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WWW Chicago outdoors: Gone Country, Fair enough

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From the Illinois State Fair to camo Sox hat night, there's options for this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.


Let's start with the Illinois State Fair. I realize that this is more of a Downstate activity, but I love it. Conservation World, he 30-acre park on the north end of the state fairgrounds, offers all kinds of outdoors-related activities for families.


And let's face it, if you want you can go hog wild.

SOX IN CAMO: Some tickets remain for ``Outdoor Channel Night at U.S. Cellular Field'' Saturday with Mark Zona of ``Zona's Awesome Fishing Show'' throwing out the first pitch. The first 20,000 fans receive a camouflage Sox hat.

BEARS IN BOURBONNAIS: One of my great hopes in recent years has been that the thousands of Bears fans coming for Bears training camp in Bourbonnais every year would learn to appreciate the world-class recreation opportunities of the Kankakee River.

In the paddling entry, I have info for Reed's Canoe Trips, otherwise, I think fishing and wading is the best way to experience the mighty Kankakee.

For experienced fishermen, start in the Kankakee River State Park, especially around Warner Bridge. But frankly you can wade in at many spots and start fishing with success.

Otherwise I recommend both guides I've fished with on the Kankakee: Matt Mullady--(815) 932-6507--for a variety of approaches and Capt. Austin or (708)403-1221--for a unique fly-fishing float. That's Adduci above on an outing last fall.

I have not been out with Capt. Bob Santangelo of Kankakee River Guide Service. Our planned trip on something else last week had to be rescheduled. But he is another good option.

ILLINOIS PERMITS: Applications for free upland game permits run through August. In my world, this is the coolest hunting program in Illinois. Luck of the draw is about one in three. I usually make a deal with several friends. If one of us gets lucky, the others get first invites to come along. Click here. . . . Beginning Tuesday and running through Aug. 28 is the first lottery for controlled pheasant permits--click here or click here--and the first lottery, residents only, for duck/goose reservations--click here for ducks or click here for geese . . . Beginning Tuesday and running through Sept. 10, permit applications are accepted for random daily drawings for 2012 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer permits, Click here.

ILLINOIS HUNTING: Squirrel hunting is open. I have not checked in with anybody yet and have not made it out myself. If you made it out in this heat, my hat's off to you. Iroquois County State Wildlife Area is one of the few local sites already open in August for squirrel. Most of the other nearby sites open in September.

FOREST PRESERVE SURVEY: Through today, the Forest Preserve District of Cook County is holding an online survey. The public may give input on things from new facilities to new activities at

NATIONAL WILD TURKEY FEDERATION: This evening, Windy City Longbeards chapter of NWTF holds its banquet at Erie Street Cafe in Chicago. Contact Matthew Dunn at (773) 294-6851 or

PADDLING: I will keep running this, even though we have the first moderate weekend of the summer ahead of us.

Chicago River Canoe and Kayak holds many trips and outings, especially on the Chicago River. Click here or call (773) 704-2663. Right now, they are running a good deal at Skokie Lagoons, where it is $10 per hour rental after 5 p.m. Week days. Click here.

Reed's Canoe Trips offers rentals for the Kankakee River. I take them about once a year. I still need to do it this year. Click here.

On the lower Fox, Geneva Kayak Center's Yorkville Outdoor Center has many options, including whitewater ones, but also simple tube rentals. Click here.

DALEY DERBY: In August, the species are carp, catfish, panfish, steelhead, Chinook and perch for the Richard J. Daley Memorial Sport Fishing Derby. Check fish in at Henry's Sports & Bait. It runs through September with cash prizes for the heaviest three fish from selected species caught around Chicago fishing each month.

FALL HUNTING CLASSIC: The Fall Hunting Classic at Bass Pro Shops, and we have Gurnee, Bolingbrook and Portage, Ind. in our area, runs through Aug. 19. Click here.

ARCHERY: Archery Bow Range Chicago offers instruction.

BULLFROGGING IN ILLINOIS: And yes, that subtitle is having a little fun with Trout Fishing in America, as I give away my age and tangential interests. Here is the general words on bullfrogging:

A sport fishing license is required to take bull-frogs. Bullfrogs may be taken by hand, pole and line fishing methods, pitchfork, landing net, bow and arrow or bow and arrow device, spear or gig. Firearms, air guns, gas guns or commercial fishing devices such as dip nets, hoop nets, traps or seines are not allowed in the taking of bullfrogs. Bullfrogs may be taken from June 15 to August 31 (both days inclusive). The daily limit is 8 bullfrogs with 16 bullfrogs being the possession limit.

WISCONSIN WOLF HUNTING: Running through Aug. 31, Wisconsin holds a unique application period, weighted in the future for unsuccessful applicants, for permits for its inaugural wolf hunt. Permits are $10 and can be purchased from license agents, online (click here) or by phone at (877) 945-4236. The season is Oct. 15 to Feb. 28, 2013. Beginning next year, half of the draw will be for those with preference points, so applying this year, even if unsuccessful, could help in the future.

PERSONAL PICKS: I am doing a trip on the Chicago River today. About to leave in a few minutes. . . . I will am doing the Sox game tomorrow night to see the crowd with the camo Sox hats. . . . On Sunday, our family will be at the Illinois State Fair. . . . I still need to get my morning of chasing squirrels in. . . . Still pending on the very exciting change in my work life about which you may hear more very shortly. . . . Otherwise, I am catching up my Outside radio show on WKCC-FM (91.1). I am enjoying pulling shows together. . . . Work nears the end on a writing project, sorta.

Oh, you didn't think I would have that title for this post and not look up Alan Jackson's classic, ``Gone Country,'' did you?

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on August 9, 2012 9:53 PM.

Fish of the Week: Birthday gift smallmouth was the previous entry in this blog.

Wild things: The ravages of raccoons is the next entry in this blog.

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