, an 18-year-old hunter was raccoon hunting with her male cousin. She was holding a firearm while he had taken the dog to the base of the tree to retrieve downed raccoons. One raccoon fell and was running back to the tree when
the victim told his cousin to shoot it. He fired and the bullet struck above the victim’s wrist and exited inside of her arm in front of the elbow. • In December in Hancock County, a hunter (victim) was participating in a deer push with a group of other hunters. When a deer was jumped and ran, three different hunters shot at the deer. The victim was hit during this sequence of shots. Two of the hunters were shooting identical firearms and ammunition. The victim was shot in the side, striking the liver and shattering a rib.
(From Page 1)
Artwork by Ron Nelson
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INHS Kaskaskia Biological Station in Sullivan, noted in a recent INHS report. ”Because we did not observe reduced recruitment due to tournament activity, we cannot recommend closing lakes to spring tournaments, at least on an alternate-year schedule.” INHS scientists began scheduling and monitoring bass tournaments on Ridge Lake in April and May in 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2015. The lake remained closed to fishing in the spring in the six off years (2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014). Groups including the Champaign Urbana Bass Fishing Club, Eastern Illinois University Bass Fishing Team, Heritage High School, Sullivan High School Science Club and the University of Illinois Bass Fishing Team participated in the tournaments, which generally lasted for four hours each. In total, 34 tournaments were held with anglers catching a total of 962 fish. The bass were measured and weighed – and each fish had scales collected from it. The fish were then kept in a pen for two hours before being released back into the lake – a part of the research to determine effects of absence from the bass nest. Recruitment levels of largemouth bass was measured using fall electrofishing samples and mean density of young-of-year largemouth bass collected in late August and early September netting surveys. INHS recorded no significant difference between tournament and non-tournament years for total largemouth bass and observed “no significant differences
in young-of-year largemouth bass in fall seine hauls.” Why the fuss over spring bass fishing? As the INHS team explained, largemouth bass are vulnerable in Illinois in April and May while spawning because they are inshore, sometimes visible to anglers and in general very close to their nests. “Males create nests in shallow water and will continue to guard the brood for several weeks until they are able to disperse into the habitat,” Diana and Wahl wrote. “When a male is angled off the nest or away from its brood, fry are left unprotected and are readily preyed upon by fish, crayfish, and other nest predators. Males will return to the nest after tournament angling; however, our previous research showed that when a fish is angled from the nest in a tournament, nests are more likely to be abandoned and the brood lost compared to fish that are subjected to catch-and-release angling or left un-angled.” According to INHS, still uncertain is whether or not the loss of individual nests results in a drop in lakewide recruitment or if other nests experience higher survival of fry and can compensate for nest loss. “It is also unknown what the combined effects of tournament mortality, stress, and nest abandonment can have on a fish population and the life history traits of individual fish,” the INHS team noted. INHS’ ongoing research focuses on the effects of tournaments on largemouth bass populations, how much tournament pressure a fish population can tolerate, and what management can be used to limit potential negative effects.
Type of Game/Fish:________________________________________ Method used:_____________________________________________ (Rifle, Bow, Spinner bait etc.)
Where was it taken:________________________________________ (Name of the Lake, River, or City near the hunt)
Other pertinent info:________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________
PLEASE DO NOT PUT SUBSCRIPTION FORMS IN WITH YOUR PHOTOS. Photo composition is the most important aspect of a good shot. No beer cans or cigarettes/cigars in photos. Do not hold fish by eyes or gills. Stringer shots are not accepted.
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Include this form with your photo.
This chart provided by INHS shows the participation and results of the 34 tournaments targeting largemouth bass on Ridge Lake during April and May in the four selected years. Courtesy of INHS
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Take de d aim: Optic options for your gobbler gun
Photos courtesy of Steve Oehlenschlager
t’s the perfect hunt on the perfect spring morning. The gobbler responds off the roost, and he’s coming. Your setup is ideal. This is going to happen, and it’s going to be one of your most memorable longbeard successes. But it all comes unraveled at the moment of truth. The bird, well within range, flies off unscathed. It was a clean miss. We’ve all been there, and there’s no worse feeling that failing to seal the deal and turning a dream hunt into a nightmare. Most of the time our misses are high. Mesmerized by the strutting tom in front of us, we fail to get down on the shotgun and line up our front sight with the rear. But a scope can eliminate a lot of those nightmarish misses, and that’s why serious tom takers have gone that route and upped their tag-filling percentage. Here are some fine options available for your turkey gun.
Sightmark’s Wolverine CSR Red Dot Sight is designed specifically for shotguns and short-barreled rifles. The CSR sports a 4 MOA red dot reticle with a 23mm objective lens and adjustable digital switch brightness controls. Compact and light, the CSR model weighs only 10.3 ounces, and along with the FSR, offers very low power consumption. The CSR also offers variable brightness and night vision modes, which allows co-witnessing with a night vision sight. Quick target acquisition and unlimited eye relief here, with just one AA battery needed in the durable, shockproof design. Wolverine red dot sights have an adjustable mount height and are compatible with Picatinny mounts. www.sightmark.com
blers but it also has an EXT reticle to adjust for long-range shots on whitetails and coyotes. Multicolored lenses for crisp, bright images, there’s also solid eye relief to ensure you won’t get punched by the scope. The scope is nitrogen purged for fogproof, waterproof and shockproof performance. Hardcoat anodizing with a matte finish. www.cabelas.com
Mega retailer Cabela’s offers up the Slug Shotgun Riflescope that can take the recoil associated with slug guns and turkey loads. You can use it on spring gob-
Long a leader in sporting optics, Nikon’s PROSTAFF Shotgun Hunter Scope is fully multicoated for superb light transmission, even during those low-light morning periods when a gobbler could make an early arrival off the roost. Generous, consistent eye relief and quick-focus eyepieces bring targets into focus quickly. Nitrogen filled, waterproof and fogproof, the scope can also be used for longer shots with zero-reset turrets that let you dial in at various ranges then reset back to zero for fast, in-field adjustments. www.nikonsport optics.com
Leupold scopes are known to be built to last a lifetime, and the VX-1 Shotgun Scope has no problem handling turkey load recoil and will perform in any weather. The standard multicoated lens systems give clear, crisp contrast and a bright sight picture. With a full lifetime guarantee, the scope has a
(See Turkey Optics Page 32)
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Region I – Capt. Laura Petreikis CPO Palumbo issued multiple citations to a Fenton man and Erie man for unlawfully attempting to take a deer with the use and aid of a motor vehicle. The deer was shot with a rifle at night, from the roadway, while the two were in the cab of a pickup truck. CPO Palumbo issued a citation to a Dixon man for unlawfully taking a deer with a firearm during the closed season. The hunter did not realize that Whiteside County was closed for the late winter antlerless-only firearms season when he took a doe with his .12 gauge slug gun. CPO Murry was patrolling the Kishwaukee Fish and Wildlife area when he observed a vehicle parked in the roadway on an access road to hunter parking. The vehicle drove forward a short distance and again parked in the roadway. CPO Murry stopped the vehicle and inquired about the parking in the roadway. While speaking to the driver, CPO Murry observed a coat in the passenger seat covering up what appeared to be an uncased rifle. Upon further investigation, CPO Murry observed the firearm to be a .22 caliber high-powered pellet rifle that was uncased and loaded. A freshly killed squirrel was located in the vehicle, along with items commonly used as deer bait. While talking with the individual, CPO Murry had the subject show him where he had planned on deer hunting in the state park. Two large areas of bait were located along with seven trees being cut down, as well. CPO Murry also located evidence indicating the suspect shot the squirrel approximately a mile and a half away on Forest Preserve property. In a follow up interview, the individual admitted to shooting the squirrel from the roadway, sitting in his vehicle, on the Forest Preserve property. The individual was cited for uncased gun, hunting from the roadway, destruction of flora (destruction of property), hunting without permission (Forest Preserve property), unlawful take, and hunting by aid of a motor vehicle. He was issued written warnings for hunting license not on person, habitat stamp not on person, parking in the roadway, unlawful feeding of wildlife (bait), and shooting upon the roadway. During the second firearms deer season, CPO Lazzell arrested a Peoria County hunter for hunting deer over bait, hunting with an unplugged shotgun and hunting without a license. Written warnings were issued for improper blaze orange, hunting deer without a habitat stamp and not having his deer permit in possession. A second hunter located on the same property was arrested for hunting with an unplugged shotgun and hunt-
Cuffs & Collars Field reports from Illinois Conservation Police CPOs This symbol denotes reports that Outdoor News editors find of special interest.
ing without a license. The second hunter received written warnings for hunting deer without a habitat stamp and not having his deer permit in possession.
the free permit and were hunting a restricted area. Both subjects were cited for hunting without permission and advised to apply for the proper permits in the future.
Region II – Capt. Brett Scroggins CPO VanWiltenburg cited a subject for hunting deer with the use and aid of bait. He also received warnings for trapping without a license and failure to tag trap with name and address. The cage trap was just a few yards from his hunting blind and had a live raccoon in it when initially found. The hunter had several other treestands in the area that were baited with PVC pipes (full of shelled corn) mounted to trees. He said it was getting to the end of the season and he was “getting desperate.” CPO Mieure worked a baited area for two consecutive years and finally was able to catch the violator hunting over two troughs of corn and a mineral block. Citations were issued for baiting and for failure to wear required orange clothing. CPO Vadbunker found two hunters at Kankakee River State Park who were hunting unlawfully from permanent stands and for hunting over bait. CPO Bergland investigated a complaint of a hunter hunting too early for pheasants at Silver Springs State Park. He located the hunter, who admitted that he had probably hunted too early. Subsequent inspection of his hunting license revealed that the hunter was in possession of a resident hunting license while also in possession of a resident hunting license and driver’s license from Wisconsin. The hunter also did not display the required orange clothing. Two warnings were issued for the orange violation and for the hunting before hours violation. Further investigation is pending for the residency issue.
Region III – Capt. Jim Mayes CPO Graden received a complaint of two subjects hunting pheasants during the closed season. CPO Graden was unable to locate the hunters in the field but made contact with the local residents and got a license plate number. The license plates returned to a vehicle out of Leaf River, Illinois. The case remains under investigation. CPO Wright and CPOT Ausmus observed a Maroa man urinating outside of his vehicle on a country road while several vehicles passed him. While turning around the man entered his vehicle and began driving. The CPOs initiated a traffic stop and asked him
Region IV – Capt. Jamie Maul CPOT Brian Snodgrass and CPO Michael Goetten received a complaint from a landowner of hunting without permission and theft of two trail cameras. The landowner provided the CPOs with suspect information. Interviews were conducted and two subjects admitted hunting on the property without permission and stealing two trail cameras. The cameras were returned to the owner and a tree stand was seized. Criminal and wildlife enforcement action is pending consultation with the State’s Attorney.
Report of the weeK Region V
CPO Lewis investigated a hunting accident that occurred during the second firearms season. The hunter was exiting his homemade treestand when the fabric of his blind blew onto his face obstructing his vision and causing him to fall 8 to 10 feet. Though the hunter was able to exit the woods and make it to the hospital, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries several days later. to perform field sobriety tests. During the investigation the man stated that he should not have been driving. He refused all chemical tests and was arrested for DUI and taken to the Macon County jail. While on patrol CPOT Sanford and CPO Cottrell discovered two individuals upland game hunting on the Harry Babe Woodyard State Natural Area. This is a permit hunting area only and both had failed to apply for
CPOs Elliott and CPOT Thornley investigated a complaint of an owl flying around a small Cass County town with a leg-hold trap attached to one foot. Upon further investigation, CPO Elliott located a suspect who admitted he was using leg-hold traps set on poles to capture hawks and owls that the subject claimed was attacking his chickens. Upon further investigation, CPO Elliott learned that both the recreational and commercial hunting/trapping privileges of the suspect are currently suspended due to previous wildlife infractions. As a result, the subject was charged with trapping while hunting/trapping privileges suspended and unlawful taking of raptors. CPO Schachner and CPOT Knop were on patrol when they observed multiple trucks engaged in coyote hunting with the aid of dogs. After watching the vehicles/hunters for an extended period of time, the officers approached (on foot) one of the trucks as it left a field. The elderly driver possessed a loaded .22 mag rifle and the elderly passenger possessed an uncased .22 mag rifle. They each received citations for the uncased/loaded guns and were given verbal warnings on hunting with the aid of a vehicle. The driver (a former hunter safety course instructor) had previously been cited for the same violation by CPO Schachner several years prior.
Region V – Capt. Tim Daiber CPO Smith and CPOT Roper were responding to a complaint near Beecher City regarding a person hunting raccoons. CPO Smith spoke with the complainant who stated he
March 18, 2016
observed an individual he recognized drive by his residence with a dog box in the bed of his truck. He said he has had issues in the past with this individual letting his coon dogs run on property he did not have permission to be on. CPO Smith was traveling westbound on 1800N and passed a vehicle fitting the description of the suspect’s pickup truck. CPO Smith turned around and blacked out his headlights and followed the vehicle until it arrived at a residence. CPO Smith approached the vehicle and spoke with driver. CPO Smith asked him how he killed raccoons and he responded by saying he did not kill any. CPO Smith asked him if he had any firearms in the vehicle. The individual stated he had an air rifle behind the seat. CPO Smith looked at the air rifle and noted it was in an open gun case. The air rifle specifications were 1000 to 1100 FPS; which under Illinois statute defines it as a firearm. The subject’s name was run through IWIN and was found to have a revoked FOID. CPO Smith advised the subject of the laws and took pictures of the air rifle, obtained make, model, and serial number, and let the subject go. CPO Smith met with the State’s Attorney the following morning and asked his proposal on the matter. The State’s Attorney advised he would charge the individual with the uncased firearm section under Conservation and not charge him with the Class 3 felony of possessing a firearm with a revoked FOID. CPO Mohrman received a call of an injured bald eagle observed in the refuge portion of the Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area. The juvenile eagle was apparently injured but still able to run away from the CPO. With assistance from CPOT Knop and volunteers from Free Again Wildlife Rehabilitation, the eagle was captured and is now in rehab. CPO Lewis investigated a hunting accident that occurred during the second firearms season. The hunter was exiting his homemade treestand when the fabric of his blind blew onto his face obstructing his vision and causing him to fall 8-10 feet. Though the hunter was able to exit the woods and make it to the hospital, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries several days later. CPO Lay issued a citation to a Waterloo man for archery hunting in Wayne Fitzgerrell State Park during the controlled pheasant hunt. CPO Schoenhoff investigated the death of a bald eagle along Route 141 near 1450 East. The eagle was most likely hit by a motor vehicle. The eagle will be shipped to the Eagle Repository in Colorado.
Turkey Optics (From Page 31)
1-inch main tube design with a heavy duplex reticle. Models are 1-4x20 and 2-7x33. www.leupold.com
TRUGLO’s red dot lineup has been responsible for the demise of countless toms over many springs, and the Turkey Reticle Red-Dot Gobble Stopper background. A detachable, extended sunshade eliminates glare from the front lens. There’s a spare battery storage compartment, and the main battery and spare battery included (3V-CR2032). The scope, with a flip-up lens cap and lanyard system, is lightweight and easy to mount, and includes all the features of TRUGLO’s traditional red dot series. www.truglo.com
Bushnell’s TRS red dot scope is an attractive Realtree AP camo model that’s compact and easy to use, with a reliable, 3 MOA red dot sight offering unlimited eye relief for both shotguns and handguns. Multicoated with Amber-Bright high contrast lens coating, the TRS is 100 percent waterproof, fogproof, and shockproof. bushnell.com
The Venom Red Dot Reflex Sight from Vortex offers a 3 MOA dot that promotes rapid target acquisition while providing a precise point of aim to get shots downrange and on target quickly. The durable, machined aluminum housing is built to handle recoil as well as the elements. The high-quality, fully multicoated lens offers a clean, wide field of view. Powered by a CR 1632 battery that’s included, there are 10 brightness settings for the red dot and unlimited eye relief. The Venom comes with a Picatinny mount and weighs 1.6 ounc-
es with the mount. www.vortexoptics.com
um battery with adjustable brightness settings. trijicon.com
The Burris FastFire III Sight is available in 3 MOA or 8 MOA dot configurations, and its integrated mount makes it ready to easily install on any firearm equipped with a Picatinny rail. The bright red dot allows for fast target acquisition and easy aiming and 1x magnification allows both-eyes-open shooting for enhanced awareness and target acquisition. Compact and light weight, the high-grade optical glass provides excellent brightness and clarity with lasting durability. Index-matched, Hi-Lume multicoating provides low-light performance and glare elimination. The FastFire III is waterproof. www.burrisoptics.com
Tasco’s Propoint is popular for many reasons, not the least of which is price. But the illuminated reticle and rock-solid reliability, along with unlimited eye relief and a huge field of view that facilitates rapid target acquisition and have also helped them gain widespread favor among turkey hunters. Adjustable brightness, plus an optional red/green reticle offer optimum contrast in the dimmest and brightest conditions alike. Several models are available, from 1x25mm to 1x42mm. www.tasco.com
Crosman’s Center Point Tactical Open Reflex Sight allows you to keep both eyes open for better awareness of your hunting situation, and offers 1 MOA adjustments in a 1x32mm model. It mounts to any Weaver-style rail, has a Multilayer Advantage lens coating and offers 40 reticle options among reticle, color and brightness. It runs on one CR-2032 battery and weighs in at 5.5 ounces. www.crosman.com
The Trijicon MRO (Miniature Rifle Optic) is a sealed miniature reflex sight intended for use on rifles, carbines and shotguns to provide fast target acquisition. The large aperture and tapered light path maximizes the viewing area and allows for better situational awareness and fast target engagement – especially from non-standard shooting positions. The 1x25 sight offers ambidextrous brightness controls, sub-flush adjusters, advanced lens coatings and a fully sealed, waterproof, hard anodized forged 7075-T6 housing. Operates on a single lithi-
The Simmons Red Dot can kick your tom-taking up a notch with quick target acquisition and low-light precision. With three innovative options, you’re sure to find the scope that’s just right for you. Choose from the 1x 20mm with a 3 MOA dot or the 1x 30mm with a 3 MOA dot for greater precision – with red, blue and green illumination. www.simmonsoptics.com
The Mueller Quick Shot sight has a pair of builtin sensors in the front that detect the surrounding lighting conditions and automatically adjust the brightness of the dot in response to those conditions, unlike all other red dot scopes, which require manual adjustment. Select from four different reticle styles with the flip of a switch. The Quick Shot sight comes complete with an adjustable reticle selector switch, making it one of the most versatile illuminated sights ever produced. The shockproof durability makes it versatile for turkey hunters and archery hunters. muelleroptics.com
March 18, 2016
Letters (From Page 3)
How to ruin state’s bobcat season How to ruin a bobcat season? 1. Let’s let our politicians set the rules and regulations. 2. Ignore the dangers of our game animals becoming endangered because of the state having too many preda-
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Outdoor Market is not endangered.
tors (like bobcats). 3. Let anti-hunters push politicians to make too many changes. 4. Ignore the advice of wildlife biologists. 5. Let the federal government tell states how to manage the states’ wildlife. 6. Require an endangered species tag on something that
7. Take the attitude, “Let’s see how much money we can make from this.” I could list many more ways to ruin the bobcat season, and I would if I thought it would be listened to. This from just an old hunter who wishes our DNR cared for quail and rabbits as much as our predators.
Charles Peters Cisne
READERSHOT PHOTO FORM Please include this form with your photo. Photos with this form included will receive first consideration to be published. PLEASE INCLUDE SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE IF YOU WANT YOUR PHOTO RETURNED. (PLEASE PRINT ALL INFO.)
People in photo (L to R):________________________________
State budget hurts river dock project So, no floating boat dock with canoe/kayak launch in 2016 due to state budget problems. Freeport could have gotten those funds in 2014 or 2015, but the city chose not to. So how else could we get the money to purchase the floating boat dock? TIF? No, the TIF budget for 2016 has been set. Fundraiser? No. The citizens of Freeport have been waiting since 2000 for a usable boat dock at Tutty’s Crossing on the Pecatonica River. Looks like we will wait some more.
Lee Butler Freeport
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Photo composition is the most important aspect of a good shot. No beer cans or cigarettes/ cigars in photos. Do not hold fish by eyes or gills. Stringer shots and hanging deer shots are not accepted. Shirtless subjects not accepted. Outdoor News receives large numbers of photos and will attempt to publish* every photo, but it may take a while. This form is for general reader photos. Specific photo contests will have their own form. Send to:
Turner Tarr, 7, of Newton, caught this 5-pound largemouth bass July 30 while fishing on a farm pond.
TITANIUM TIP STICK FROM BEAVER DAM FIRST OF ITS KIND Beaver Dam is known for the best tip up on the planet so it’s no surprise that they enter the ice rod and combo market with guns blazing and tips glowing. The new Titanium Tip Stick is the first rod that comes standard with a built-in, retractable, no memory, titanium spring bobber so anglers can switch from jigging Kastmaster’s for walleyes with the tip recessed, to finessing panfish with the tip extended. The rod is made of High Modulus carbon fiber and comes with a fitted cork reel seat with built-in rattles that transmit fish-attracting vibrations below the ice. Why go to the fish when you can draw them into to you! The Tip Stick is three rods in one: • Ultra-light jigging for panfish • Retract spring bobber for gamefish • Deadsticking The Tip Stick is available in 23” ultralight, 26” medium light, and 29” medium actions and does come in a combo that includes custom ice-specific spinning reel. Hard & Soft Fishing has grown to represent nearly every tackle category on the market for both ice and open-water fishing. For more information on all their products, visit www.unclejosh.com.
PO Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286
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Gear & Gadgets ATLAS SUPREME GLITTER EGG Supreme Glitter Eggs give you that shimmer and shine of glitter that trout can’t resist! They are a special sugarured egg with heavy milking action! These will stay on hook cast after cast! What makes these eggs supreme? It starts with a premium grade egg. Then Atlas uses a unique process that makes these eggs worthy of the name Supreme. The eggs are specially processed to produce a soft, gooey center that actually milks out into the water. This slow, milking process has already been a proven trout-catcher with our Mr. Trout line. To make it even better, we’ve added glitter! The reflection from the glitter attracts trout and brings them closer to strike! Trout, Salmon and Steelhead anglers have been counting on Atlas-Mike’s to help fill their stringers for years. AtlasMike’s Bait, Inc. has been field testing, developing and marketing quality products to fishermen for over 80 years and are still going strong! Salmon eggs, floating trout baits, marshmallow baits, fish attractants, bait cures, and salmon/steelhead accessories have long been a part of their product line up. Every angler is looking for an edge; tip the odds in your favor with Atlas-Mike’s! For more information on the complete line, visit www.atlasmikes.com.
IN-LINE FOUR V MAX SHO OUTBOARDS V Max Sho® performance just got leaner and meaner. Meet the exciting new 2.8L I-4 V Max Sho 175. Its streamlined design conceal a next-gen tech package with a 16-valve double-overhead cam, variable camshaft timing and electronic fuel injection. In other words, they deliver the exhilarating hole shot and top speed of a two-stroke with the efficient advantages of a four-stroke. At just 480 pounds, it is ideal for smaller bass boats, flats boats, bay boats and other performance hulls. The competitive V Max Sho 175 produces class-leading top speed. On an 18-footer with tournament load and two anglers, it hit a whopping 62 mph. The V Max Sho 175 delivers the incredibly efficient, clean and quiet performance you expect from a four-stroke. Using up to 40 percent less fuel than a traditional carbureted two-stroke, the savings alone should be enough to get you on board. From its 16-valve DOHC powerhead to its twin counterbalancing shaft, each feature of the 2.8L V MAX SHOs is efficiently engineered for smooth, quiet performance. Visit www.yamahaoutboards.com for more information.
CAPTURE YOUR HUNT WITH YOUR PHONE The GameStick will mount any cell phone to any cylinder such as a rifle or crossbow, bow, scope, tree stand, branch, etc. Why pay hundreds of dollars for poor quality action cams when you can use your own high-quality smart phone! You can see where you hit or even miss the game. You can also see the time, text or play on the Internet all while being ready if that monster steps out! Don’t miss your hunt. Get a GameStick! The Gamestick was inspired by a hunter who wanted to video his daughter’s hunt, but didn’t want to buy an expensive or poor quality camera. He started using his cell phone, but needed hands free to help her… The GameStick was invented! Visit us online at www.GameStickLLC. com.
THE EDGE SERIES Available in a 185 or 175, the new Edge series is serious about family fun. Whether you spend your mornings doing some fishing or afternoons pulling the kids on skis, consider this multifunction boat, the new SUV on the water, it can do it all. Loaded with storage, comfortable jump seats, 4 speaker stereo, plenty of rod storage, aerated livewell, and much more, the new Edge series can please everyone. Top to bottom, Alumacraft has the perfect boat to make your days on the water the best they can be. Below the waterline is where the ride begins. The exclusive 2XBTM full-length, twinplated hull offers twice the strength and protection from the bow to the transom. A superior hull design dramatically reduces sound and vibration without compromising agility, and our oversized, full-length spray rails ensure a clean, dry ride. Above the waterline is where comfort adds value. All the amenities you expect — and deserve — from a top-of-the-line fishing boat. For more information on the Dominator series and all Alumacraft models, go to www.alumacraft.com.
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
March 18, 2016
Calendar of Events Banquets/Fundraisers March 18: Northern IL Thundering Toms NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m. at Giovanni’s in Rockford, IL. For more info call Fred Hebler, 815-494-0208. March 18: Illinois Valley WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Wise Guys Bar & Grill, Princeton. For more info call Bob Stevens, 815-646-4146. March 18: Cook County NWTF Banquet, 6 p.m., Chicago South Elks Lodge #1596. For more info call Carleton Rendel, 708-349-8862. March 19: Elkhorn Creek Rack-a-Holics WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., Knights of Columbus Hall, Diamond Jubilee Club. For more info call Scott Juenger, 618-410-9807. March 19: DeWitt County PF Banquet, 4:30 p.m., Clinton Elk’s Banquet Hall. For more info call Jason Gentry, 217-519-2295. March 24: McHenry Co. PF Banquet, 6-10 p.m., D’Andrea’ in Crystal Lake Illinois. For more info call Bob Veugeler, 815-477-4828. March 26: Taylorville WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., American Legion, Kincaid. For more info call Mick Moliske, 217-827-0029.
March 26: Mississippi Valley NWTF Banquet, 5 p.m., Prairie Lodge, Port Byron. For more info call Gary Klavon, 309-523-3749.
. March 18-20: Rockford RV, Camping & Travel Show, Indoor Sports Center. For more info call Laci Rotolo, 815-997-1744. April 22-23: Midwest Decoy Collectors Assoc. Vintage Decoy & Sporting Collectibles Show, Fri. 2-7 p.m., Sat. 9-2 p.m., Pheasant Run, St. Charles, IL. For more info call Jeff Seregny, 586-530-6586.
April 8: Sugar Hill WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Lourdes Parish, Germantown. For more info call Jake Evans, 309-303-9988. April 8: Goose Lake Gobblers NWTF Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Jennifer’s Garden, Morris. For more info call Dan Snyder 815-791-0049. April 15: Illinois Trap & Skeet Club NWTF Banquet, 5 p.m., Interstate Center, Bloomington. For more info call Rodney Graf, 309-261-4810. April 16: Cross Trail Outfitters of Illinois Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Fluid Events Center, Champaign. For more info call Eric St. Pierre, 217-480-2327. April 23: Illinois South WTU Banquet, 4 p.m., The Pavilion, Marion. For more info call Darel Martin, 309-369-8265. April 28: Northern Illinois WTU Banquet, 5:30 p.m., Royal Fox Country Club, St. Charles. For more info call Chris Manny, 630-774-4180. April 30: Trico, Steeleville Scholastic WTU Banquet, 5 p.m., American Legion, Steelville. For more info call Jamie Nagel, 618-559-8180.
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Illinois Outdoor News
Subscription Services, Attn: Calendar P.O. Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286 Fax: 763-546-5913 or website www.outdoornews.com/Illinois
. March 20: Quad County Hawg Hunters Chapter of Muskies Inc. Indoor Fishing Flea Market, 9-2 p.m., Plano American Legion, Plano. For more info call Duane Landmeier, 815-286-7170. April 14-17: Father/Son Adventure Weekend, Camp LuWisoMo, WI. For more info call Dylen Larsen, 815-520-1303.
June 16-19: MRC Sportsman’s Club, MEC Great Northern Side-by-Side Classic, 8 a.m., Medford, WI. For more info call Gary Kapfhamer, 715-965-7613. * * * Blackhawk Field Archers Schedule of Shoots, 10086 Forest Preserve Rd, Rockton, IL 61072. For more info call Brenda Lee, 708-576-7431.. April 16-17: IBO Illinois State Archery championship, 7:30 a.m.
Season Dates April 4: Spring turkey hunting season opens in South Zone (tentative) April 11: Spring turkey hunting season opens in North zone (tentative)
Quad County Hunters Chapter of Muskies Inc. Meets March-May and July-Feb. 2nd Thurs. of the month, 7:30 p.m. For more info call Duane Landmeier, 815-286-7170. Northern Illinois Anglers Assoc. Meets on the 4th Wed. of the month, 7 p.m., B.B.S.C. For more info call Sam Thomas, 815-953-1372. Happy Hookers Bass Club meets the 1st Tues. of every month, 7 p.m., Haydens Crossing. For more info call Jim Pattin, 815-513-5687. Arlington Anglers meets the 3rd Tues. of every month, 6:30 p.m., Cabela’s Hoffman Estates. For more info call Tom Curtin, 312-560-9876. Silver Creek Quail Forever. Meets 1st Tues. of the Month. 7 p.m. For more info call Pat Daniels, 618-566-8072. Take Pride in America meets 2nd Mon. of every Month, 7 p.m., Crab Orchard Refuge Visitor Center. For more info call Ed Tresnak, 618-9973344.
Commentary (From Page 3)
Back to that coyote contest in Argonne, which is located in the forests of north-central Wisconsin. My “invitation” came indirectly from folks opposing the contest. They basically requested a reporter to document their protest and provide witness should they be cited for harassing the hunters.
(L to r) Rich Spihlmann, Paul Heimann, and Norbert Schomaker pose for this photo after trapping beavers on the Kaskaskia River in February of 1969. Photo courtesy of Paul Heimann
Share Your Memories
Got a hunting or fishing photo from before 1980? Send it to Remembering, c/o Illinois Outdoor News, PO Box 216, Sparta, IL 62286. Please identify everyone in the photo if possible and the year the photo was taken.
If you want returned: PLEASE SEND SELF-ADDRESSED STAMPED ENVELOPE
Please send us your remembering photos!
If anyone thinks they’re helping deer herds by shooting a dozen coyotes each winter, they probably also think they’re helping walleyes by arrowing boatloads of carp each spring. Both hunts offer great recreation and make some folks feel good, but they’re not ecosystem-management programs. Likewise, those opposing events like the coyote hunt up north claim coyote contests risk other animals, like gray wolves, because contestants could mistake them for large coyotes. Yes, that’s possible, but let’s face it: Serious, experienced predator hunters are far less likely to accidentally shoot a wolf than are deer hunters who opportunistically shoot at coyotes
each fall. Besides, the random Illinois coyote hunting contests are generally minor league stuff.
Patrick Durkin is a regular contributor to Outdoor News
Consider Nebraska, where the 11th annual Coyote Craze Classic in December attracted 40 teams from the home state, as well as from Illinois, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nevada and South Dakota. Teams checked in 173 coyotes while competing for $20,000 in cash and prizes. And if you want to see coyote hunting’s major leagues, consider Frenchville, Pennsylvania, home to the Mosquito Creek Sportsmen’s Association coyote hunt, which attracted nearly 4,000 hunters in February 2015. Last year’s event offered a purse of $31,824, and hunters weighed in 162 coyotes. One hunter using hounds won $10,990.40, of which $7,808 was for the contest’s largest female coyote (45.05 pounds). That’s cause for indignation in some circles, but let’s concede the outrage is neither universal nor consistently applied.
BEST BUCK ENTRY. Bobbiann Hamlin, 14, of DuQuoin, shot this 9-point buck Oct. 10 near Dubois in Perry County. The rack had a 17-inch inside spread and green-scored 1351⁄2.
John Landsverk, of Chillicothe, captured this trail camera photo of two bucks in Peoria County in July.
Trail Camera Photos
Have an interesting photo on your trail camera? Illinois Outdoor News is looking for odd and unusual photos from our readers’ trail cams. Send them to Trail Camera Photos, c/o Illinois Outdoor News, P.O. Box 216 Sparta, IL 62286, or e-mail them to email@example.com. Please include your name, hometown, the town or county where the photo was taken, along with any other interesting details about the image collected from your trail camera. *Photos will be discarded unless self-addressed, stamped envelope is included.
Please send us your trail camera photos!
Across 1 5 7
Saltwater fish like a seabass Squirrel’s love Do you take this bride
answer (2 words) 9 Top dog 11 Watery attractions 12 Hurried
13 Arriving soon 14 Bottle that keeps drinks hot 15 Moved slowly and carefully 16 Fisherman’s 10-pounder, e.g. 19 Damp 20 Kind of bass 23 Scull tool 24 ___ carte (2 words) 25 Wintry mounds Down 1 A loop around a trigger 2 Fish-eating hawks 3 Added a new tree, say 4 Winchester, e.g. 5 Without a cap on number of fish caught (2 words) 6 Walrus features 8 Prosecutor, for short 10 Laughter sound 15 Direction of the sunrise 16 Reddish wood 17 Where it’s ___ 18 Rabbit relatives 19 Fuse, as metal 21 Beat a retreat 22 Wolf foot 23 Not hitting the target See Answers on Page 33
March 18, 2016
ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Country Fried Venison Steak Sandwiches
with Caramelized Onions & Horseradish Cream Sauce
Taste of the Wild from Outdoor News
Caramelized Onions Ingredients:
1 onion, peeled and cut into long slivers 1 teaspoon of olive oil 1 teaspoon of salt
1. Bring a wide, thick-bottomed pot or pan to medium-high heat 2. Add the olive oil and heat for 1 minute 3. Add the onions and lower the heat to medium-low 4. Occasionally stir the onions 5. After 10 minutes, add the salt 6. Cook for an additional 30 minutes, stirring regularly (make the horseradish cream sauce while waiting)
Horseradish Cream Sauce Ingredients:
4 tablespoons sour cream 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 1 tablespoon minced chives Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Photo by Tuan Truong
About the Chef: Justin Townsend has been a hunter and angler since he was a child and has always enjoyed the outdoors. He was raised in southeastern Oklahoma, where hunting and fishing was used as a way to supplement home-grown and store-bought food. Justin moved away from home to college, where he was able to tune his culinary skills as a professional chef. As time progressed, Justin combined his passion for the outdoors and his love for food to create the online publication, Harvesting Nature. Currently, Justin serves as the editor in chief of Harvesting Nature and is a pro staff member for First Lite. www.harvestingnature.com
Country Fried Venison Steaks
By Chef Justin Townsend
Preparation: Items Needed: Meat mallet, Gallon Ziploc bag
1. Mix the sour cream, horseradish, and chives together 2. Season with the salt and ground black pepper to taste
properly golden brown 9. Remove the steak from the oil and place on a towel 10. Evenly disperse the cheese across the steaks and top with the caramelized onions 11. Cut the buns in half (if applicable) and cover the inside and outside with butter 12. Toast each side of the bun/bread 13. Coat the inside of the buns with the horseradish cream sauce 14. Slap the sandwich together with the steak and enjoy!
1. Begin heating your oil in a pan over medium-high flame 2. P lace the steaks, one by one, inside the Ziploc bag and pound down to approximately ¼ -inch thickness (you may need to cut the steaks in half for ease of battering and frying) 3. Amply season steaks with salt, black pepper, and Cajun seasoning 4. Mix the egg and the milk, set aside 5. P our the flour into a shallow dish and season with the salt, ground black pepper, and Cajun seasoning 6. D ip each steak into the flour, then submerge into the egg wash, and then dredge back into the flour 7. Place the battered steak into the oil Find us on at www.facebook.com/OutdoorNewsTasteOfTheWild 8. Flip steak once to ensure both sides are Find more recipes and share yours today! Visit the COOKING tab online at www.outdoornews.com
Yield: 2 Sandwiches 1 pound venison steaks 1 bread bun of choice or 4 pieces of Texas toast 1 ⁄2 cup milk 1 egg, beaten 3 cups of flour Salt Ground black pepper Cajun seasoning 1 tablespoon of butter at room temperature Oil for frying 8 slices of white cheddar cheese
! W NE
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ILLINOIS OUTDOOR NEWS
Prairie City Dallas City
Woods & Waters 96
State record flathead not only Sangchris trophy Ursa
By Ralph Loos Editor
It could hardly be called a secret, since just about every angler who’d dropped a line in Sangchris Lake knew about the army of giant flathead catfish roaming the lake’s bottom. Then last August, James Klauzer made the poor secret even poorer – he broke the state record by pulling an 81-pound flathead out of the central Illinois lake. “We knew there were flatheads in that lake big enough to break the record, we just didn’t know if anyone would ever catch one,” Dan Stephenson, acting director of fisheries for DNR, said. “Some think there might be one even bigger.” Klauzer’s flathead was released from whence it came. Of course, all the excitement from that late-night catch last summer was lost on many bass and crappie fishermen in the state. They know that Sangchris is much more than a flathead spot. In fact, the 2,235-acre power plant lake is known for its high-density largemouth bass population. And DNR’s most recent fish survey showed some promising changes in the largemouth bass population structure. “We have observed an increase in fish bigger than 18 inches over the last two years. About 10 percent of the population was shown to measure over that mark, which is twice that of the 10-year average,” DNR noted in its report. The report also noted that gizzard shad have experienced “unstable” spawns in Sangchris ,and threadfin shad survival is dependent on power plant operation in the winter. “Breeder threadfin shad are often stocked in an effort to offset the results of winter kills,” DNR noted. “Bass most likely burn more energy than they can consume in the hot summer months, resulting in less than average body condition.” Importantly, for anglers, it is not off-
base to say they can catch largemouth bass on points, deadfalls, and stickups within the entire lake year-round with plastic worms, jigs, spinners, crankbaits, minnows, crayfish and worms. According to DNR biologists, the largest bass ever collected during a survey of Sangchris measured 22 inches long and weighed over 7 pounds. A total of 26 fish species have been collected in the lake since 1982. Anglers may catch bluegills, green sunfish, green sunfish-bluegill hybrids, freshwater drum, white bass, or yellow bass. Lake Sangchris also contains both black and white crappies – and both are popular with spring and fall anglers. The black crappies are a strain originally brought in from Arkansas in 1985 that have a wide black stripe running from just under the chin up over the nose to the dorsal fin. They are called black-
Sangchris Lake - Christian County Quincy
nosed or black-striped crappies by many of the Illinois sportsmen who fish for them. 36 DNR biologists point out that crappies in Sangchris do not maintain pre-96 P I K E dictable yearly spawns, which is common in a cooling lake. Both crappie species populations are still developing, however, the most recent DNR fish population survey showed dramatic increases in both black and white crappie numbers. Catch rates of black crappies increased from eight to 17 fish per hour of electrofishing. Catch rates of white crappies increased from 14 to 41 fish per hour. Both crappie catch rates were higher than they have been for more than 10 years. About 32 percent of the white crappies collected measured over the 10-inch minimum length limit at Sangchris, while 19 percent of the black crappies collected topped the 10-inch mark. Only two crappies over 12 inches were collected. “The crappie population structures are not yet within management goals, but are heading in the right direction,” DNR reported. Natural spawning is limited due to sporadic water temperatures during the spawning season, Kinderhook
Baylis New Salem
Jacksonville M OJacksonville RGAN South
Kane Medora Fidelity Jerseyville
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New Douglas Sangamon Sangamon
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Union Johnson Johnson
C L I NCarlyle TO Beckemeyer
Percy Steeleville Willisville
St. Johns Du Quoin
M il e B y M il e .c o m
Fr ee Illi no is Ma ps & Profile Illi no is Ro ad Ma pLake Tra ve l Gu ide s
Sangchris Lake Nearest town��������������������������Pawnee Surface ����������������������2,325 acres Copy rightarea 2005 Shoreline ������������������������������� 97 miles Avg. depth ������������������������������� 13 feet therefore Sangchris has a crappie stockPrimary species present: ing program. Bluegills, largemouth bass, chanWhite and black crappie have been nel catfish, flathead catfish, hybrid raised in the Lake Sangchris rearing striped bass, drum, crappies, sunfish pond since the pond’s construction in Fish regulations 1992. The pond was not functional for a three-year period due to a bad leak, but Largemouth bass – 15-inch miniit was rehabilitated and put back in use mum length limit with a creel limit in the spring of 2015. of three per day; crappies – 10-inch minimum length limit with a creel As for angler advice, DNR offers, limit of 10 fish per day; striped bass “Anglers can catch crappie on hundreds three fish per day over 17 inches of submerged Christmas trees and other structures within the entire lake Boat regulations: with spinners, jigs and minnows year25 horsepower limit round.” Lake information: Pure striped bass are non-native and 217-498-9208 have been stocked into Sangchris every other year since 1983. The striped bass DNR reported, adding that anglers can stocking program has produced some catch stripers near “striper point” located great fishing opportunities. The past in the northern portion of the lake in the several years have not produced many warmer months and in the hot water fish over 20 pounds, but there is a good middle arm of the lake when water is density of striped bass up to 14 pounds, being discharged in the winter. Stripers
Albers New Baden
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267 White Hall
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L O GLincoln AN
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March 918, 2016
North Pekin Mapleton
Grand Tower Makanda
East Cape Girardeau Ullin
51 can be caught using large spinnerbaits, crankbaits, spoons, jigs, crayfish or large minnows. The current state record of 31 pounds, 7 ounces was caught at Sangchris. Speaking of state-record fish, flathead catfish remain difficult to survey, but anecdotal evidence suggests angler catches are becoming more common. Lake Sangchris is approaching 50 years old and is developing a reputation for producing flathead catfish weighing over 50 pounds. The channel catfish population is doing well both in quantity and quality. Fish up to 8 pounds are surveyed most years. Anglers can catch channel catfish in the warmer months using bottom fishing techniques near deadfalls and woody debris with cut bait, shrimp, chicken livers or nightcrawlers.
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Mounds Mound City