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Friday, May 24th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Friday, May 24th, 2024

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Ralph Loos

With Illinois’ spring turkey season in the books, hunters wait for numbers

The last turkey has been called in in Illinois this spring, the last turkey hunter has tagged a bird – now it’s a matter of waiting as biologists do some calculating.
Will 2024 finally be the year a spring turkey harvest record is broken?
The north zone season ended May 16, a week after south zone hunters put away their calls and gear. As of May 10, DNR had not given any indication of what the harvest numbers look like. But the five-week regular season was given an early boost by youth hunters who set a new record by taking 2,006 birds.

With Illinois’ spring turkey season in the books, hunters wait for numbers Read More »

Survey gives a small peek at Wolf Lake’s pike in Cook County, Ill.

DNR points out in its most recent report on Wolf Lake that “electrofishing is not a standard method to evaluate northern pike populations.”
But from an angler’s perspective, that line of the report should be followed by a quick “that being said . . . “ As in: “That being said, the Spring 2023 electrofishing survey resulted in the collection of a northern pike measuring 27.4 inches.”

Survey gives a small peek at Wolf Lake’s pike in Cook County, Ill. Read More »

Ralph Loos: Trappers’ top successes in Illinois were raccoons and . . . opossums?

The story about trappers commissioned to protect duck nesting sites from raccoons, coyotes and foxes offers fantasy fodder for any Midwesterner with dreams of running a real trapline.
There aren’t many of us around. According to the Illinois Natural History Survey’s most recent Illinois Trapper Report, trapping license sales in the state decreased from 7,016 in 2021-22 to 6,868 in to 2022-23. The report also notes the average age of an Illinois trapper is 55 and the average trapper has been at it for 25 years.

Ralph Loos: Trappers’ top successes in Illinois were raccoons and . . . opossums? Read More »

Capture of Illinois muskie first tagged in 2006 leads to questions on age, growth rates for the species

Debates over what age puts a fisherman – or a fish scientist –  over the proverbial hill will never be solidly settled.
But knowing when to call a muskie “old” is elementary. Or is it? The specific questions, “What makes a muskie old?” and “How long can the toothy predator live in Illinois waters?” became topics of discussion recently when DNR netted one with a significant history.

Capture of Illinois muskie first tagged in 2006 leads to questions on age, growth rates for the species Read More »

Illinois DNR announces detection of chronic wasting disease in Ford County

Deer hunters keeping score at home may instinctively place Ford County as No. 20 on the state’s chronological list of counties with at least one confirmed case of CWD.
It is actually No. 21. With no hoopla – or even significant public announcement – Bureau County filled the No. 20 spot in late 2023. The CWD map on DNR’s website still does not include the Bureau County deer, nor do any of the charts and lists pertaining to CWD. Documents on DNR’s website still put the number of positive counties at 19.

Illinois DNR announces detection of chronic wasting disease in Ford County Read More »

Saugeyes, muskies shine in Lake Carlton sampling from Illinois’ Whiteside County

Saugeyes and muskies appear to be doing quite well in what some consider to be the “cozy” Lake Carlton.
Actually, except for a few pauses in the crappie and largemouth bass populations, all fish species remained on track to make the 70-acre lake inside Morrison-Rockwood State Park a popular spot for anglers.

Saugeyes, muskies shine in Lake Carlton sampling from Illinois’ Whiteside County Read More »

Ralph Loos: Some readers not happy with story regarding hunter attitudes toward culling to combat CWD in Illinois

The thing about sticking your arm in the den of an angry raccoon is that you usually know you’re sticking your arm in the den of an angry raccoon. But you do it anyway.
And so it goes with my job. Best I can remember, it had been a handful of years – maybe even 10 – since I’d heard from a group of deer hunters who have serious problems with the state’s CWD surveillance program.

Ralph Loos: Some readers not happy with story regarding hunter attitudes toward culling to combat CWD in Illinois Read More »

A look inside the numbers as Illinois youth turkey hunters set new harvest record in 2024

Jase Corley wasted little time. The 10-year-old from St. Jacob shot a gobbler – his first ever turkey – on the morning of March 30, opening day of the 2024 Illinois youth season.
More than 2,000 youngsters around the state soon followed Corley’s lead. DNR reported a harvest of 2,006 turkeys during the youth season, breaking the previous record of 1,733 set four years ago.

A look inside the numbers as Illinois youth turkey hunters set new harvest record in 2024 Read More »

With proof of 48-inchers, Heidecke Lake in Illinois’ Grundy County a muskie target

Heidecke Lake opened for the 2024 season on April 1 with a particular memory from 2023 occupying a certain corner of every angler’s brain.
An April 3, a DNR social media post may have stoked the flame of that memory more than a little bit.
“A state record qualifying muskie was collected in the annual spring trap netting survey last April, and fish over 48 inches have been collected in the past three surveys,” DNR noted in the post.

With proof of 48-inchers, Heidecke Lake in Illinois’ Grundy County a muskie target Read More »

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