Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

November 2008 Archives

One of my greatest joys of deer hunting is the time on my hands.

And the chance to observe wildlife over extended time from the shelter of a stand.

Last Sunday was a bounty of bonus pleasures.

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Fox squirrels played all day, wind or no wind. I finally took the picture of this one late afternoon when he started hopping near me. You have to look close.

The highlight came early morning when I watched a mink slink and flit along the ditch shore, then disappear up a pipe.

A sharp-shinned hawk made a kill on the other side of the fencerow, then ate a few trees away.

Near dusk, when I am in a heightened state of awareness to begin with, an opossum gave me the willies rustling through the leaves.

And, almost to the minute at sunset, owls coasted along the fencerows, hooting the night in.

Half an hour later, it was time. To climb down and join the regular world.

Ice on

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The only kink might be the snowstorm forecast Sunday night.

Otherwise, ice fishing is underway in scattered pockets across northern Illinois.

``Today they are ice fishing,'' Greg Dickson at Triangle said Friday morning.

That's on some of the southern Wisconsin lakes, Chain backwaters and East Loon in particular.

We're still in that time, especially if it snows Sunday, when it is best to check with somebody like Triangle--(847) 395-0813--for the Chain, or Hermann's in Port Barrington--(847) 639-9644--for the Fox River backwaters.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The possibility of lakefront perch for Thanksgiving and building ice in northern Wisconsin headline the Midwest Fishing Report this week.

This is the extended online version of the MFR, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

Words you don't want to hear: ``Dale - you should have been there.'' Here's why.

Paul Pezalla had invited me to fish carp Sunday, but I was still sitting in the deer stand.

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All he did Sunday morning, Nov. 23, was catch and release a 38-pound, 2-ounce carp from the Chicago River. It is his personal best and possibly the largest doucement carp from the Chicago River.

And a worthy Fish of the Week.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. An extended online version is posted here about midnight Tuesday.

Here's the tale.

Henry Martinez sent this photo, which earned Buck of the Week honors for Illinois first firearm deer season.

The Lockport man is a hunting mentor to his friends in Homer Glen, Beto Martinez (no relation) and his son Andres. They hunted Mercer County in first firearm season, which ended Sunday.

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As much for the photo as the deer, the nine-pointer taken by Andres earns BOTW.

An extended online version of BOTW, which tops the Illinois Hunting Report during deer season in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is posted here on Tuesdays.

The story is below.

Illinois deer hunters reported a preliminary total of 71,894 deer harvested in the first firearm season, Friday through Sunday, Nov. 21-23.

That compares to 85,490 deer taken during the first season in 2007. Second season is Dec. 4-7.

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But there were some monster bucks taken, such as this one by Donny Krull in Randolph County on Sunday. It is expected to net more than 200 inches.

Complete breakdown of the preliminary results from the IDNR is below.

Wisconsin opener down

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Opening weekend for Wisconsin deer hunters was down.

The preliminary harvest for Saturday and Sunday was 133,828, down 22 percent from opening weekend from 2007. The nine-day season ends Sunday, Nov. 30.

The complete release is here.

Here's the gist:

MADISON - In conditions that varied from sub-zero to chilly and overcast on opening morning, hunters participating in the traditional November 9-day gun deer hunt registered a preliminary tally of 133,828 deer over the first two days of the hunt a 22 percent decrease from 2007. Buck harvest statewide was down 25 percent and antlerless harvest declined 20 percent. A preliminary count for the two-day opening weekend in 2007 counted 171,584 deer registered. Department of Natural Resources officials stress that this is a preliminary call-around tally that will change when all registration stubs are submitted by registration stations and entered into the department's registration data base.

Wildlife officials say several factors likely contributed to the lower count including lower deer numbers after several years of herd reduction strategies, very cold hunting conditions on opening morning in northern units, a late opening weekend that missed the peak of the rutting season, poor fawn recruitment this year, and tough winter conditions last year after a string of mild winters.

"Although this is a preliminary count, we may be seeing the result of a tough winter and several seasons designed bring deer numbers down. DNR staff across the state reported that hunters were seeing fewer deer and hearing fewer shots this year," said DNR deer biologist Keith Warnke. "Hunters' efforts appear to be having a positive effect on lowering overpopulations of deer in many areas."

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The top story is the first firearm season, which ended Sunday. As of Tuesday morning, the preliminary numbers were not out. When they come, I will post them separately.

For now, it is back to bowhunting.

Porterbuck

Bowhunter Sean Porter bagged this beauty in LaSalle County earlier this month. I bumped into the Morris High School teacher this spring on opening day of fishing at LaSalle Lake.

And he had a good story for his first buck:

``I got to my stand at about 5:30 am and saw nothing but three raccoons and a beautiful sunrise until about 8:00 when I saw this buck come in I shot him at about 20 yards. The shot was not as good as I would have liked so I waited to get him. I went home and had lunch with my wife (married sept.19th). Then we went out to get him around 12:00. This is my first buck. I have been bow hunting four years on the same land now. After watching many young bucks pass, persistence has paid off.''

Married and first buck in the same year. That's something.

And, I hope persistence pays off for me too (eventually).

During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the Illinois hunting report, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

Full report follows.

``We don't know what to do.''

IDNR employees are in a state of befuddlement. That and similar remarks came from multiple employees at state sites on Monday. Are they staying or going? Will there be layoffs? If so, how many?

On a related note, research shows the closures have a bias against Republican counties.

We'll get to Nate Teske, his 275-pound 8-point buck and muskie fishing on Lake Shelbyville with friends on their way to the Bears game in St. Louis.

teskebuck11-08%20Big%20Buck

4 p.m. I turned the phone on so the alarm will go at the absolute last minute of hunting time. Day 3 of Illinois' first firearm season and I was still hoping for the big buck to pass near my tree stand again.

A minute later the phone vibrated. Now, even in my heightened state of awareness as dusk came, I knew the difference between 1 minute and 57.

I can only imagine what the massive flight of 42 whooping cranes reported in northern Indiana on Tuesday must look like.

Alan Anderson, the Des Plaines birder, often forwards things like this. He found this one on the Indiana bird list about a series of sightings through LaGrange and Elkhart counties.

Something like that would tend to get noted.

As whooping cranes make a slow recovery, the migrating birds are being sighted in the oddest places, including Chicago. This is the largest group I've ever heard of.

But the people doing the reporting caught my eye: Myron Bontreger, Perry Miller, Dave Schwartz and Dan Stoltzfus.

Were these guys the famous Amish birders from northern Indiana? Then I reread how the reports were coming via phone, and I doubt it.

I first met the Amish birders in southern Michigan some years ago when a friend dragged me to see sandhill cranes. It was something to see them pile out of a rented van and join the rest scoping the sandhills.

Apparently, they are well known and respected in the Michiana area. There is a universal appeal in wondering what is out there.

I envy Wisconsin where the PR folks for their DNR put out an opening day report for the gun deer season and follow-ups throughout the nine-day season.

This is just the opening two paragraphs that came Saturday afternoon on opening day.

``2008 Opening Day Deer Hunting Report MADISON - Cold, but nearly ideal hunting conditions - except for a lack of tracking snow in most of the state - greeted hunters for the opening of the 2008 Wisconsin regular nine-day deer hunting season. Temperatures were below zero in northern Wisconsin when the season opened at 30 minutes before sunrise Saturday. But temperatures warmed throughout the day and most areas of the state reported it was a near ideal opening day.


``People working at many places that register deer for the Department of Natural Resources reported that throughout the day activity was slower than normal, likely because, with the cold weather, there was no need to rush in to register deer to preserve the meat. Deer could be left hanging at deer camps, allowing hunters to stay in the field. Many stations reported that they expected to be swamped with registration activity after sunset.''

The complete report is posted at here.

Opening day of deer

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Now, I love a sunrise and sunset as much as the next guy.

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But you know if I'm posting sunset photo for opening day, I was still in the stand at closing time. Illinois' first firearm deer season runs through Sunday, Nov. 23.

To make matters worse, when I got home and checked my inbox, there were several really nice bucks nominated for Buck of the Week that had just arrived from bowhunters. Nothing yet for BOTW from successful firearm hunters. E-mail them to outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

The morning I didn't do anything more than freeze and fidget too much with the yips of civilization. That's about par for me. The only natural thing was watching a fox squirrel brave the northwest winds to forage in the cornfield.

The afternoon was better. I finally relaxed down into a natural rhythm and let my mind empty.

About 3, a nice buck materialized from the cornfield, made a one-second appearance, then disappeared into the fencerow. It is always a mystery to me how something that big can appear and disappear so quickly.

About 10 minutes later, a doe pranced out, which put me on edge for the next half hour to no avail. The buck never showed again.

As the sun set, two owls began hooting and gliding along distant fencerows to the east and west.

It was time.

To add insult, four deer were walking the edge as I climbed down from the stand.

Tomorrow is Day 2. I love it.

Without input from Mayor Daley's Fishing Advisory Committee, the Chicago Park District decided to sell pier passes at ice rinks. But not until Friday, Nov. 28.

Now, I don't have a major problem with selling pier passes, which grant legal access to certain piers in the off season for boating, at the ice rinks instead of Henry's Sports/Marine, except for all these reasons:

It strikes me as logistical nightmare
Fishermen are more apt to be in Henry's than an ice rink, even a neighborhood one
Fishemen fish early, hours before ice rinks open
Staff at Henry's knows more about the passes and any issues than staff at the ice rinks

And bottom line, and this really gets under my skin, the whole reason for the formation of Mayor Daley's fishing committee in the first place was to deal with just this sort of issue with input from actual fishermen, not just desk people at the park district.

It's a slap at everybody who ever invested the time to attend or participate in the fishing committee meetings.

If I get more reasoning from the park district why the decision was made this way, I will post again.

Until then, below is the information for purchasing pier passes from the park district:

It looks like the photo of a possible world-record buck, forwarded by Dave Olzeski and posted here on Nov. 7, was more than an Internet rumor.

bigbuck2Roger_Jarvis_002

TrophyWatch at the Boone and Crockett Club's Web site lists it as a pending world record as of today.

Thanks to Olzeski, a Park Ridge realtor, for the heads up on the non-typical buck, which measured 319 inches. Trophy racks are scored in inches by adding and subtracing various measurements.

Here are the sketchy details from B&C.

``November 19, 2008 This buck is reported to have been taken by Roger Jarvis and is a pending B&C World's Record at 319.


The current World's Record non-typical whitetail deer was found in St. Louis County, Missouri in 1981 and was entered by the Missouri Department of Conservation on behalf of the citizens of Missouri. It scores 333-7/8 B&C.

More information as details become available.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

Ice building in northern Wisconsin, sporadic perch on the Chicago lakefront, Chicago pier pass issues headline the Midwest Fishing Report. And we introduce a couple new contributors for the Des Plaines River, of all places.

perch11-11-08onice

This mess of perch was taken out of East Chicago Marina last week with Capt. Chuck Weis. As I uploaded the photo, I realized it was slugged ``perch11-11-08onice.'' And at a quick glance ``on ice'' reads like ``o nice.'' I kind of like that.

But let us get back from my wandering brain. Weis called Tuesday and said he put his boat away with the string of weather in recent days. However, those perch are there for those who still have their boats available.

This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

First the ice in northern Wisconsin.

After classes at Loyola University on Nov. 11, Andrew Ragas took two friends and novice walleye fishermen, Dan Sims of Evergreen Park and John Dyers of Addison, night fishing on the Des Plaines River in the western suburbs.

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Beginners luck is not a bad thing. Sims caught what Ragas justily called ``the greatest first-ever walleye anyone could ever imagine:'' It was a 28-inch walleye, estimated to weigh between 6 and 7 pounds and earns Fish of the Week honors.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. Photos and extended versions are posted here, usually around midnight Tuesday.

Hang on, Ragas has quite the tale of Sims' walleye, which I enjoy as much for being caught in the Des Plaines as I do for being a notable first-time walleye.

This is the stuff deer hunters dream of.

13-point

Chris Fitzgerald arrowed this 13-point in Kendall County the evening of Nov. 1. The buck and the story earns him Buck of the Week honors, a perfect one leading into the opening of the first firearm season on Friday, Nov. 21.

BOTW tops the Illinois Hunting Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, generally into December or so. An extended online version is posted here on Tuesday.

Here's the story of the 22-year-old from Warrenville:

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The big question is the progression of rut for the opening of Illinois first firearm deer season on Friday, Nov. 21. The first season runs through Sunday, Nov. 23.

Downstate bow guru and scorer Tim Walmsley e-mailed,

``The adults bucks are DOED up hard- Hovering over them right now- and will search every 3 days or so for a new one- Friday gun seasons basically ENDS the 08 rut when the war starts!''

Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton said,

``Although the peak of the rut will have passed, there will still be a significant amount of rutting activity.''

Otherwise, preparations for firearm deer season is underway for the opener when more than 200,000 hunters will take to the fields and woods with hopes of putting a dent in Illinois' 800,000-strong herd.

deerstand11-16-08lumber

This pile of lumber and nails evolved into the most impressive tree stand I will have hunted from after brothers Tony and Andy Smith helped me Sunday.

During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the Illinois hunting report, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays.

With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if needed.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

Full report follows.

I'm driving down Route 1 Saturday evening and give the waterfowl on a roadside lake a quick scan.

There, sprinkled like grains of salt in a teaspoon of pepper, were about half a dozen snow geese scattered through dozens of Canada geese.

I calculated it would be too dark to make a return trip and take a photo, but figured they would still be there at dawn.

geese11-16-08-2

Guess again.

Walleye were again stocked in Wolf Lake Thursday afternoon.

This one I wasn't sure would happen. Nor was Bruce Caruso, the Indiana steelworker who has been the prime driving force behind the stockings since they began in the mid-1990s.

``I was getting nerved up about the testing,'' Caruso said.

A special thanks this time goes to Dr. Jennifer Strasser, who spent her own time to help the ad-hoc stocking group get the needed pre-entry form from the Indiana Board of Animal Health.

DaleWalleye001

And the 11th annual privately-financed walleye stocking went into the lake on the border of Chicago and Northwest Indiana as scheduled mid-afternoon Thursday.

Thanks to Carl Vizzone, the North Sider is another one of the prime movers over the years in the stocking, for the photos.

Chasing big bucks chasing

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Big bucks are on the move with one thing on their minds.

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This one came from Don Rieve of Mokena:

``I shot this deer on 11/10/08 at 9AM. It has 2 broken tines on the right but would have been a nice 11 pointer. Field dressed over 210 lbs. killed in Iroquois county Il. picture taken by 80 year old farmer lady Phyllis a real sweetheart she loves deer hunters.''

In part I can tell from the Buck of the Week nominations. For some reason, it's been a year for some big 11-pointers, including a couple beauts that came in last night from Iroquois and Schulyer counties.

The best nomination so far is a 13-pointer. BTW, keep nominations coming to outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

This time of the year, the peak of the rut, is when I regret not being a bowhunter.

Park Ridge realtor Dave Olzeski, an avid bowhunter who has been kind enough the last few years to keep me updated during the rut, sent this a day or two ago:

OVERALL OUTLOOK

We're in the November doldrums before ice begins forming to the north, and that may be as close as next week.

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But there is still some good fishing, such as this pair of fine walleye caught by North Sider Zee Drnovsek, a former Yugoslavian, from the St. Joseph River. ``Catfish Dave'' Bradigan sent the photo.

The main highlights are perch in Lake Michigan on the Illinois/Indiana border for boaters, and sauger on the Illinois River.

This is the extended online version of the Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. Normally, I post the online MFR by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

This weather already has me dreaming of summer and catfish like this one caught by Richard Huber, all of 13, back in September.

FOTW11-12-08

He caught the 30-inch, 10-pound cat from Channel Lake. For the fish, and for being a newspaper-reading kid, he earns a belated Fish of the Week honor.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday. An extended online version is generally posted here around midnight Tuesday.

Here's Huber's tale.

Dave Smith of Tinley Park earns Buck of the Week honors with this thick-racked Indiana buck.

BOTW11-09buck 010

BOTW tops the Illinois Hunting Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, generally from November into December or so.

Here's Smith's story:

``I arrowed him on Halloween afternoon in Vermillion county, Indiana. He's my biggest to date.9 pointer, 200 lbs.''

Works for me.

E-mail BOTW photos and stories to outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

Big bucks are moving. That's the main story of Illinois hunting.

buckracks

This time of the year, with the rut, is how we get Downstate living rooms with walls filled like this.

As Park Ridge realtor Dave Olzeski, a hard-core bowhunter, put it on Friday: ``[I] saw several large bucks throughout today. They were roaming and not chasing. The wind, cold, rain and snow got them moving.''

Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton backed that up, ``Harvest rates [for bowhunters] over the weekend were significantly higher than in the past, with harvests higher than 2500 on both days, in spite of windy conditions.'' His latest figures for deer hunting are detailed below.

And, at least in northeast Illinois, Sunday's weather brought a spike in waterfowl hunting at public sites.

During the hunting seasons, an extended online version of the Illinois Hunting Report, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays. This one was posted on a Monday.

With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if deemed important.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

Full report follows.

After extended weather delays getting out of Wisconsin, the eighth ultralight-led migration of young whooping cranes crossed into Illinois on Monday, Nov. 10.

This year the whoopers will fly the length of Illinois, instead of circling the Chicago area.

On Monday, the 14 endangered whoopers and their surrogate parents--four ultralight aircraft--reached Winnebago County on their 1,285 mile-migration from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin to Chassahowitzka and St. Marks NWR along Florida's Gulf Coast.

For teachers and parents who are keeping kids interested in outdoor stuff like this (and those who like lively outdoor writing), I think the best way to follow the whoopers is by reading the daily field journal entries at http://operationmigration.org/Field_Journal.html.

The IDNR release is posted below.

On IBET, the network for Illinois Birders, Craig Taylor forwarded a post on Halloween about a snowy owl in Milwaukee with the admonition to be on the lookout for snowy owls

Good advice.

Apparently they are coming. The big news over the weekend was a snowy owl found by Beau Schaefer at Gillson Park in Wilmette early Saturday, Nov. 8.

By Sunday morning, Evanston bird photographer Jerry Goldner has some wonderful photos posted at his Profiles of Nature site at http://www.profilesofnature.com/snowyowl.html.

The past week was enough to fire me up.

The beauty of Internet bucks

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Friends and faithful readers have been busy sending photos of big bucks.

Apparently, the big boys have been busy. Then again, you never know with the buck photos passed around on the Internet, they almost are reborn with a second life passed from hunter to hunter.

bigbuckquestion

Does anybody know anything about this buck? Supposedly a record from Illinois? It was forwarded by an Iowa friend of Joe McCartin.

bigbuck2Roger_Jarvis_002

Or this one, possible world record bagged in Missouri, forwarded by bowhunter Dave Olzeski..

Any help, post below or e-mail me at oudoordb@sbcglobal.net.

For Buck of the Week, I've had entries for deer taken in Indiana and Iowa. (And I am sure shortly from Michigan and Wisconsin, too.)

My instinct is to follow my general rule for Fish of the Week, if the story (and animal) from a Chicago-area angler/hunter is good enough, it is eligible.

If you have thoughts post below, even better or with BOTW nominations e-mail me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

Bowhunting for deer in Illinois has slowed (I'm guessing because of the heat) and the fall gun season for turkey was down.

Latest figures from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton are below.

Hendee memorial

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Here are the details of the memorial for Jim Hendee, thanks to Fred Yurk.

Mr. Hendee, the helpful fixture at the former Ed Shirley Sports at Morton Grove and long-time tournament fishermen, died last week.

His memorial will be at noon Saturday at the Glenview United Methodist Church, 727 Harlem Avenue, Glenview.

Yurk fished with Mr. Hendee and said he was grateful that they had one last ``nice outing at Boulder Junction in June.''

OVERALL OUTLOOK

The freaky warm November weather has some nice catches going on Chicago-area ponds and lakes.

chucks pics 013

Here is Chuck Landeros (a Sox hat always makes a fisherman look better) with a nice largemouth, well, let him tell it,

``I caught two 3 lb fish on back to back casts at the tail end of my outing. I caught them on an Rapala X-Rap about 1 in the afternoon at a local DuPage county lake.''

Otherwise, perch are going in Indiana when boaters can get out and white bass and sauger are good on the Illinois River.

This is the extended online Midwest Fishing Report, which appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. I try to post the MFR here by Wednesday morning.

If you have suggestions, post in the comments section or let me know at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net.

What a way to get your first muskie.

FOTW11-05-08

And have it be a fine 38-incher from the Fox River . . . while fly fishing for walleye.

That's just what Richard Harris did Sunday while fishing near Yorkville.

To make it better, the Plano man was using a jig his wife Susan tied that morning. For that kind of story and catch, he earns Fish of the Week honors.

FOTW tops the Midwest Fishing Report each Wednesday in the Sun-Times. An extended version is posted here usually about midnight Tuesday.

OVERALL OUTLOOK

Hunters lined up for the opening of upland game on Saturday, despite near-record heat.

pheasants11-01-08liningup

This crew was working fields in the border of Iroquois and Ford counties near Paxton.

The other big news is big bucks are beginning to move, as witnessed by the 13-pointer Brandon Lipke bagged in 70 degrees on Sunday, earning him the fall's first Buck of the Week.

In other good news, crop harvest is picking up, though it remains behind. By Sunday, corn was 66 percent harvested; while soybeans are nearing completion at 90.

During the hunting seasons, the extended online Illinois Hunting Report, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesday, is posted here on Tuesdays.

If you have suggestions, email me at outdoordb@sbcglobal.net or post in the comments.

Full report follows.

Big bucks really began moving last week. Even with the heat on Sunday, Brandon Lipke brought down a worthy buck to open Buck of the Week for 2008.

botw11-05-08best

BOTW tops the Illinois Hunting Report in the Sun-Times each Wednesday from about the beginning of November until usually December or so. An extended online version will appear here sometime on Tuesday.

Here's more on the Elwood man's 13-point buck bagged on private land in Will County.

Every good bait/tackle shop has a Jim Hendee, or a couple of them.

Mr. Hendee died last week. A memorial service will be held Saturday in the north suburbs, said guide ``Jimmy T'' Templin, who worked with Hendee at the former Ed Shirley Sports in Morton Grove.

For those on the North Side or north suburbs, Mr. Hendee was the standard bearer of information when you stopped at the Shirley's on Dempster.

And tournament fishermen knew him for his success fishing circuits like Big Bucks on the Chain.

The size of it

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CLARENCE, Ill.--Ken Abraham looked over Saturday morning and asked, ``Well, what do you think of the mob scene?''

pheasant11-01-08thewaiting

I had finagled an invite for opening day of pheasants from Gerry ``The General'' Rodeen. His merry band of hunters, associated with the Pioneer chapter of Pheasants Forever, work the fields and ditches around the border of Iroquois and Ford counties.

As dawn came, Rodeen organized 20 hunters milling around ``The Shed.'' It was an event filled with the usual guy backtalk mixed with serious weighing of hunting options.

A couple hours later, on a drive from one field to another, that Abraham, a long-time outdoorsman from Schaumburg, popped the question.

And I had a answer about the style of hunting I prefer.

Maybe the headline should be ``Journal to `Hurry up and wait.' ''

As of Saturday, the ultralight-led migration of young whooping cranes remained stranded in Green County, Wisconsin. For nearly two weeks, we have been expecting the whoopers to cross into Illinois and take the new route down the center of the state on their journey to Florida, instead of the old route that circled Chicago and into Indiana.

Weather has the final say, and the whoopers stay.

But the journal entries of the stranded staff make for interesting reading. It reminds me of the couple years early in my life that I spent in television news, where the mantra was ``Hurry up and wait.''

Here's a taste from Brooke Pennypacker's entry on Saturday, Nov. 1. It should be titled, ``When bathtubs fly,'' but you'll have read more than this taste to know why:

PAXTON, Ill.--The day was wonderful, too wonderful and too warm.

Even so, it was a solid opening day for pheasants Saturday in Illinois, at least for those of us connected to Gerry ``The General'' Rodeen and his band of hunters associated with the Pioneer chapter of Pheasants Forever.

pheasant11-01-08patrickfeely

Patrick Feely of Spring Branch, Texas holds one of the 22 cockbirds 20 of us bagged on the border of Ford and Iroquois counties. Feely was with a group from Texas that gives vets free hunts near San Antonio and was invited here by Rodeen.

Rodeen, who helped found the Pioneer chapter of Pheasants Forever, the first chapter in Illinois, commands the mob scene of dogs and hunters and keeps it sane.

The heat drove us to a long lunch--brats, hamburgers, roasted turkey, chili, ham and beans, chips, salads and Hazel's cookies in ``The Tool Shed''--to rest ourselves and the dogs.

We made a couple more passes in the afternoon heat for the final two birds and knew--It was time--and stopped about 3:30.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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