The question mark is for ice conditions or the existence of ice for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors; the certainties are Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Show this weekend and hunting for shed antlers, at least the hunting part will be a certainty.
By far the big draw this weekend, to the tune of more than 10,000, will be the Tinley Park Fishing and Outdoor Show Saturday-Sunday at Tinley Park High School.
Fisheries chief Debbie Bruce will speak at 1 p.m. Saturday, followed by IDNR director Marc Miller at 2:30 p.m.
The other show I keep meaning to attend is the Henry Decoy Show on Sunday at the Henry-Senachwine High School. I can't make it this year because I need to cover Beat the Champs, a charity bowling event for the Sun-Times.
At Henry, there will be free appraisals (some beautiful old birds came in last year) by Rick Sandstrom of Midwest Decoy Collectors Association, Jon Deeter of Guyette, Schmidt & Deeter, and others.
ICE EVENT: The big one is the 52nd annual Chain O' Lakes Fishing Derby and Winter Festival, sponsored by the Northern Illinois Conservation Club. Even with our iffy ice conditions, it will go on Saturday and Sunday. It's headquartered at the Thirsty Turtle on Channel Lake.
Considering the cold over the next few days, the south end of Channel just might have fishable ice for the event. There's some $5,000 worth of prizes and such.
SHED HUNTING: It's that's time. A friend is anxiously watching his trail cams, then we are going to hit when it looks like most are dropping antlers. Which I suspect will be in the next week or two.
PERCH FISHING: I got a note last night that they were still catching perch in the Cal, boat and shore, but it was taking lots of sorting for keepers. With the northerly blow coming, the river may be the best spot for perch fishing this weekend.
HUNTING REMINDER: Squirrel season ends Wednesday in Illinois. Also on Wednesday, state site hunter harvest cards are due.
ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.
PERSONAL PICKS: Plan to meet Mokena ice fisherman and budding author Alan Epich for lunch today. See how that goes. . . . I will be at Tinley on Saturday to hear Bruce and Miller and see the show. . . . Not sure what the family outing will be this weekend beyond the Auto Show tonight, but I suspect it will be like last weekend when I used it as an excuse to hunt for sheds on Sunday. . . . I am back into the swing of my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1), for which I am soloing now. And I am enjoying pulling shows together, including doing a couple more this morning. . . . And I am back to working on an ongoing writing project, as feverishly as I can.