Waiting on deer, waiting on perch and waiting on first ice lead this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
The biggest event in Illinois outdoors--firearm deer season--started Friday. More than 200,000 hunters will take to the fields and woods. The first firearm season ends Sunday. The second firearm season is Dec. 2-5.
There may be fancier tree stands, but mine (above) does just fine. Even if my hunting has not.
I expect big things from this firearm season. The weather is pretty good--a touch windy yesterday, but otherwise fine--and virtually all the corn is harvested across the state.
As of 7 p.m. Friday, forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton said call-in deer harvest was running 2,000 ahead of last year. I expect a significantly better season than last year.
PERCH PATIENT: The great wait in Chicago fishing is on. The boaters around the Indiana-Illinois stateline are doing OK, but that should get better as more explore. . . . Chicago shore fishermen have been having very spotty success, mainly for smaller perch. Navy Pier usually starts to go around Thanksgiving. That might be a reach this year.
FIRST ICE: Minocqua guide Kurt Justice of Island Sports thinks there is a chance of smaller lakes locking up next week. Looking at the wunderground.com forecast for Minocqua, I think it might be the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving when that happens.
For the third straight week, the count topped 10,000. On Tuesday, the count was 11,954. The peak is near.
As I said before, I highly recommend an evening or morning trip to see this. It is one of the most impressive sights around Chicago outdoors.
WATERFOWL HUNTING: Fresh birds are arriving. From the forecast, I would think there will be a big push around Thanksgiving. . . . Remember the second Canada goose season in the central zone opens Wednesday. . . . Waterfowl seasons open on Thanksgiving in the south zone.
ILLINOIS HUNTING NOTE: Monday is the last day to apply for deer late-winter, special hunt area lottery.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
HAWK WATCH: Another year, and another year I didn't make it to the Illinois Beach State Park Hawk Watch. It runs through Nov. 28. There's always next year. At least one counter/observer is there from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. daily (weather permitting). Click here for details.
SALMON SNAGGING: The fish are dark. 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: I was deer hunting, my great joy, yesterday, which is why I am behind posting WWW Chicago outdoors. . . . Today is the dedication of the Palmisano Park. As I wrote a month or so ago, this is the model for modern urban parks. . . . If I am back in time, I hope to spend an hour or two with my daughter on the deer stand. . . . Don't ask me why, but I accidentally applied for a free habitat area hunting permit, the greatest program in Illinois public hunting, on the last day of first season deer hunting. Brain cramp. So of course, that is the date I actually draw a permit. Oh well, it is a new area down past Peoria and I look forward to it. I always have second deer season.