Showing posts with label Hunting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hunting. Show all posts

Thursday, September 5, 2019

THE ONE - A Story of a Life-changing Hunt

Opening the door to my truck, I stepped outside, and took a deep breath of cold air as I walked toward my tailgate.  Smelling the air has become a tradition, there is something about it that awakens you on those early hunting mornings.   Frozen corn stalks and grass crunched under my boots as I made my way through the forest.  I climbed up into my tree stand, watching my step, as the frost made them slippery.  It's amazing how ice crystals form on metal and in the peace and serenity of this morning a glistening crystal caught my eye.

As I got into my stand I put my bow and my bags in their proper places, took out some 'hot hands' and busted out my afternoon snack.  As I sat there relaxing, the forest came alive.  Birds flew right past me, turkey gobbled in the distance, squirrels sounded like a ten pointer walking through the woods.  It helped keep my blood pumping and my mind on alert.  The morning was picture perfect with an amazing sunrise full of all the colors people dream about.



About an hour into the morning I saw something off in the distance, 'The One!'  That's right, I named this buck 'The One'.  I've been watching it grow for over two seasons and each year I'm more pumped to check my trail cam to make sure he was still around.  'The One', was no world record buck but, for a public land deer, it was a giant.  There he was, walking the edge of the field, sniffing the air, taking his sweet time.  Every minute and every step he came a little closer until he was about 44 yards out.  I wasn't quite comfortable with that shot, so I continued to wait. I'm already shaking and freaking out because I'm within minutes of taking the biggest deer of my life.  I thought to myself, man, that thing is going to look great on my wall.

I stood up, drew back, got the pin sights on the kill shot and released.  Thwap!

"Michael, Michael, it's time to wake up."  As I open my eyes, my beautiful wife looks at me.  I have a big smile on my face and knew it was a dream, because we all have had that one before.  But,  'The One' was still out there waiting for me.

"How are you feeling"?  said the Doctor.  I looked back at my wife with confusion and tried to sit up.  I can't!  I can't move! Not my toes, fingers or legs.  I start to freak out.

"Michael, calm down.  I'm going to give you a sedative to help you relax." the doctor said as she left the room.  I turn and look at my wife who is now crying.  "Sweetie, we have to talk." she said.  "You broke your back and you're paralyzed from the neck down."


The pain and exhaustion had set over my body and I could barely get the words out.  "How, how did this happen?" I asked.

 "You fell out of your tree stand" she said.

Things didn't make sense at first, but then it all became clear.  It wasn't a dream, 'The One' was right there in my sights, but my foot slipped on the frost and I fell twenty feet onto my back.  The only reason I'm alive today is because another hunter happened to be walking by and saw me on the ground.

As reality set in, thoughts started racing through my head. I'm never going hunting again and never going to flip a jig during a bass tournament.  And I can honestly say that's OK. I have a lifetime of memories!  The hardest part is that I won't be able to walk my daughter down the aisle or dip her at the father-daughter dance.  I won't be able to coach her softball team, go sledding down our hill, or just jump in the car on those hot summer months to grab an ice cream.  All because of 'The One'.

After months in the hospital, the doctor cleared me to go home.  Our whole world was turned upside down and it was difficult to get me situated.  My man cave where I once watched endless hours of fishing and hunting videos, got my gear ready and relived fun memories was now my make-shift bedroom.   As my wife was fluffing my pillows and making me comfortable, I looked around the room in disbelief.  And then something caught my attention.  In the cold, dark corner of the room sat a present my wife had gotten me a year earlier.   It was my Hunter Safety System harness.  I just stared at it and cried for what seemed like forever.  Life as I knew it was over.

You see, 'The One' wasn't about harvesting my personal best buck, it was about 'THE ONE MISTAKE' I made by not wearing my safety harness.  If you think you can't afford one, imagine the hospital bills your family will have when this happens to you.  And if you think that it can't happen to you, call me when it does.  I have nothing but time!  You think wearing them makes you uncomfortable, try only being able to lay in a bed with the endless pain of bed sores all over your body.

As hunters so much time is spent taking care of our equipment and buying the newest gadget in hopes of harvesting that trophy.  But, so little time is discussed about the safety harness and being safe in a tree stand.  Do yourself a favor this season- buy yourself one and wear it.  Your life depends on it.

September is Tree Stand Safety Awareness Month and it’s also the month that most hunters head back to the woods to hang stands in preparation for the upcoming hunting season.

Did you know?
In 2018, the DNR reported thirteen hunting accidents related to falls and eleven of those were either not using a harness system or using it improperly.

Still need a harness?

Check these out:
Muddy® MagnumTM Pro Harness - $39.99
Hunter Safety System Treestalker II Harness - $99.99


Monday, August 26, 2019

Deer and Beer Fest Rivals Fish and Feather Expo

This past weekend organizers opened the doors to the first annual Deer and Beer Fest held at the Interstate Center/ McLean County Fairgrounds.  "We planned this show in Bloomington for the same reason the Deer and Turkey Classic existed here successfully for so long. It’s roughly within an hour drive or less to Peoria, Springfield and Champaign." said Cole Thompson, event organizer.  While I know many people from these cities attended this fest, I also got word from our Chicago area readers that they took the trip down to enjoy a beautiful weekend talking hunting, fishing and the great outdoors as well.

Pumped and ready to start the show!
I've been to several great hunting and fishing shows across the country and in my opinion the Deer and Beer Fest competed with some of the best outdoor shows in Illinois.  Granted it's no SHOT SHOW or ICAST but, the atmosphere and energy was the same.  Not only from attendees but from the vendors themselves looked pumped and ready to go. There is already talk about expanding next year's show to include vendors outside throughout the other parts of the fairground.  "The McLean County Fairgrounds has over 100 acres of outdoor space with 50,000 sq ft indoors, and a 20,000sq ft pavilion area. There’s all kinds of opportunity for growth at this facility" said Thompson.

While many of us are used to our hunting and fishing shows in the winter, August is the month of cabin fever for hunters and that's why it was a great month for the show.   "Hunting season is right around the corner. Hunters are gearing up and ready to spend some cash on what they need or don’t need" said Thompson.  Although shows during the summer may not grow in the hunting community, maybe fishing shows will try this and see how it works on their end.

Attendees had the opportunity to win lots of goodies

As I walked in, it looked like any other show, however like the Energizer Bunny, rows kept going and going.  These rows were filled with quality products along with non-profits and businesses promoting their ideas and chasing the American dream.  Although many attendees came for the great deals on their hunting products, others came for the Big Buck Contest and Trophies of Grace did not disappoint. Luke Brewster's World Record Buck, harvested in Illinois, was also in attendance. Let me just say..WOW.   Nope- not putting a picture up of that monster, because like a sunset or sunrise, it's better in person, trust me!


Just some of the amazing deer on show from Trophies of Grace
If you missed this year don't worry! They'll be back and I'm excited as can be to see how this show grows.  However, I'm a little disappointed in one thing, no gutter guard companies at the show.  I mean, what's an outdoor show without them there?  Just in case some of you can't tell, that's sarcasm.  In all seriousness, this show met and exceeded my expectations and you should plan to take the whole family next year.

I applaud all the workers and vendors for making this an amazing show.   Makes sure to check them out the Deer and Beer Fest on Facebook.  SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!



Monday, July 22, 2019

IDNR Advisory Board Violates Open Meetings Act


NRAB Board Meeting
Today political parties differ on nearly every issue, but there is one thing that is more American than anything. It is the idea that citizens can get involved in their government. And while these political differences have divided our country, we have to remember to hold our representatives and those that work on behalf of the people accountable for their actions or lack of, regardless of political party.

As many of you know, I have been involved with the IDNR since Director Miller under Governor Quinn and after attending these meetings over several years I have seen a lack of transparency and violations of the Open Meetings Act. This has been an ongoing issue with this board. According to the minutes from January 2018, George Sisk, Legal Counsel for DNR stated when discussing another possible Open Meetings Act violtion that, “The Open Meeting Act’s main purpose is to provide transparency when it comes to governmental operations and we must error on the side of caution when it comes to complying with OMA.”

I am by no means, a lawyer, a scholar, or a politician, I am a citizen of Illinois, a hunter, angler and outdoor enthusiasts. I started Capitol Outdoors to make sure that people like you had the insight and transparency of their government.

I am here to hold this board accountable for what I believe is a continued violation of the Open Meetings Act.

According to Section 2.02 (a) of the Open Meetings Act:
An agenda for each regular meeting shall be posted at the principal office of the public body and at the location where the meeting is to be held at least 48 hours in advance of the holding of the meeting. A public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall also post on its website the agenda of any regular meetings of the governing body of that public body.
As of 7:47 am this morning the NRAB website was not updated with today’s agenda. I believe this is a clear violation of the Open Meetings Act. This is not the first time that this has happened and as a member of the public how am I supposed to prepare to educate my audience of issues pertaining to this quarter’s meeting when I have no idea what is on the agenda. And in all the meetings I have attended, I have never once received a printed copy of the agenda so this time wouldn’t be any different.




Another issue related to the Open Meetings act are the minutes.

The only record that the general public has been able to see related to the activity of this advisory board over the last year has been the recordings and accounts by Capitol Outdoors. As you can see from the image above, the last minutes posted were from July 30, 2018.

According to Section 2.06 (b) of the Open Meetings Act:
The minutes of meetings open to the public shall be available for public inspection within 10 days after the approval of such minutes by the public body. Beginning July 1, 2006, at the time it complies with the other requirements of this subsection, a public body that has a website that the full-time staff of the public body maintains shall post the minutes of a regular meeting of its governing body open to the public on the public body's website within 10 days after the approval of the minutes by the public body.
I advise this board to get their head out of the gutter, and start holding themselves accountable.  We must ask the question, is the IDNR and this board Communicating, Collaborating and Connecting with the public or is it business as usual?

Tune in to today’s NRAB meeting via our FB page unfortunately we don't know what will be discussed due to lack of agenda.

If you are unfamiliar with NRAB you can read a previous article of ours explaining the purpose of the board.

Monday, February 25, 2019

FIRST CHICAGOLAND NATIONAL PHEASANT FEST & QUAIL CLASSIC DRAWS 22,387

Press Release from Pheasants & Quail Forever
Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic presented by Federal Premium Ammunition drew 22,387 weekend attendees to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center, the event’s inaugural run in Chicagoland. At the nation’s biggest gathering of upland wildlife conservationists, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced his department’s intention to hold upcoming signups for the federal Conservation Reserve Program, the country’s signature pheasant and quail habitat creator.

Pheasants Forever & Quail Forever’s National Pheasant Fest & Quail Classic 2019 (photo courtesy: Capitol Outdoors)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Constitutional Amendment Guaranteeing the Right to Hunt & Fish Filed in Illinois

Each year thousands of bills and resolutions get filed in Illinois to become law.  Most of these bills get stuck in committee and never really gain any traction.  Bills, however, that have legislator support, constituent support or are overall popular, usually end up seeing movement.  However, popularity doesn't always stem from within the state and outside influence can also start the avalanche of support for a particular bill.  Let's take a look at one of the most recent House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment.

Friday, February 1, 2019

SB 201 - WILDLIFE-LEAD AMMUNITION

Sen. Iris Y. Martinez
Filed: SB0201 on 1/30/19

Synopsis As Introduced:
Amends the Wildlife Code. Provides that nontoxic ammunition, as certified by the Department of Natural Resources, shall be required when taking all wildlife, including game mammals, game birds, non-game birds, and non-game mammals with any firearm. Provides that the Department shall adopt by rule a public process to certify ammunition as nontoxic ammunition and shall define, by rule, nontoxic ammunition to include only ammunition in which there is no lead content, excluding the presence of trace elements of lead. Provides that to the extent that funding is available, the Department shall establish a process that provides hunters with nontoxic ammunition at no or reduced charge. Grants rulemaking authority to the Department. Provides for penalties. Makes other changes.

Last Actions:






    Monday, January 28, 2019

    Over 150,000 Harvested Deer during 2018-2019 Seasons

    That's a wrap for the 2018 - 2019 deer season.  Below you'll see the preliminary harvest numbers and information provided by the IDNR.  I would like to thank all those that contributed their pictures of their harvest.  

    Illinois 2018-19 Deer Hunting Seasons Result in Preliminary Harvest of 151,577 Deer




    SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 151,577 deer during all 2018-19 archery and firearm seasons, which concluded on Jan. 20. The total preliminary deer harvest for all seasons compares with a total harvest for all seasons of 147,695 deer in 2017-18.

    During the 2018-19 deer seasons, hunters took 45 percent does and 55 percent males.

    Thursday, January 3, 2019

    Late Season Archery Harvest Numbers

    Deer harvest totals stayed up the majority of the 2018 - 2019 season with 60% of the 57,237 taken by compound bow and 39% harvested by crossbows.  While there is still a time to fill those tags, hunters during last weeks harvest shot 75% does.  

    Kellie with her mature buck from Macoupin County.  It scored 160 7/9.  Big congrats to Kellie on her harvest!
    ARCHERY DEER SEASON
    Through Tuesday, January 1, 2019, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 57,237 deer, compared to 55,599 for the same period in the 2017-18 season.

    New Years Newsbits January 2019

    Illinois DNR Newsbits – January 2019

    Wednesday, January 2, 2019

    Hunting Days Added to the Controlled Pheasant Season at Four IDNR Sites


    Hunting Days Added to the Controlled Pheasant Season at Four IDNR Sites



    SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is extending Controlled Pheasant Hunting seasons at four IDNR sites. Hunters can make reservations now for additional hunting opportunities.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2018

    Pheasant Hunters Will See Quotas Increase at Jim Edgar Panther Creek

    It was just last week that I was fortunate enough to take a friend out hunting for his first pheasant hunt.  The action was great and of course there were a lot of laughs.  

    Below you'll see a press release that a Illinois Department of Natural Resources State Wildlife Site will be increasing their quotas.  

    Hurry spots will fill up fast.

    Controlled Pheasant Hunting Hunter Quotas Increased at Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA

    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources today announced that the daily hunter quotas have been increased on the Controlled Pheasant Hunting Unit at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass Co. through the close of the hunting season on Sunday, January 13, 2019. Additional pheasants will be released at the site because of the hunter quota increase.

    Linc on his last pheasant hunt spooked up all four of our birds.  

    Hunters are encouraged to use the online Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation System at www.dnr.illinois.gov to secure permits. Reserved Permits ensure hunters will have the opportunity to hunt and further, ensure that the correct number of pheasants are released for each hunter trip. Standby Permits are also available for each hunt date, although standby hunting opportunities are limited.

    To access the reservation system:

    Click on "Hunt/Trap" on the IDNR Home Page
    Then click on "Upland Game"
    Then click on "Controlled Pheasant Hunting Permits, Hunting Areas, Regs, etc."

    Hunters are reminded that the daily permit fee for the controlled pheasant program is $30 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters. The daily permit fee applies to each hunter. Daily permit fees are collected during the on-line application process for Reserved Permits or at the site hunter check station for Standby Permit hunters.

    Completing a permit reservation online takes less than five minutes.

    For complete details, check the controlled pheasant hunting website at www.dnr.illinois.gov.

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Preliminary Deer Harvest Totals from Illinois Muzzleloader-only Season

    Check out this weeks preliminary numbers of the Illinois Muzzleloader-only Season. 



    MUZZLELOADER DEER SEASON

    Illinois deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 3,863 deer during the 2018 muzzleloading rifle deer season (Dec. 7-9), compared to 3,765 in 2017.

    Harvest sex ratios were 56% does and 44% males (2172:1691).

    The top five counties for muzzleloader season harvest were Pike (164), Randolph (132), Adams (129), Hancock (109), and Fulton (99).

    Check out County by County numbers.  



    Wednesday, December 5, 2018

    Hunters Harvest A Total of 80,896 Deer During the 2018 Illinois Firearm Season

    State Representative Jerry Costello II with a nice buck

    Firearm deer season has come to an end.  Muzzleloader only is this coming weekend.  If you harvest a deer this weekend, send in your photos to capitoloutdoors@gmail.com and you could be featured in next week's numbers.

    Tuesday, December 4, 2018

    Young Hunters Can Register Now for Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt

    Young Hunters Can Register Now for Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt

    Annual Youth Hunt is January 20-21, 2019 in Fulton County

    Tyler and his dog Kimber on a successful early season goose hunt.
    SPRINGFIELD, IL – Youth interested in participating in the annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt, sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), may register now for the hunt scheduled for January 20-21, 2019.

    December 2018 IDNR Newsbits

    Here is the list of event dates and reminders from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

    IDNR Newsbits - December 2018


    Archery Deer and Fall Turkey Permits: Illinois Archery Deer and Illinois Archery Fall Turkey seasons are open through Jan. 20, 2019. Permits are available over-the-counter at DNR Direct license and permit vendors. Find a vendor near you at this link: http://dnr.illinois.gov/DNRDirectMonitor/VendorListing.aspx

    Thursday, November 29, 2018

    Spring Illinois Recreational Access Program Turkey Applications Out

    Here at Capitol Outdoors, we say this a lot, it's that time of year again!  Yep, it's that time of year again, to apply for the turkey hunting on Illinois Recreational Access Program participants land.  Below you'll see the dates, information and how to's of applying for the IRAP hunting opportunities.

    Have you ever said to yourself, I wish I had some private land to hunt on?  Well, that's what this is!  IRAP works with landowners, that have specific regulations to help make the best habitat for wildlife, and opens their land up for hunters.  Success rates are high and hunting is fierce.  

    IDNR Offers 2019 Spring Turkey Hunting on Private Property Through the IRAP Public Access Program

    Youth Hunters and Adult Hunters Can Apply Today

    Wednesday, November 28, 2018

    Archery Deer Numbers Still Up After First Firearm Season

    Archery deer hunters are back in the stand after last weeks First Firearm Season.  Numbers are still up and some big bucks are being taken this year.  Buck consist of 54% of the harvest but have "Dropped significantly during the past seven days compared to previous weeks".   I'm excited to see how the numbers during the second firearm season will compare.  Please send your pictures in and share them with the Capitol Outdoors community.

    Rick with a big 9 pointer during the 2018 first firearm season.

    Monday, November 26, 2018

    First Season of Shotgun Deer Totals Up

    Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 58,836 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 16-18. Hunters took 51,450 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2017.

    Friday, November 16, 2018

    2018 Black Friday Hunting, Fishing and Outdoor Ads



    Everyone loves a good deal, especially when it comes to hunting and fishing gear! We are always keeping an eye out for those special prices! Are you looking for a new addition to your tournament tackle, interested in a new graph or perhaps you are looking for that new shotgun? Check out the deals in the stores below!  We have worked with many of these companies, they are great people with exceptional products for those who love the outdoors. Is there a store that you know offers some great deals.  Email us and let us know about the deal.


    Are you a Bass Fisherman looking to up your spinnerbait game?  


    Make spinnerbaits cool again with Angler Assets! Be sure and check out the Double Willow at LandBigFish.com.  Available in a variety of proven colors and incorporating unique plazma skirt material, the Angler Assets Plazma Series Spinnerbaits give the fish a new look and the angler the competitive edge.


    You can also find Angler Assets at Scheels and Tackle Warehouse



    Give yourself the edge on the water with Basset Baits plastics and other tackle. 


    Check out the Phantom Craw. It is an all around bait, trailer, texas rig, wobbleheads.  It is a must have in your arsenal.

    Proven Big Bass Catcher. 

    Variety of colors available. Bait Shown in Milky Way.

    For the Crappie and Ice Fishing Enthusiast, check out Brushpile Jigs, where you'll find an assortment of plastics for all your pan fishing needs. 

    Brushpile plastics help you catch more fish with their UV enhancement on all their lures.

    Many options available for purchase. 

    Do you worry about your fish staying alive in your live well? You need the New Pro Product VT-2 System. 


    A livewell equipped with the V-T2 Livewell Ventilation System allows you to weigh-in with confidence, avoid penalties and dramatically reduce the risk of stress-delayed-mortality after the release.


    This product really helped keep our fish alive this summer. 

    There is nothing like fishing in some of the shadows of some of Chicago's biggest skyscrapers.  Be sure and check out Pat Harrison Outdoors


    Pat Harrison is a full-time licensed fishing guide, United States Coast Guard licensed charter captain, and influential angler from Northern Illinois. A resident of Northwest Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, Harrison has over 38 years worth of angling experience, with 9 seasons of guiding under his belt. After taking courses and undergoing certification, Pat became a USCG certified captain 3 years ago.

    10% off on 1/2 day trip and 15% off on full day trip until Christmas

    Let Captain Pat know that Capitol Outdoors sent ya!

    patharrisonoutdoors.com

    Gear up for next year with a custom designed jersey from Sublime Wear.  Have an Ugly Christmas Sweater Party to go to? Get your ugly sweater from Sublime as well! 

    They are a dye sublimation company that manufactures their product from start to finish; from processing the order, to design, printing, pressing sewing and shipping, it is all done right there. 

    Sublime Wear Custom Jersey

    Do you want to start capturing video of your fishing trips?  Let Yolotek Power Your Adventures this year! 


    Voted Best New Product at the Bassmaster Classic and Best in Show at ICast the Powerstick is a must-have product! Check out their many awesome products today. 

    Use promo code: CAPITOLOUTDOORS for free shipping! 

    Powering Your Adventures: Yolotek.com

    Below you can find links to come of the bigger outdoor stores!  Be sure and check with your local bait shops and hunting stores.  Support your local businesses! 


    Ad won't be released until Nov. 22nd

    Happy Sale Hunting! 








    Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Round 6 of Archery Harvest Numbers Show Bucks in the Rut

    That cold front that pushed through last week showed in this weeks archery harvest numbers.  Harvest numbers are still up for the year and the ratio doe vs buck are slowly starting to switching for the season.  66% of deer taking this week were bucks. As the orange army takes the field this week, will that ratio finally switch over to more buck harvested for the season?  The Illinois Department of Natural Resources sent out a reminder on Firearm Safety and CWD Check-in Stations.