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Friday, July 22, 2016

Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources press office:

Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online

Online applications for IDNR-managed sites begin Aug. 1

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 18 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites this fall, and the 2016-17 season dates and permit reservation information are now available online.

Fourteen of the sites are operated by the IDNR, while four other sites continue to be operated in a public/private partnership arrangement between the IDNR and concessionaire T. Miller, Inc.

Monday, July 18, 2016

IWA President Kevin Chapman Talks Deer Changes in 2016

IWA President Kevin Chapman Talks Deer Changes in 2016

Deer Season Changes?
By : Kevin Chapman

Illinois Whitetail Alliance President Kevin Chapman wrote an article about 2016 season changes.  While this article was directed toward a different outdoor resources, Kevin has allowed Capitol Outdoors to post this to spread the IWA (Illinois Whitetail Alliance) message and challenges regarding the Illinois Deer herd. 

The legislative session was pretty quiet for a change. And honestly… I think a lot of people are simply tired of hearing about the same deer management issues over and over.

As the 2016 season gets closer, we still don’t have the deer-vehicle accident (DVA) statistics from last year. Last I heard from IDOT, it would be sometime in August before that data is finalized. This is the main source of data used to estimate deer densities at the county level, and determines county management plans.

With that being said… once again, I don’t anticipate any big changes in terms of managing towards these county-specific DVA goals. Firearm permit quotas have been set, we’ve been through several lotteries, and I’m sure the hunting digest is close to complete.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Historic Reconnection Project at Emiquon Completed

Historic Reconnection Project at Emiquon Completed

It's no secret that we love to fish, hunt, and observe the wetlands, waterfowl and other creatures of the Nature Conservancy's Emiquon.  Today Capitol Outdoors received news coming from this prestige Illinois wetland and conservation area.

About two years ago we were made aware of a project to reconnect this 6,700 acre wetland back to the Illinois River.  Well they've finished and on July 7, 2016 water began flowing back into the Illinois River.  Read the following from the Nature Conservancy and their biologist.  You can learn more about Emiquon and the Nature Conservancy by clicking HERE for their website.

Check out Our Fishing & Hunting adventures, oh and don't forget to read about Eagle Day at Emiquon as well

Friday, July 1, 2016

100,000 and Growing

100,000 and Growing

A little over a year ago we decided to take Capitol Outdoors and make it a full time adventure and like any business adventure it has had its ups and downs.  However, every achievement is worth celebrating and we just hit over a 100,000 views on our webpage.  We are glad that people around Illinois are reading about our adventures, Legislation, Conservation and Education.

Here at Capitol Outdoors we pride ourselves on making quality entertaining videos, factual posts and much more to share with you.

During this time we've seen some interesting developments.   Not only in the policy front but, businesses, organizations and nonprofits have asked us for help to share their message and educate them on current happenings in Washington, D.C. and Springfield.  As we grow we'll make sure to keep you informed from the Legislative Floors to the Great Outdoors.

With our newest addition, Baby Autumn`s arrival we weren't able to hit all the lakes that we wanted to this year, however we will continue to travel Illinois hunting and fishing, sharing our tips and our adventures with all of you.

We wanted to take this opportunity and thank all of you for your support.

Please drop us a line and let us know what you enjoy reading.  

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Illinois Bait Shop - Flyway Outdoors

Illinois Bait Shop - Flyway Outdoors

For awhile now we've been writing about bait shops across Illinois.  This series has been enjoyed by many of our readers because it focuses, not only on the small business of bait shops, but outdoor shops in general.  We came across Flyway Outdoors online and with incentive by a friend we decided to check them out.

Flyway Outdoors is an outdoor resale shop of sorts. We have all been there, you walk into a store to buy new decoys and are astounded by the price.  Maybe you can't afford it, or just refuse to pay that much, well Flyway Outdoors has your answer. 

"We sell gently used decoys" said Colton, owner of Flyway Outdoors.  "We have people from all the surrounding states that come and buy our decoys."  Its easy to see why.  As we looked around the shop there was an abundance of duck, GHG, Bigfoot and countless other species of waterfowl decoys for sale.

Open for less than a year in Hanna City, Illinois,  Flyway Outdoors doesn't just offer hunting decoys, they sell minnows, as well as other fishing & hunting accessories. Need to make those beat up decoys look like new? They have a flocking service that can help you with that.  If you would rather do it yourself they have the materials you'll need to help start your decoy project.

Flyway Outdoors is the perfect place to go if your on a budget, just starting off or have been waterfowl hunting for years.  They're always getting decoys in so, make sure to check them out often to make sure you're not missing anything.

If you can't make it to their shop check out their website: flywayoutdoors.org.  There you can shop and get things shipped directly to you. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

IDNR Announces Schedule of Waterfowl Blind Site Drawings

IDNR Announces Schedule of Waterfowl Blind Site Drawings

Drawings to be held for public hunting area waterfowl blind sites

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Press Office

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to mark their calendars for upcoming waterfowl hunting blind site random drawings to be held at several public hunting areas in Illinois this summer. 

Duck and goose hunters must register in person for waterfowl blind site drawings and must be present at the drawing – held at each location designated below immediately after the registration period – to claim their blind sites. Mail-in registrations are not accepted. Unless otherwise stated, blind allocations for these sites are good for one year. To participate in a drawing, applicants must present a 2015 or 2016 regular Illinois hunting license (no apprentice or youth license) and a 2015 or 2016 Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp at the time they register, unless exempted by law. Applicants must be at least 16 years old by the date of the drawing.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Jim Edgar Panther Creek WIngshooting Clinic 2016

Jim Edgar Panther Creek Wingshooting Clinic 2016

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) working with a variety of volunteers, partners, sponsors and organizations offer wingshooting clinics at different sites throughout Illinois.  This past weekend there was a Youth/Women's Clinic at Jim Edgar Panther Creek.

2016 Jim Edgar Panther Creek Wingshooting Clinic 

Monday, June 6, 2016

Legislative Wrap Up

Legislative Wrap Up

That’s it ladies and gentleman, the Illinois General Assembly ended the 2016 legislative session without a budget. Which means for the second year in a row the Illinois Department of Natural Resources will be operating without appropriations. Legislative members will be called back throughout the summer to continue discussions.

However, that doesn’t mean that fishing and hunting season will be closed. But, we could see more state parks closing due to lack of operating funding. Like all states, Illinois receives millions of dollars a year from the federal government for certain programs so those programs are safe without a budget.

Below you will see just some of the hunting and fishing related bills that were up this session. Included is a brief description of each proposed bill along with the last action taken as of May 31st.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rock River

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rock River

By: Jon Giacalone

The Rock River is a high-quality stream best known for catfish, walleye, crappie, smallmouth bass and the occasional northern pike that drains about 10,800 square miles of northern Illinois and southern

Within Illinois, the Rock River flows through a rural agricultural basin containing moderate-to- large communities, including Rockford, Dixon and Sterling/Rock Falls. Much of the shoreline is developed and very little is considered pristine. The river is aptly named. Much of the riverbed is comprised of glacial rock, ranging in size from gravel to small boulders. Navigation in unfamiliar stretches can be very hazardous. Shallow-draft jon boats with small outboard motors are proper fishing vessels. Some anglers use jet-drive lower units to help eliminate damage.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Make May Native Species Month

Make May Native Species Month

It seems like every year we hear about a new advancement in invasive species.  They take over our lakes, rivers, streams, prairies and forest while millions of dollars goes into trying to eradicate them and stop their advancements.    With May being Invasive Species Month you'll probably see more articles in your social media news feeds regarding this topic. 

When we first started Capitol Outdoors, we had a general understanding regarding invasive species.  We knew that Asian Carp, Emerald Ash Borer or Honeysuckle was destructive to the greater ecosystem.    We are continuing to learn about invasive species and conservation on daily basis.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rend Lake

Top Fishing Destinations in Illinois: Rend Lake

Rend Lake is the second largest impoundment in Illinois, and one of the state's best for largemouth bass, crappie and white bass. Good numbers of channel and flathead catfish also provide great action. Encompassing a total of 18,900 acres, along with excellent lake facilities, Rend Lake is one of southern Illinois' premier multi-recreational destinations.

Rend Lake offers good fishing throughout most of the year, including during mild winters. Weeds and natural rock are very limited, but riprap, flooded trees and stumps provide abundant habitat. Generally, riprap is the dominant cover south of Highway 154, while the northern portion of the lake is laced with stumps and downed timber.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

IDNR Announces Closure of Ramsey Lake and

From the Illinois Department of Natural Resource Press Office:

IDNR Announces Closure of Ramsey Lake and Horseshoe Lake

Sites Closed Indefinitely Due to Electrical and Trash Service Interruptions

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced today that Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area near Ramsey and Horseshoe Lake State Park near Granite City will be closed indefinitely. Ramsey Lake is being closed due to termination of electrical service. Horseshoe Lake will close April 25 due to termination of trash and electrical service.

There is no estimate of when either site might reopen.Ramsey Lake site staff will report to Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area. The phone number is (217) 537-3351. Horseshoe Lake staff will report to Frank Holten State Recreation Area. The phone number is (618) 874-7920.

Ramsey Lake campgrounds and picnic shelters were open at the time of the closure. IDNR will contact campers with reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.

Camping at Horseshoe Lake was to begin May 1, but will not open on that date. IDNR will contact people with camping and shelter reservations to work out other arrangements or refunds.

The Department intends to reopen these parks as soon as services are restored. Horseshoe Lake

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time of Our Lives

Time of Our Lives

What a week of fishing for us here at Capitol Outdoors.  Like so many others we're blessed to live in an area with an abundance of lakes and great outdoor opportunity, but some trips are just better then others.  Take a look as we are having the Time of our Lives.   With a baby on the way things are only going to get better.

Above is the "Biggest Catch of my Life... Sorta of?  Which will have this angler telling tales for years and then few days later we were Kick'n Bass at Emiquon catching some nice fish and having a blast doing it.

That's what I love about the outdoors it's the ultimate guessing game.  You can go out and catch a dinky two inch bluegill or have the time of your life.  How about you, what is a moment you can remember where you had a great weekend or week of fishing. Comment below and share your story. 


Spring Turkey Hunting Report Summary

Gobble Gobble... The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released their Preliminary Spring Turkey Hunting Report. Numbers seem to be about the same as last year.  How has your season been?

North Zone: Turkey Hunters in the North Zone harvested 2,263 birds first season, compared to 2,343 during first season 2015.

South Zone: Turkey Hunters in the South Zone harvested 1,614 birds first season, and 1,272 birds second season. Last year’s totals were 1,526 and 1,333, respectively. Total harvest through 2 seasons was 2,886, compared to last year at 2,859.

Below is a county by county break down for North Zone first season and South Zone first and second season numbers.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

6 Tips to Catch more Crappie across Illinois

 Tips and Tactics - Catching Crappie in Illinois

Illinois is well known for their abundance of large crappie. You can find them in lakes such as, Shelbyville and Sangchris to name a few. There's nothing quite like catching crappie on a spring or fall morning. You can see some of our previous Illinois Crappie Fishing adventures in Illinois by checking out our You Tube Channel.

Crappie Fishing is a great way to teach beginners how to fish.