There's a lot to choose from--sandhill cranes, pheasants, bucks--in this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
Let's start with sandhills for a change.
The Wednesday count topped 10,000 for the first time this fall. The peak nears.
I highly recommend an evening or morning trip to see this. It is one of the most impressive sights around Chicago outdoors.
WATERFOWL HUNTING: Some fresh birds have arrived with the wind shift. Not sure if it is enough to really kick in hunting or not. I hope to find out today and tomorrow.
BOWHUNTING DEER The rut is underway. Traditionally, this is the biggest weekend of the year for bowhunters. We'll see if that holds.
As of this morning, the bowhunting totals since Oct. 1 have exploded to reach 29,609. Click here if you're interested in keeping tabs on the running deer totals in Illinois.
ILLINOIS UPLAND HUNTING: Pheasant, quail, partridge and rabbit seasons open Saturday. The second dove season also opens Saturday. Click here for a preview of the upland seasons.
TURKEY SHOOT: From 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, the Northern Illinois Conservation Club had a turkey shoot. Click here.
ARCHERY: On Saturday, Chicago Bow Hunters JOAD program holds an indoor 450 round, ``Autumn Harvest Fun Shoot & Turkey Shoot'' in Bolingbrook. A summary of the target sizes is available at www.usarchery.org. The required pre-registration may be done by clicking here. For more information, contact Tom Havel at firstname.lastname@example.org. . . . Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
WAITING ON PERCH: There have been inklings of the return of the great fall bite in Chicago fishing, perch from shore and boat. But it has been spotty. Later this weekend, once the north winds go away, I would expect boaters to get out and try for perch again around Indiana and Cal Park.
We'll see. There were some from shore at Montrose earlier in the week. It should soon be time for some at Navy Pier.
WOLF RIVER WALLEYE: If you want a drive north, the walleye bite on the Wolf River from Fremont to New London, Wis. has been very good. Guide Bill Stoeger thought it will hold until ice-up, which is weeks away.
HAWK WATCH: With these hard north winds, I would expect to hear of a big day today. We shall see.
The Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch runs through Nov. 28. At least one counter/observer is there from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Click here for details.
WADING: The rivers are so low that those paddling or boating need to be aware. But that kind of fall lowness can be advantageous for fall waders, as long as you are conscious of sun direction and your silhouette, so you don't spook fish.
The Fox is the exception with a better flow because of the drawdown on the Chain.
And be aware that waterfowl hunting is open now in both the north and central zones. Frankly, very few are wading now.
Click here to check the status of rives around Chicago.
PADDLING: Chicago River Canoe and Kayak offers another weekend of Kankakee River Paddle & Crane Viewing in northwest Indiana on Saturday. Paddling begins about mid-day, then the crane viewing at Jasper-Pulaski FWA just before dusk. Make reservations at (773) 704-2663 or email@example.com.
SALMON SNAGGING: The fish are getting scruffy. Open spots on the Illinois lakefront are the inner and outer harbors at Jackson Park, Lincoln Park Lagoon from the Fullerton Avenue Bridge to the southern end of the Lagoon, Winnetka power plant discharge area and Waukegan Harbor (in North Harbor basin only). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted. Salmon snagging season ends Dec. 31.
PERSONAL PICKS: Waterfowl hunting will consume at least some of the weekend for me. . . . I need to get out tomorrow and try to kick out at least a few rabbits, hopefully with my neighbor. . . . And I need to do more touch-up work on my deer stand. I checked it earlier in the week, and there is work to do. That time nears.