Showtime tops this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors, but there are other options, too.
BEAR DOWN SHOWTIME: I already did the Boat Show by myself on Thursday, and plan to be back with the family tomorrow. Today I hope to hit both the All-Canada Show at Pheasant Run in St. Charles and the Chicago Muskie Show at Harper College in Palatine. Both run through Sunday.
It's hard for me to think like this, but not everybody is a football or Bears fan. If you're not, Sunday is a rare opportunity to visit the outdoor shows, there should be plenty of room to roam. The Boat Show is even running a special $5 online ticket deal on Sunday only.
DEER AND TURKEY HUNTING: The second part of the late-winter and special CWD deer seasons in select counties ends Sunday, the same day that bowhunting for turkey and deer ends.
OPEN-WATER FISHING: If you're sick of ice, shore fishing is open again at Powerton Lake, the cooling lake outside of Pekin, from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. It is a wonderful lake for white bass, catfish, flatheads, blue catfish and smallmouth. . . . Otherwise, try below a dam or at a discharge on the Fox or Kankakee, or many spots on the Chicago River system in the city or some of the steelhead tribs in Indiana.
PERMITS/LICENSES: On Monday, the 2011 Illinois hunting, fishing and combination licenses become available . . . On Tuesday, the application period opens online for 2011 Spring Youth Turkey Hunt permits for IDNR Special Hunt Areas.
ICE FISHING: We have safe ice everywhere, even the Chicago harbors are generally locked up. The best results are on local retention and farm ponds. The perch fishing on the Chicago harbors remains variable with a lot of sorting for keepers.
EAGLE WATCHING: With more rivers locking up, really locking up, eagles are concentrating again below the dams. If you're really serious about it and want to do it this weekend, your best bet still is to hit the dams along the Mississippi River.
MIDEWIN LECTURE SERIES: This is one of those things I keep meaning to do and haven't. The first in the Midewin Lecture Series is at 7 p.m. Thursday with Sharon Peterson of Incredible Bats on the management and protection of bats and their habitats. It's free. It's at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Supervisor's Office outside of Wilmington. Call (815) 423-6370 or click here.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers beginner courses and much more regularly. Click here.
PERSONAL PICKS: I already did the Boat Show, and plan to be back Saturday with my family. . . . Today I hope to hit both the Muskie Show and All-Canada shows. . . . Sunday is filled, between church and the Bears game. . . . I really need to do some ice fishing on the Chicago harbors, maybe next week. . . . The kids and I will get in a hike today. Not sure where yet. . . . Again, much of my spare time is tied up with working on ``Outside,'' the radio show Joel Greenberg and I are doing at 4:30 p.m. Mondays on WKCC-FM (91.1).