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Heartland Outdoors

Safe Boating Week is May 20-26

Fri, May 19, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois Conservation Police officers are reminding boaters that safety on the water in Illinois starts with boat operators staying sober and all boaters wearing life jackets. Illinois’ busiest boating season is about to begin, and waterway safety reminders are part of the observance of National Safe Boating Week, May 20-26.

“It takes only a few seconds to fasten a life jacket, and wearing a life jacket can save your life,” said Illinois Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez.  “In addition, just like driving a car or truck, staying sober while operating a boat is the law in Illinois.”

Statistics compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement show that there were 73 boating-related accidents in Illinois in 2016 resulting in 36 injuries and 11 fatalities.  The number of boating-related accidents last year was below the five-year average, and compares with 74 accidents with 49 injuries and 14 fatalities in 2015. (Annual boating accident statistics are compiled based on the Federal Fiscal Year of October 1 through September 30).

In enforcing Illinois boating laws, Conservation Police officers (CPOs) in 2016 issued 1,721 citations and 5,258 warnings.  CPOs made 147 arrests for boaters operating under the influence (OUI) in 2016.

IDNR statistics indicate that eight of the 11 people who died in boating accidents last year may have survived if they had worn a life jacket or other personal flotation device (PFD); three of the 11 boating-related fatalities involved alcohol or drug impairment.

Illinois law requires that properly-fitting PFDs – life jackets or life vests – be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft.  State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft or Jet Ski.

The IDNR offers free boating safety courses providing a review of boating laws and regulations and instruction on safe and attentive operation of watercraft.  The IDNR encourages boaters of all ages to take a safety course.  Anyone born on or after January 1, 1998 must pass a course and have a valid Boating Safety Certificate to operate a motorboat (with over 10 horsepower); and, state law requires boating safety education for persons ages 12 to 17 to operate a motorboat.

The free safety courses taught by volunteer instructors are available throughout Illinois, and schedules are available by checking the IDNR website’s boating information page at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety/Pages/BoatingSafety.aspx

For a fee, online boating safety courses are also available.

There were 248,948 registered boats in Illinois in 2016, and the IDNR issued 58,067 annual Water Usage Stamps, which are required for non-powered watercraft.

To review a copy of the latest edition of the Illinois DNR Boating Report, compiled by the IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, go to the IDNR website:  https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety/Documents/BoatingAccidentReport2016.pdf

National Safe Boating Week is observed each year during the week prior to the Memorial Day holiday weekend. For more information on the national safe boating campaign, go to the website at http://www.safeboatingcampaign.com


Missouri turkey harvest dips to 43,339

Fri, May 19, 2017

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – Preliminary data from the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) shows that turkey hunters checked 39,239 birds during Missouri’s 2017 regular spring turkey season April 17 through May 7. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 932 birds checked, Texas with 843, and Callaway with 697. Young turkey hunters harvested 4,100 birds during the 2017 spring youth season, April 8-9, bringing the overall 2017 spring turkey harvest to 43,339.

The 2016 overall spring turkey harvest was 48,374 birds with 4,167 harvested during the youth weekend and 44,207 during the regular spring season.

“Given that we haven’t had good hatches the past couple years, and the less-than-ideal weather during a considerable portion of this year’s season, the drop in harvest compared to last year was not unexpected,” MDC Turkey Biologist Jason Isabelle said.

He added that the number of birds harvested this spring wasn’t too far behind last year’s harvest total going into the second weekend of spring turkey season, but the heavy rains that blanketed much of the state shortly thereafter caused the harvest to drop rapidly.

Isabelle noted favorable weather over this past weekend helped harvest numbers bounce back a bit.

Get more information on spring turkey harvest numbers by county at: http://on.mo.gov/1jjz7Ew.

The 2017 spring turkey season included two non-fatal hunting incidents. One involved a shooter who mistook another hunter for a turkey and the other was a self-inflicted shooting injury.

Missouri offers some of the best turkey hunting in the nation. MDC restoration efforts in past decades have taken this popular game bird from almost being wiped out in the state by the 1950s to an estimated sustainable population of more than 300,000 birds today. Missouri turkey hunters spend more than $125 million each year on related travel, food, lodging, and hunting equipment, which helps local businesses and the economy.


Sporting clays shoot May 6 at Oak Ridge

Thu, April 06, 2017

St. Joseph Catholic Church of Pekin is hosting the 2017 ‘Sonny Hill’ Sporting Clay Event on Saturday, May 6, at the Oak Ridge Sportsman’s Club, 1301 Weishaupt Road, in Mackinaw, IL.

Registration begins at 9:00 a.m., Clay Shoot from 10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon, and Lunch at 12:00 noon.  Registration is $65 for an individual; Five person team is $300.00.  Lunch only is $10.00.  Participants should bring 100 steel shots only for the event.  Steel shots will also be available for purchase on site.  Prizes for Top Gun and Top Team each receive a $50 gift card.

For more information, or to register, please contact St. Joseph Church’s Parish Office at (309) 347-6108.  You can also register online at www.stjosephpekin.org.


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


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