Showing posts with label Outdoor News. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Outdoor News. Show all posts

Monday, October 16, 2017

Second Round of Archery Numbers

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released the second round of archery deer numbers.  This week the harvest totals increased by 55 from this time last year.  
"Through Sunday, October 15, 2017, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 7,793 deer, compared to 7,738 for the same period in 2016.
Harvest to date has consisted of 69% does and 31% males (5340:2453). Top five counties were Jefferson (219), Fulton (201), Pike (201), Franklin (169), and Jackson (156)."
If you are interested in the county by county breakdown I've provided a link - County by County Week 2 - 2017

Check last weeks numbers, county by county and youth season - Archery and Youth Deer Numbers In

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is encouraging the sampling of harvested deer for CWD in adult deer. Find out where CWD Sampling Stations Locations.

How are things looking in your neck of the woods?

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Marmion Academy Student Wins Illinois High School Muskie Tournament

It's no secret that high school bass fishing is on the rise, not just in Illinois but across the country.  Students were out again this weekend, hoping to make a name for themselves and their school.  However, this was not a bass tournament, this was the Illinois High School Muskie Tournament hosted by the Shawnee Muskie Hunters.   Anglers went out on a one day adventure looking for the elusive muskie.  

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Archery and Youth Deer Numbers In

Congrat to my nephew Tyler on his first deer!
Deer harvest numbers are in and they are down.  Not by a lot, only 132 and there were some warm and windy days that kept hunters home. Below you'll see the press release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resource Press.  Also we've included the county by county numbers for both arcarey and youth season.

Did your hunting buddy get their first deer during youth season?  Make sure to print up their First Deer Certificate.


Through Monday, October 9, 2017, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 5,281 deer, compared to 5,413 for the same period in 2016

Friday, October 6, 2017

Person with Disabilities Application to Hunt at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area

I had the privileged to take a buddy I met via facebook out on a hunt.  This compared to all my other hunts was a little different because Nate had spina bifida.  His passion and dedication to the outdoors surpasses many that say the love the outdoors.  However, it took some doing but we finally were able to find a place to go.  If you know someone that has a disability please share this with them.  They may only get a few opportunities a year to enjoy the great outdoors.  

Special Firearm Deer Hunt for Persons with Disabilities at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area on Nov. 2 and 3

Hunters can apply through October 20

KEWANEE, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources will host a new firearm deer hunt for persons with disabilities on November 2 and 3 at Johnson-Sauk Trail State Recreation Area in Henry Co.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

IDNR Newsbits for October 2017

The Illinois DNR Newsbits is a monthly publication by the IDNR giving constituents of Illinois the '411'.  These issues are geared toward the outdoor enthusiast on a wide array of topics.   However, if you are a trapper in Illinois, this issue is for you. Don't get us wrong, there are some great events going on this month but there are plenty of opportunities here for the trapper.  

Look below.  

The IDNR forgot to mention one thing in this month's newsbits and that's the Illinois Trout Opener October 21, 2017.  Find out where you can go trout fishing across the state. 

Illinois DNR Newsbits for October 2017

Youth Deer Permits: Resident and non-resident Illinois Youth Firearm Deer permits are available over-the-counter (OTC) from DNR Direct license and permit vendors. The Youth Deer Hunt is Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 7-9.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Central Illinois Crappie Club Holds Open on Clinton Lake

Back in July, Capitol Outdoors attended ICAST in Orlando, Florida.  While there, we were astounded by how vast the fishing industry really is.  Today, we learned even more!  Thirty-six boats attended the first Central Illinois Crappie Club Open on Clinton Lake sponsored by Exelon.  "This is a great turn out" said Greg Humphrey of Bloomington.  "Usually there's 20 or so boats that attend, so seeing this many people out here is great"!

As the sun began to rise over the trees members did live-well checks and prepared their boats for a day out on the water.  The director went over the rules and told anglers they were searching for a maximum of seven,no less than ten inch crappie.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

IDNR Calls on Hunters and Landowners to Report Suspected EHD Cases

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is calling upon hunters and landowners once again.They are encouraging them to report suspected cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).  You may recall back in 2012 the buzz in the outdoor and hunting community was about the intense EHD kills.  

During the last few years there has been little discussion surrounding this issue, however the IDNR feels that "recent unseasonably warm temperatures coupled with prolonged dry conditions throughout the state suggest that EHD may increase this fall".  So they are calling upon the stewards of the land to help report any suspected cases.  Please read the press release from the IDNR and please share.
Here is a quick look back at the September map where over 2,000 deer were killed by EHD in 2012. Besides that you will see the map from September of this year showing EHD kills. 

2017 Emiquon Permit Application Due October 10, 2017

Each year we here at Capitol Outdoors look forward to the notification from  the Nature Conservancy about waterfowl permit applications.  Below you'll see how you can apply for this awesome waterfowl hunting experience.  This application process is a little different so please  READ CAREFULLY before submitting.  Good luck to all those that apply.  Before you read the following check out some of our past experiences out at Emiquon waterfowl hunting: Adapting the Outdoors Waterfowl Hunt & Waterfowl Hunt at Emiquon

Public Waterfowl Hunt Rules and Information (Revised 26 September 2017)

Waterfowl hunting opportunities (Public,Disabled and Youth) for the Nature Conservancy's Emiquon Preserve will be awarded via advanced drawing with registration by mail or email due by October 10, 2017

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hunting for America comes to Illinois

(Springfield, IL) Today, a new organization has joined the many others trying to effect change within the Capitol Building.  Hunting Works for America has come to Illinois creating a new grassroots organization, Hunting Works for Illinois.

Hunting Works for Illinois Mission
'Hunting Works For Illinois exists to promote the strong economic partnership between the hunting and shooting communities and the local economy of the state of Illinois.'
In December of 2016, President Obama signed the Outdoor Recreation Jobs and Economic Impact Act into law.

'This new piece of legislation requires the Department of Commerce, in collaboration with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Agriculture, to assess and analyze the contributions of the outdoor recreation industry, including recreational fishing, to the United States economy. The legislation will help to ensure that sportfishing industry jobs and recreational fishing’s economic impact are accounted for as part of the gross domestic product (GDP).' 

Friday, September 22, 2017

Governor Rauner Signs HB 3399 - Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Permit

On September 22, 2017 Governor Rauner signed HB 3399 which will allow hunters and trappers to harvest up to 350 bobcats during the 2017 - 2018 season.  However, if you hunt/trap in these counties (Boone, Bureau, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Ogle, Peoria, Piatt, Putnam, Stark, Stephenson, Vermilion, Will, Winnebago, Woodford) the law makes it unlawful to do so for bobcats. This is one of the last bills we've been waiting action on from the governor.

Below you'll see the press release from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources

New Law Results in Changes in Illinois Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season

SPRINGFIELD, IL – A new state law will allow hunters and trappers to harvest up to 350 bobcats during the 2017-18 Illinois Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Season which opens on Nov. 10. The legislation making changes in the bobcat season, House Bill 3399, was signed into law on Sept. 22.

Additionally, the new law also changed the list of counties in which it is unlawful to hunt or trap bobcats in the state. The following counties are prohibited from hunting or trapping bobcats: Boone, Bureau, Champaign, Cook, DeKalb, DeWitt, DuPage, Ford, Grundy, Henry, Iroquois, Kane, Kankakee, Kendall, Knox, Lake, LaSalle, Lee, Livingston, Logan, Marshall, McHenry, McLean, Ogle, Peoria, Piatt, Putnam, Stark, Stephenson, Vermilion, Will, Winnebago, Woodford, and the area north of U.S. Route 36 in Edgar and Douglas counties and north of U.S. Route 36 to the junction with Illinois Route 121 and north or east of Illinois Route 121 in Macon County.

Bobcat hunting and trapping season dates are Nov. 10, 2017 through Feb. 15, 2018.

Illinois resumed bobcat hunting and trapping during the 2016-17 season. During the 2016-17 season, the taking of bobcats was prohibited in a northeast quadrant of the state bounded by Interstate 39/U.S. Route 51 on the west and U.S. Route 36 on the south, and was allowed in the remainder of the state.

Hunters and trappers may apply for 2017-18 bobcat permits through Sept. 30. A total of 1,000 permits have been allocated, and a lottery drawing will be conducted as more than 1,000 permit applications have been received. During last year’s bobcat season, Illinois issued 500 permits and hunters and trappers harvested 141 bobcats, a 28 percent success rate.

Applications can be made through the DNR Direct online license and permit system ($5.00 non-refundable application fee) at

Friday, September 8, 2017

Illinois' Fall Trout Opener is October 21

Looking for a great way to get those adults, youngsters or friends out fishing?  Look no farther then the Illinois Fall Trout Season.  This is a great opportunity to get outside, enjoy the cool breeze and catch some trout.  
The Illinois catchable trout program is funded by those who use the program through the sale of Inland Trout Stamps. For the fall season, the IDNR stocks approximately 80,000 rainbow trout into bodies of water where trout fishing is permitted.
I grew up trout fishing and still do it today.  Want to know how to catch some trout.  Read some of our other articles "Capitol Outdoors' Tips and Tricks for Inland Trout Fishing"  watch our youtube video - Trout Fishing at Southwind Park Springfield.

Illinois Fall Trout Season Opens October 21

2017 Illinois Fall Trout Locations (*) Denotes Sites Open for Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing Early Season 

The Fall Catch-and-Release Fly Fishing-Only Season Opens October 7 at nine sites

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The 2017 Illinois Fall Trout Fishing Season will open on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 54 ponds, lakes, and streams throughout the state. 

Monday, September 4, 2017

IDNR to Allocate Trapping Permits for Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA

IDNR to Allocate Trapping Permits for Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA

CHANDLERVILLE, IL – A public drawing for the allocation of trapping permits at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area will be held at Saturday, Oct. 7 at 1:30 p.m. Registration will begin at 1:00 p.m. at the site headquarters, located approximately five miles southeast of Chandlerville.

One permit for each of the five trapping zones will be allocated through a lottery drawing. All persons attempting to enter the drawing must be in attendance and have a current 2017 trapping license in their possession.

DP (Dog Proof) Traps, live traps, and traps of similar action may be used. Homemade dog-proof traps must be designed with a foothold trap no larger than a #2 in an enclosed wood, metal, or durable plastic container with a single access opening of no larger than 1½ inches in diameter. All body-gripping traps must be totally submerged.

IDNR to Allocate Sangchris Lake Trapping Permits on Oct. 14

IDNR to Allocate Sangchris Lake Trapping Permits on Oct. 14

ROCHESTER, IL – A public drawing for the allocation of Sangchris Lake State Park trapping permits will be held at 1:00 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 14.  Registration will begin at 12:30 p.m. at the site headquarters, located approximately six miles southeast of Rochester.

One permit for two trapping zones will be allocated through the drawing procedure (the Sangchris subimpoundment area will now be included as another zone open to trapping).  Two names will be allowed on the permit, and only those individuals listed will be allowed to trap.  All persons entering the drawing must have a current 2017 trapping license in possession.  Persons whose names are drawn must be in attendance.

Starting February 1, 2018 until the end of the trapping season on March 31, 2018, Sangchris Lake State Park will open to statewide regulations, meaning that any individual with a valid 2017 trapping permit who is interested in trapping can do so (beaver, muskrat, and river otter only).

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Eclipse 2017 Fishing Adventure

Waking up on August 21st to a weather report featuring clouds was a little disappointing to say the least.  Meteorologists predicted that the clouds would clear up around 1pm but with the way the sky looked, I was not hopeful. 

This being a great astronomical event, I took the opportunity to get some fishing in.  Not only did I want to be on the open water during the eclipse, I wanted to see how the fish and other wildlife were acting before, during and after. 

I loaded up the boat and headed to Jim Edgar Panther Creek, to fish for some bass and try out some new techniques. During my last tournament on this body of water, I fished a spot that was a little disappointing.  I decided to cruise the choppy waters and head back to that spot to test my luck yet again.  It still ended up being a disappointing spot, but I was optimistic.  It was the eclipse afterall, there had to be a 'biggin' out here.  

As I was fishing, I was continuously, observing the cloud pattern and there looked as if a rainstorm was on the horizon.  I was reaching for my raingear  in preparation when the sky openned up and a bolt of lightening struck in the distance.  It seemed as though this was a microburst, winds picked up, leaves and tree limbs were flying and the sound of rain was intense.  It was amazing and nerve-racking at the same time and as I watched the rain make its way across the lake towards me, I knew I wasn't going to be able to make it back to the ramp, so I beached my boat. 

Fifteen minutes later, the storm was over and I headed back out on the water to darker skys in hopes of catching the 'Eclipse Biggin'.

With my new boat, I started fishing a little further from shore because I don't want to accidentally hit something, she is 'my baby' after all. I am hitting the shoreline with a medium diving crank bait, when i stick a short at about 10 inches. I am always trying to improve my fishing game, so after some small catches, I decided to move to deeper water to work on my deep water fishing techniques. 
It seemed at about this time, things started to change.  It was late morning and it was very very quiet, even for Jim Edgar.

The usual sounds of birds chirping was non existent, and there was an eerie feeling across the lake.  

My deep water fishing consisted of a texas rig with a green pumpkin worm, dragging and twitching off the bottom.  Today, it didn't matter what you were doing, they were biting and it was loads of fun. 

My shortest fish was about 8 inches, and my 'biggin' of the day was about 18 inches.  It was a great feeling being able to catch my limit over and over again.  I never experienced a day where I was catching so many keepers. 

After awhile of fishing, I decided to head home hoping that the sky was clear for viewing.  As I got home the look of disappointment was on my wife's face was all I needed to see to know that she had not been able to view it all day.   

However, our wish was granted as the sky cleared.  Watching the end of the eclipse with my wife was icing on the cake to my Eclipse Fishing trip.  I'm not sure if the eclipse had anything to do with how great the fishing was or if I was just lucky, but this trip was up there with some of the best fishing days I have ever had.    

Did you go out fishing during the Eclipse?  If so, how did you do? 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Illinois Governor Signs Four Hunting/Fishing Related Bills

Yesterday, the Governor signed four hunting/fishing related bills:

  • HB 2685-Green Hides 
    • Amends the Wildlife Code. Provides that except as provided in the Code, it is unlawful to have in his or her possession the green hides of fur bearing mammals without a valid hunting or trapping license.  Learn More
  • HB 3093-Electronic Licenses
    • Amends the Wildlife Code. Defines "hunting license" as an electronic or physical license authorizing the person to take a certain type of animal during a specified period of time. Effective immediately. Learn More
  • HB 3272- Commercial Fishing 
    • A Department of Natural Resources initiative  providing that all trout, including lake trout, salmon, and lake whitefish may not be taken by commercial fishing devices, including gill or pound net. Learn More
  • HB 3273- Lake Michigan Fishing
    • Provides that the Department of Natural Resources may issue a maximum of 5 commercial fishing licenses for taking from the Illinois waters of Lake Michigan yellow perch, bloater chub, and other commercial fish species designated by Department rule. Learn More
There are still two bills that we are waiting for Governor Action on:

He has until the end of September (60 days from when he was sent them) to either Veto
or Sign them or they become law. 

Be Informed!  Follow us on social media and check back often for updates! 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

IDNR Bringing Back Outdoor Illinois

Ever talk to an IDNR employee and feel like they could care less.  Maybe that's just people in general today.  Maybe, it has to do with the lack of money the agency has and they know the ideas won't go anywhere.  For awhile now the IDNR has been in the works of bringing back Outdoor Illinois.  They finally made their release announcing the comeback of this new online journal.

This is great news in the hunting, fishing and conservation world.  As outdoor enthusiasts this is a way for the IDNR to finally be able to release information on research studies, land and wildlife management and other updates. We look forward to seeing what information gets published and how this resource will improve the outdoors.

During our reporting and meeting people throughout the state over the years, we've heard people complain about how it's hard to find information and how there is a lack of a user friendly interface for the DNR website.  Illinois' has been lacking in transparency and upgrades. However, this is a great step to making the IDNR more user friendly and transparent.

Some of you might have received the email below:

Illinois Conservationist:
It is my pleasure to announce that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service: Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGGREC) to bring back Outdoor Illinois!  This time it is a wildlife-specific online journal that contains articles on Wildlife, People, Land, Research, and Recreation.  Please take a few moments to look through the site, and to visit our annual hunting forecasts (  Right now, we have posted deer/turkey/squirrel and furbearer forecasts.  Upland game and waterfowl forecasts will be coming soon! There are plenty of other short articles to look at as well while you're there.  If you have ideas for Outdoor Illinois: Wildlife Journal, or areas that you think we need to provide more information on, please e-mail me at and let me know.

To visit other websites regarding wildlife in Illinois, please visit our Living with Wildlife in Illinois ( and our White-tailed Deer: Illinois websites (


Mark Alessi
Division of Wildlife Resources
Illinois Department of Natural Resources

Friday, August 11, 2017

Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Welcomes Becker, Nelson, Wanless and Zanders

Below you'll see a press release from the Illinois Conservation Foundation  releasing their 2017 Hall of Fame recipients.  Congratulations to all these dedicated outdoor enthusiast.  

Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Welcomes Becker, Nelson, Wanless and Zanders

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) today announced the selections of four longtime Illinois conservationists as the newest members of the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. C.E. (Bob) Becker, David Nelson, Michael (Mick) Wanless, and Glenda Zanders were selected from among dozens of individuals nominated by Illinois citizens and conservation organizations for induction as the Class of 2017 for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame.

Monday, August 7, 2017

2017 - 2018 Waterfowl Season Dates Announced for Illinois

While hundreds of lucky blind winners prepare to build, repair and brush their blinds for the 2017 -2018 season the Illinois Department of Natural Resources released their season dates.  Trying to find a place to go, but don't want to head home after waking up at 2:00 AM?  Then try your luck in the permit draw.  You'll find it at the end of the press release.  The draw starts August 16th.  Good Luck!

As it has been for my entire waterfowl hunting career, the 2017 -2018 duck season will be 60 days for ducks and 107 days for goose.  The older generation may remember a 45 or 30 day waterfowl season. However, with strong conservation efforts from local, state and federal agencies along with private organizations the possibility for a 60 day season has increased. 

NOTE: Central Illinois Goose Hunters: there is a split season! 

If you're looking for other dates for various hunting seasons check out the 2017 - 2018 Hunters Digest.  The 2017 - 2018 Waterfowl Digest has not been released yet.  Please make sure to check back.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

Unofficial Start of Waterfowl Season

Unofficial Start of Waterfowl Season

State parks around Illinois were host to hundreds of waterfowlers this weekend as they tried their luck to win a blind for the 2017 - 2018 season.  This is the unofficial start to waterfowl season.  Blind winners only have a few short weeks to get their information in to the state, build, brush and take care of any other maintenance needed.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

IDNR releases Upland Hunting Information and Date of application Availability

Hard to think about but hunting season is just around the corner.  On August 7, 2017 the online application for IDNR managed sites will be live.  There's nothing quite like being behind a dog on point, so make sure you apply and enjoy some great upland opportunities.  You can watch our adventures out at Jim Edgar Panther Creek one of the many sites to hunt upland game  Below you'll see the press release from the IDNR regarding the controlled pheasant hunting reservation and information.

2017 Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online