With the way the weather is going back and forth (we had enough slush fall last night that some stuck), it's hard to know whether to hunt, fish or sit for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.
Let's begin with hunting. I know I am not alone in wanting to see the sight above, the view from my tree stand for deer hunting. Firearm season opens next Friday in Illinois.
Since the kids are off today, they are going out to help me check my stand out today. Then it is a matter of leaving it alone until next Friday.
Indiana's firearm season opens Saturday.
SIGHTING IN: The Illinois State Police will open five ranges for hunters to sight in and test fire shotguns from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The only Chicago-area range open is in Joliet. Contact Sergeant Chris Garibay--(815) 726-6377, ext. 255--to make reservations.
BOWHUNTING: I suspect this may end up being the biggest weekend of the year for big bucks by bowhunters. The wind last Sunday might have slowed last weekend's harvest enough that this weekend will be the big one. I know the bucks are moving like a bunch of a idiots.
UPLAND HUNTING: This morning with the frost and snow would have been a good one for rabbits. The reports I have had from those hunting pheasants on private land have been fair. Click here for the annual prospects put out by the Illinois DNR.
MUSKIE FISHING: It's that time of year: Shabbona, the Chain O'Lakes and even Evergreen. I am finally doing my long awaited trip to try the muskie on Green Bay with Capt. Kevin Pischke of Lay in a Line Guide Service. I have been hoping to do this for a long time.
CRAPPIE FISHING: Water is cooling into the 40s and crappie action should be picking up for the weekend. And the weather looks nice enough to bring fall crappie fishermen out.
INDIANA STREAMS FOR STEELHEAD: Steelhead came into the streams in the past week. Lake Michigan fisheries biologist Brian Breidert said streams are the best action going in northwest Indiana. For those without experience on the Indiana streams, click here for access points on Salt, Trail and the Little Cal.
WATERFOWL HUNTING: Fresh birds arrived in both Illinois and Indiana this week. This should be the best weekend so far or at least since opening day.
SANDHILL CRANES: The count of sandhill cranes at Jasper-Pulaski FWA near Medaryville, Ind. on Tuesday was 7,862. I suspect it is a lot higher by now with the weather change. This could be a good weekend to visit.
If you have never gone to the site southeast of Valparaiso, Ind., I highly recommend a fall trip. The sight and sounds of the cranes is something to behold. Best viewing is sunrise or sunset at Goose Pasture Viewing Area. But I find it worth touring the area to watch the sandhills in the surrounding fields, too. Click here to see, listen and learn details of the site.
ILLINOIS HUNTING BITS: The second dove season ends Sunday. . . . Rail hunting ends today. I do not know of a single person who ever shot a rail. Or at least nobody has told me they have.
ILLINOIS PERMITS/SEASONS: Applications are open online for late-winter deer special hunt area permits and for spring turkey permits.
SALMON SNAGGING: It's been one of the better falls for snagging. Snagging for chinook and coho is open on the Illinois lakefront at four locations only: Lincoln Park Lagoon south of Fullerton Avenue, Waukegan Harbor (North Harbor Basin only); Winnetka Power Plant discharge area and Jackson Park Harbor (inner and outer harbors). No snagging is allowed at any time within 200 feet of a moored watercraft or as posted.
PERSONAL PICKS: Kids are off today, so they are coming along to check out the deer stand. . . . My weekend is the muskie trip to Green Bay. I can't wait. . . . Work continues on an ongoing writing project. . . . Other than putting the finishing touches on a highlight show, I am caught up on "Outside", the radio show airing at 4:30 p.m. on Mondays and repeating at 12:30 p.m. Sundays on WKCC-FM (91.1).