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Heartland Outdoors February 2017 Cover


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Heartland Outdoors

Iowa holding CWD season

Thu, February 16, 2017

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources said Wednesday it will hold a second special harvest in northeast Iowa to collect deer that can be tested for chronic wasting disease.

The state hopes to collect up to 300 samples from mature deer in Clayton County from Saturday to March 5. The state asks hunters, who will receive special scientific licenses, to focus on an area about 10 miles west of Elkader.

It’s the second special harvest this year. The first, held near Harper’s Ferry in Allamakee County, ended Feb. 5.

Ten wild deer in Allamakee County tested positive for chronic wasting disease last year, bringing the total to 16 since 2013. An additional one was found during the special collection earlier this month.

A wild deer tested positive for the disease in neighboring Clayton County last year. Both counties are popular deer-hunting destinations.

The state said it’s monitored for the disease since it first arrived in neighboring Wisconsin in 2001.

An abnormal protein, called a prion, attacks the brain of an infected animal, causing it to lose weight, display abnormal behavior and lose bodily functions. The disease is spread from animal to animal through nose-to-nose contact and through environmental contamination from urine, feces and saliva left by positive deer.

“It is nearly impossible kill the prion and the disease is always fatal,” according to Dale Garner, DNR’s conservation and recreation division chief. He met with about 375 hunters for three hours in Elkader earlier this week.

The state will test lymph nodes from the deer taken in the special harvest. DNR asks hunters to not eat the meat until the tests show it’s free from disease.

The Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization recommend hunters not eat meat from deer testing positive for chronic wasting disease, and that hunters wear protective gloves while field-dressing game.

It is not believed that humans can contract chronic wasting disease by eating venison, the state says.

Since 2002, Iowa DNR has tested more than 61,000 samples from wild deer and 4,000 samples from hunting preserve deer.

In addition to Wisconsin, deer have tested positive for chronic wasting disease in Minnesota, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri and Wisconsin.


Wisconsin snow melting except in far north

Thu, January 19, 2017

Temperatures in the 30s and 40s and some steady drizzle, freezing rain and fog have reduced snow cover to minimal in the southern half of the state, and have left snowmobile trails open in only the northern tier of counties, but those counties continue to report good to excellent snowmobile conditions on the Wisconsin Department of Tourism’s Snow Conditions Report (exit DNR).

Ski trails are also still in good condition in northern parks and forests, though warm conditions have made the trails soft. Most trails in the southern half of the state are now closed, with the exception of the loop with man-made snow at the Lapham Peak Unit of the Kettle Moraine, which as of Thursday was still planning on going ahead with the Lapham Loppet Ski Races this Saturday.

Freezing rain this week closed some park entrance roads earlier in the week but they have now reopened. Many parking areas remain icy, so anyone visiting properties this weekend should use caution. A candlelight event that had been scheduled this weekend at Governor Dodge and a snowshoe hike at the MacKenzie Center have both been cancelled.

However, candlelight hikes will go on this weekend at the Nordic Trail in the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine and at the Horicon Marsh Education and Visitor Center. Both properties are reporting trails are icy and urge people to wear appropriate footwear and crampons of some type. Shuttles will be available for the Horicon event and anyone attending is strongly encourage to use the shuttles as parking areas are icy and muddy, and parking is limited.

This weekend is also Free Fishing Weekend, and while a number of events have been cancelled due to deteriorating ice conditions, many others will go on as planned. No license is needed to fish on most waters of Wisconsin including Wisconsin portions of the Great Lakes and Mississippi River. All other rules such as bag and size limits still apply.

Anglers out on inland lakes continue to report mixed bag of crappie, walleye and perch. Perch were being caught on Shawano Lake and anglers on Lake Altoona were catching nice sized panfish. Slush and water has formed over about 16 inches of Lake Altoona ice and anglers were removing permanent shelters to ensure they don’t get frozen in the ice with the next cold snap.

Ice conditions on Green Bay can be treacherous due to large cracks that opened up last week, and ice has been broken up and re froze, making entry onto the Bay difficult in places. There have been multiple reports of anglers getting stranded as cracks are opening and there have also been reports of vehicles and ATVs going through the ice.

Anglers at Voyageur Park report catching a mixed bag of walleye, perch, white fish, and white bass. Anglers took to the ice out of Stone Quarry this week with mixed success for whitefish reported. There were an abundance of anglers seen off of Volk’s landing this week, with mixed success for whitefish and perch.

Whitetail buck deer have begun to shed antlers. Good numbers of rough-legged hawks and northern shrikes are present. And mid-January generally announces the onset of coyote and red fox breeding cycles. These two members of the dog family typically breed between January and March. Cold, crisp winter nights afford opportunities to listen for the raspy barks of red fox or the high pitched yipping of coyotes.


Iowa nabs deer poachers

Thu, January 19, 2017

Two Minnesota men and one North Iowa man have pleaded guilty to illegally taking deer in Emmet and Kossuth counties in Iowa in October and November 2015. 

Michael Paschke, 45, of Worthington, Minn., Dakota Isebrand, 21, of Sherburn, Minn., and Seth Norland, 20, of Ledyard, Iowa, pleaded guilty to 58 wildlife violations including illegal method of take, abandonment of wildlife, hunting by artificial light, no deer license or tag and illegal possession of deer.

Iowa Department of Natural Resources’ Conservation Officers Virginia Schulte and Steve Reighard and DNR Park Ranger Corey McCartan received information that lead them to Paschke’s residence on Dec. 5, 2015, where they discovered deer and deer parts but no deer tags attached to the deer and no licenses to establish that these deer had been taken legally.

The total fines and court costs assessed in Kossuth County were $11,538.75 and $25,000 civil penalty. The total fines and court costs assessed in Emmet County were $1,530 and $10,000 civil penalty.

Each man also lost his hunting privileges for 25 years; three years from DNR for being a multiple offender and 22 years by court ordered suspension. This Iowa suspension also prohibits them from hunting in any of the 44 states that are members of the Wildlife Violator Compact. Four states are in the process of joining the compact.


Muskie Hunters meeting Jan. 10

Mon, January 09, 2017

The Chicagoland Muskie Hunters meet the second Tuesday of the month at Giuseppe’s La Cantina, 1062 Lee St, Des Plaines, IL. 7:30pm. This month that date is Jan. 10.

The Chicagoland Muskie Hunters (03) chapter of Muskies Inc. Meetings feature top speakers, fishing reports, favorite lake presentations by our members, muskie info sharing, door prizes and raffles. All are welcome!!

Contact Dean—847-256-9322 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Learn how to catch a muskie, or more muskies, or larger muskies, - join MI. All are welcome!  The Jan 10 meeting will feature wel known guide Gregg Thomas on how to Ketch ‘Em.

The Chicagoland Muskie Hunters full color Newsletter with color fish catch pictures, catch data, articles, info re meetings and outings is available to you. To receive this free Blue Ribbon column and to learn more about our chapter and Muskies Inc.—contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address):muskie


Final late-winter deer season ahead

Mon, January 09, 2017

Hunters are reminded that the Late-Winter Antlerless-only and Special CWD deer hunting seasons conclude on Jan. 13-15.  There will be 24 counties open for Late-Winter season and 14 counties open for the Special CWD season on those dates.  Hunters should check the information page on the IDNR website to make sure the county they intend to hunt is open for the Late-Winter or Special CWD season:


2017 Illinois licenses available Jan. 16

Mon, January 09, 2017

Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2017 will be available starting Jan. 16 from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at, or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The automated license system is available 24 hours a day. The 2017 licenses purchased beginning Jan. 16 will be valid through Mar. 31, 2018, unless otherwise noted.


IDNR spending $1 million on trails

Tue, December 27, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Governor Bruce Rauner today announced $1,019,200 in grant funding for multi-purpose recreational trail projects that will create or improve trails in six Illinois counties. Funding for the projects is supported by the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) Recreational Trails Program.

“Our trails showcase all the beauty Illinois has to offer,” Governor Rauner said. “Whether you’re enjoying them with family and friends or your pets it’s a great opportunity to explore our state. These grants will improve access to our trails across Illinois.”

The Recreational Trails Program (RTP) grants provide up to 80 percent of the cost of the trail projects.  RTP grants may be awarded for the acquisition of land from willing sellers, for trail construction and rehabilitation, restoration of areas damaged by unauthorized trail uses, construction of trail-related support facilities such as picnic areas, parking and restrooms, and for educational programs.

The grant program is administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT).

“These grants will help create and improve outdoor experiences for the people of Illinois.  Getting people to enjoy everything the state, and the Department of Natural Resources has to offer, is why working partnerships like this with the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration are great,” said Wayne Rosenthal, director for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

“We are pleased to partner with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources in this important effort to improve trails in Illinois,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Randy Blankenhorn. “We are confident these grants will enhance the quality of life in our communities and make Illinois an even better place to live, work and play.”

The RTP grant projects are listed below.

Motorized Projects

Saline County - The Williams Hill Pass Association will receive $42,500 in grant money to be used for trail maintenance in Saline County.  It will allow for maintenance and restoration for the association’s 25-mile OHV system, as well as help upgrade trailhead facilities, security, and promotional programming.

McHenry County - The McHenry County Snowmobile Association will receive a grant of $37,600 to help purchase a tractor and snowmobile trail groomer in McHenry County.  The equipment will be used to help maintain public snowmobile trails.

McHenry County - The Wonder Lake Lakers/Sno-Bugs Snowmobile Club will receive a $24,800 grant to be used for a UTV update in McHenry County.  It will allow the club to replace a 1996 Kawasaki Mule with tracks, and it is to be used for trail inspections and maintenance.

Non-Motorized Projects

Winnebago County - The Rockford Park District will receive a grant of $200,000 to be used to build new trails and repair existing trails in Winnebago County.  It will also allow for improved amenities, trailheads, and signage.

Champaign County - The Village of St. Joseph will receive a grant of $198,300 to be used for the development of trail spur and trailhead to serve the Kickapoo Rail Trail.  It will allow for trail work, restrooms, and amenities.

Henry County - The City of Geneseo will receive $116,000 in grant money for the construction 2.2 miles of bike lanes in Henry County.  It will help with construction of 1.4 miles of bike lane augmented by a crossing signal, as well as .8 miles of bike boulevard connecting downtown Geneseo to the Hennepin Canal.

Champaign County - The Champaign County Forest Preserve District will receive $200,000 to assist with the construction of asphalting near the Kickapoo Rail Trail in Champaign County.  It will allow construction of 1/3-mile of asphalt section near the trail.

Tazewell County -The City of East Peoria will receive $200,000 for the Camp Street Trail in Tazewell County.  It will allow construction of 1000 ft. of bituminous surface on the Camp Street Trail for the second phase of four.


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