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

October 2009 Archives

Some days, make that some weeks, you look out the window and are glad not to be a farmer. That rural thought leads this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.


``If you shut that damm thing off, I will tell you,'' Paul Martin had said over a late morning breakfast in December, 1991.

Paul Martin

Has the same white deer in this video, taken last winter, been spotted nearby in the south suburbs? Or is it a different one?

``Lake trout, lake trout, get your lake trout,'' Ed McCain said Tuesday morning. When weather allows, lakers off the Port of Indiana are the top bet and lead this week's Midwest Fishing Report.

I bumped into John Buhnerkempe in Springfield on Sunday. The head of wildlife resources for Illinois is beginning to wonder if the extremely slow and late crop harvest may even be so delayed as to impact the firearm season for deer in late November.


Fenwick junior Joey DiSomma earns Fish of the Week honors for a 22-inch largemouth caught near Downstate Cuba earlier this month.


Scott Lowery earns the first Buck of the Week honors for the 2009-10 season as much for where he bagged his 11-pointer as for the buck itself.


I don't know if readers are messing with me or want to take the Buck of the Week feature down two paths, but enough photos of big bucks running around Chicago and the suburbs have come in over the last week to force the start of another feature: Buck of the Week: Unplugged.

Statistical evidence of early signs of the rut came from bowhunters for deer in Illinois last week. And rain was the likely culprit as Illinois bowhunters finally dropped slightly off the record pace they had been on most of the fall for harvesting deer.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.--The bottom line in Illinois outdoors is the bottom line.


So I made it down theWit Hotel Saturday afternoon, and took a breath.


It started with an innocent e-mail question.


Regular readers know the restoration at Hennepin-Hopper outside of Hennepin along the Illinois River is one of my favorite conservation projects in Illinois.

Common carp have forced a rehabilitation, and that just makes me sad.


Ray Thompson, head of Illini Muskies Alliance, dug up some interesting figures from the Illinois Muskie Creel Survey 1987-2008 on Illinois muskie catching rates in response to today's outdoor column about caching 10 muskies in three hours on Spring Lake North.

In describing the fall period, Minocqua, Wisc. guide Kurt Justice summoned the spirit of Dennis Green: ``We're where we thought we are!?''


What do you call a mess of hedge apples on the ground?


Christy Schmidt earns Fish of the Week honors with this 22.5-inch largemouth weighing 4.75 pounds, as much for the fish as her sharp brother.


The record pace of bowhunting for deer and the opening of waterfowl seasons in the north zone headline this week's Illinois Hunting Report.


Some things just give me the willies.

Lady Bug

I'll admit I am a little surprised at the record pace of bowhunting for deer in illinoi.
Through Sunday, harvest stood at 17,408, the only year close that pace was the 16,228 through the same period in 2006.

MANITO, Ill.--There was a whole of this kind of splashing going on Sunday afternoon when my buddy Pete and I boated and released double-digits in muskies Spring Lake.


America's Outdoor Show

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Jim Sugarman thinks bear markets are a good time to try the outdoor show business.


``Load'em up, it's shootin' time,'' Jeff Norris said.


The Natural Conservancy announced today details for waterfowl hunting at Emiquon Preserve, the innovative Downstate restoration project by the Illinois River, beginning later this month. The fishing opportunities, great ones we might add, were opened earlier this year, and will be halted during the hunting hours.


``We is hosed for the opener,'' Jeff Norris e-mailed Thursday. It's a weekend for openers.

The Saturday openers for fall trout fishing and north zone waterfowl hunting headline this Wild Weekend Wanderings for Chicago outdoors. Actually, there's all kinds of stuff this weekend, inside (movie shorts) and out (trout, geese, Root River tour), for the outdoor sort.


A couple days ago Ed Bowen sent some photos of sandhill cranes passing over on Sunday.


I was torn on what photo to use as the lead to the story of Freddie March's first deer during illinois' record-setting youth firearm deer hunt over the weekend.


The big story for the Midwest Fishing Report is the opening of fall trout season in Illinois on Saturday. But there's also the fall white bass run going on the Illinois River (and sauger) and hot crappie bite on the Wolf River.


The opening of the north zone waterfowl seasons headline this week's Illinois Hunting Report, as well as a record youth deer hunt, a continued record pace in bowhunting for deer and a continued slow crop.


Johnny James had a surprise while casting for kings off Casino pier on Saturday. The South Sider latched into a laker, and the 7.23-pound surprise earns him Fish of the Week honors.


In the 21st Century, Illinois is the runaway leader for trophy whitetail entries in the Boone and Crockett Club's record book.


I am in the process of tracking down more on the sale of the Chicagoland Outdoor Show. Details to come.

The early bowhunting harvest in Illinois (11,945 through Sunday) continues on a record pace and the the weekend youth hunt posted a record harvest of 2,304 (RECORD NOTE ADDED)..

I figured Sunday's outdoors column in the Sun-Times considering the place of Bass Pro Shops: The Strike in the world of outdoors would draw some opposing thoughts.

I mean that on many levels.

Thursday afternoon. Dripping and dismal outside. I'm behind on my Chicago Marathon work, behind in Sunday's outdoors stuff. Just gray all over in and out. God I hate fall. How's that for a cheery leadin to this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors.

And the phone rings


The Illinois River was in a giving mood for sauger over the weekend. That, lakefront salmon snagging and crappie on Wisconsin's Wolf River headline the Midwest Fishing Report. We apologize for the lateness.


A record opening four days of bowhunting for deer, despite an extremely slow crop harvest, lead this week's Illinois Hunting Report.


The Kankakee River has given up a number of big walleye this year. With that in mind,
Chuck Cook earns Fish of the Week honors for this walleye caught around the Kankakee River State Park in August.


Faithful Sun-Times subscriber T. Z. Manuel mounted a linguistic argument against stuffed as an ``authenic descriptor'' in outdoor writing.


Even factoring in that the first four days of the 2009 bowhunting season for deer in Illinois included a full weekend, the numbers of deer reported were impressive.

The outdoors is a place big enough for many things, most important for me is finding a small niche of calmness.


Co-angler Jerry Chwierut took second in the Walmart FLW Walleye Tour Championship presented by Berkley on the Missouri River in Bismarck, N.D. That adds to an impressive resume on the FLW Walleye Tour that includes a co-angler title in 2006 on Lake Oahe in South Dakota.

How in the world are we to get a hokey way to forecast the winter? There are no woolly bears. This photo is from late last summer.


With rain nearly statewide for the opening of bowhunting for deer in Illinois on Thursday, the harvest was down as expected.

I was trying to find street parking west of the river when the announcement came over The Score that Chicago had the least votes and was eliminated from the 2016 Olympic bid. There's probably some symbolism there in trouble finding parking in Chicago.

Waiting on word whether Chicago gets the 2016 Olympics tops the pile for this Wild Weekend Wanderings around Chicago outdoors. Otherwise, there is some shoreline fishing, especially with flows spiking on the Root River, and bowhunting opened Thursday.

We knew it was coming, but still the video is shocking.

The weekend rains brought in fish to the Root. And the Wisconsin DNR has set up a nice system for reporting on the doings for fishermen of the Root. Details below.

On Monday, Brad Remington caught and released a near-record tiger muskie from Apple Canyon Lake in northwest Illinois. (Sorry, photo did not attach originally.)


On a professional level, I fear what the Olympics will do to Chicago fishing and general lakefront use, yet see a great opportunity. On a personal level, there is no question that the Olympics coming to Chicago in 2016 will be a once-in-a-lifetime chance for myself and my family.


About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from October 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

September 2009 is the previous archive.

November 2009 is the next archive.

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