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Through the Lens

$25,000.00 All Out Carp Out Bowfishing Tournament

Tue, January 27, 2015

Over the last few years the sport of bowfishing has grown exponentially, and along with that growth bowfishers have seen tournaments become more high stakes,, more respected, and more mainstream; but the upcoming Backwater Outdoors All Out Carp Out takes the prize package to a whole new level in the bowfushing tournament world.

Backwater Outdoors, the nations leading retailer in bowfishing supplies and equipment, is hosting this new and innovative style tournament in celebration of their 10th year in business.

“With 2015 being our 10th anniversary for being in business, we wanted to do something big for the sport!  We’ve created a bowfishing tournament unlike anything that has ever been done.  With a unique format where anybody can win regardless of time, money, or experience, this is every bowfishers chance to take home some huge cash and prizes.” said Bryan Hughes, Backwater CEO.

Just how does the All Out Carp Out differ from the usual tournament format? First, Hughes felt it was important to have a walking/on foot division for those who may not be able to afford a tournament style boat or tha may be flying in for the tournament. Then he spiced things up with things like hourly drawings for the biggest carp, side competitions for carp weighing exactly 20.0 and 18.0 pounds. Add to that a variety of other smaller competitions, inlcuding a youth division scattered through out the two day tournament it truly does become a tournament for all bowfishers, not just those accustomed to the tournament circuit.

There will be a meet and greet prior to the tournament start where participants can grab some great food, meet Backwater Pro Staff and other Pro Teams, ogle the high end tournament boats, and marvel at the homespun engineering processes used to make many bowfishing boats.

Anyway you look at it, this one of kind tournament is certain to draw a large field of participants. If you enjoy bowfishing, and want a tournament experience like no other, consider putting the ALL OUT CARP OUT on your calender!

 

 

 

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It’s Almost Eagle Fest Time!

Fri, January 23, 2015

The local residents of Randolph county have known for some time that the eagle population along the Kaskaskia and Mississippi has been growing and thriving, and one of the best areas to view eagles and their nests exists along Bluff Road heading south from Waterloo to the confluence of Mississippi and Kaskaskia rivers where the Jerry F Costello Lock and Dam is located. The eagles are celebrated each February at the annual Eagle Fest event in Modoc, IL.

This year’s event will be held on Saturday, February 7th, 2015 from 9am – 3pm at the Jerry F. Costello Lock & Dam in Modoc, IL (4800 Lock and Dam Road).

Visitors to the Eagle Fest are invited to eagle-watch with spotting scopes and meet some of the feathered inhabitants of the World Bird Sanctuary at 10, 11 and 1!  A new presentation to this year’s event, Physic of Flight, given by the Natural History Education Co. of the MidSouth will be at noon.  Addition visitors can enjoy short interpreted walks both upstream and downstream from the Dam. Tours of Lock and Dam will also available.  A not to miss experience, is the easy and accesible hike to the confluence of the Mississippi & Kaskaskia Rivers through a hike on the Confluence Trail.  Experts will have knowledge of other eagle-nesting sites nearby (9am-3pm). Lunch from a local eatery will be available for a suggested donation of $5/person to cover lunch expenses. Otherwise, this event is free—families and leash-trained dogs welcome for the hike.

On my recent visit to the lock and dam I counted 18 eagles in the immediate area of the lock and dam, and an additional 9 along my drive to the lock and dam. The trail that leads to confluence of the Mississippi and the Kaskaskia is an easy walk, and accessible to those with mobility impairments. In addition to native flora and faua along the trail, visitors are often treated to the sight of barges working through the confluence area. A good pair of binos or a spotting scope will afford visitors additional views of eagles that are often found across the river from the confluence point.

Those who make the trip to visit the Eagle Fest can also soak up history at nearby Historic Sites such as the Modoc Rock Shelter, Fort Kaskaskia, Fort De Chartres, the Pierre Menard home and the historic community of Prairie du Rocher.

All in all – it makes for great day trip, eagle watching and the Eagle Fest events, the multiple historical sites along the Bluff Road, and gorgeous scenery with tall bluffs and wide floodplains rich with wildlife.  Make plans to visit this corner of Southern Illinois for Eagle Fest weekend! You won’t be disappointed!

This event is made possible thanks to partners : US Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Randolph County Economic Development, Lower Kaskaskia Stakeholders, Inc., Randolph County, Chester Tourism, North County Savings Bank, Evansville Booster Club, Horse Prairie Mutual/FarMutual, CLIFFTOP, Kaskaskia Valley Audubon Society and Kaskaskia River Port District.

For more information and directions contact the Kaskaskia River Project Office at (618) 284-7160 or e-mail us at KaskyL&D@usace.army.mil.

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Mother Nature Isn’t Always Kind and Pretty

Mon, January 12, 2015

Winter can be hard row to hoe for wildlife and any of us who spend anytime outdoors know that it truly becomes a case of survival of the fittest.

Mother Nature isn’t always kind, isn’t always pretty, and can be downright brutal at times. But in that seemingly brutal aspect lies a certain beauty of the circle of life. It helps to remind us that despite our belief in our omnipotence - we are all just part of the food chain.

The recent arctic blast here in southern Illinois has the raptors feeding hard and heavy and none are more opportunistic than the Northern Harriers AKA Marsh Hawks The Northern Harriers in the strip pits have been known to perch in snags close by the waterfowl blinds and well - I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.


she starts to circle back after spotting the downed goose….

Further proof of Mother Nature’s cruelty - just ask any duck hunter in south central zone - is having this crew show up and taunt you a mere 5 days after a generally dismal season closes.

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