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.
But the mallards in the central zone seem to like all the water they can find in the few harvested fields they can find.
If you are serious about the outdoors, you watch the weather and the farmers. All I know is that I feel fortunate that at least the Kankakee County farm where I hunt deer Andy was able to get in and harvest the beans. I think it will be weeks before he can get at the corn. But at least there will be some open space around my stand for the opener of firearm deer in three weeks (I am counting).
Things are starting to look very grim for crop harvest in time for the opening of small game seasons on Nov. 7.
Ken Gortowski sent this ghoulish crop report with a touch of gallows humor at the end:
I wasn't going to send you any more of these, but you would appreciate this.
Yorkville, to Oswego to Bolingbrook to Plainfield and back. Did all that today.
Virtually nothing cut yet.
Where Di works, one of the residents family members is a local farmer. As of today they said that it looks like they won't get anything cut till sometime in December, maybe January if the rain keeps up like it has.
They are all pretty grouchy about that.
DEER RUT: Next weekend should be the magic one for rutting bucks in Illinois, but this weekend should be good too. I am curious how much impact the weather will have on both the bowhunters and the deer.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL: The opener for waterfowl hunting seasons in Illinois' central zone is Saturday. The problem is many rivers will be high. The Illinois, for example, is projected to be several feet over flood stage at LaSalle.
I suspect it means places like Braidwood will be even more packed than usual.
Or if you are looking you have permission to hunt one of the flooded fields where ducks like these were flying Friday afternoon.
Remember, white-fronted goose hunting does not open in the central until Nov. 21.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL NOTES: White-fronted goose hunting opened today in Illinois' north zone. Otherwise, the big news remains the virtually halted crop harvest, corn harvest is only somewhere around or under 10 percent in northeast Illinois. And I doubt that is going to change anytime soon.
SATURDAY GOOD FOR HAWK WATCH? Vic Berardi posted on IBET, the birders list, that Saturday might be shaping up as a prime day for hawk watching at Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch.
Here's his note:
With only a few weeks of prime hawk watching left this fall I thought some may want to be aware that the weather for this coming Saturday is looking pretty good for raptor migration at the Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch. Obviously there are no guarantees and birds will do what they do when they do it. But this coming Saturday does have a lot of the right elements. I think raptor movement will start slow in the morning but will pick up as the day progresses.
At this time of the raptor migration season we expect to see mostly Red-tailed Hawks but other buteo species (Red-shouldered Hawks and Rough-legged Hawks) in smaller numbers should be coming through too. Most of the falcon migration is over but more may come through as well as the smaller accipiters. Both eagles and goshawk are possible also.
Again, no guarantees. But the outlook is very good.
Directions to the IBSP Hawk Watch:
Take I-94 to Route 173, exit and head east to Sheridan Road (approx. 8 miles)
Go north on Sheridan Road to 17th Street and go east (you'll see a Moose Lodge with a flag waving hard form the west wind)
Take 17th Street into the park and continue into the park and turn right at the sign for the Sand Prairie Day Use Area.
The count site is located at the first pavilion on the right.
For more info about our hawk watch go to:
https://www. hawkcount. org/siteinfo. php?rsite= 527
Dress warmer than you think you need to be!
TURKEY SHOOT: The Northern Illinois Conservation Club in Antioch will hold a turkey shoot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Rounds (25 shots) are $10. Those younger than 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Go to lakeonline.com/nicc/ or call (847) 395-NICC.
TURKEY HUNTING: Sunday is the final day for fall shotgun for wild turkeys in illinois. I have not seen harvest numbers from the IDNR and don't expect to until after the season.
PERSONAL PICKS: i had half an offer to hunt the waterfowl opener on the Kankakee River, but have not heard confirmation yet. Otherwise, my buddy Pete may convince me to make the trek to Emiquon on Sunday for some late bass fishing. it is shameful that I have not fished that yet. I have toured Emiquon, and fell in love.
Otherwise, this is a weekend for the kids. Halloween, in their minds, is close to as big as Christmas. That builds up good will I will use to disappear for a couple days next weekend for the opening of pheasant hunting.