Outdoor notes: State hunting, trapping seasons open

Hunting, Trapping Begins: All sorts of Illinois hunting and trapping seasons open Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5-6.

Hunting seasons beginning Friday are North Zone raccoon and opossum.

North Zone beaver, muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk and weasel trapping also begins Friday.

On Saturday, cock pheasant, Hungarian (gray) partridge, bobwhite quail and cottontail and swamp rabbit hunting begins in both the state’s North and South zones.

Statewide dove hunting also resumes Nov. 6 and goes through Nov. 14, though there probably aren’t many doves around anymore. Most have migrated away for the winter.

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Corn Coming Down: Here’s a statistic of interest to deer hunters at this time of year—81 percent of the state’s corn crop had been harvested as of Oct. 24, according to the Illinois Agricultural Statistics Service. The first firearm deer hunt is on the horizon (Nov. 19-21), and for years, hunter success has been tied to how much of the corn crop has been picked.

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Fall Gun Show: Rockford’s Pine Tree Pistol Club will hold its annual fall gun show on Sunday, Nov. 14, at Forest Hills Lodge next to Rockford Speedway in Loves Park. Hours will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A drawing will be held for guns or cash. Chances are $1 per stub or $5 for six. Entrants need not be present to win. The drawing will be held at 3:30 p.m.

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Waterfowl Sites: In its listing of Great American Duck Hunts, Field & Stream magazine recognized two Illinois sites in the Mississippi Flyway among “25 public land hot spots where the good old days of waterfowling are right here, right now.”

They were: Donnelley-Lake DePue State Fish and Wildlife Area on the Illinois River in Putnam County, two miles north of Hennepin, (815) 447-2353; and the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota, (563) 873-3423.

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Deer Hunting Gum? A new product for hunters this fall is called Gum-o-Flage.

Neil Bretl of Antigo, Wis., is marketing it to deer hunters to help fool the animals’ hypersensitive noses to human scent, according to Associated Press story. Hunters already use special soap, shampoo and clothing detergent to eliminate human smell. Some even pay $300 for scent-control coveralls or rub themselves with horse manure.

Now, for $4.99, hunters can get 12 olive green, Chiclet-style tablets in a blister pack. “It’s sugar-free, by the way,” said Bretl, 35, whose license plate reads GUM GUY.

His formula incorporates anti-microbial agents, chlorophyll and three kinds of pine oil. He’s now contracted with Ford Gum & Machine Co., of Akron, N.Y., to make Gum-o-Flage.

Bretl said he has sold about 25,000 packs since August, and he got a boost when Deer & Deer Hunting magazine put Gum-o-Flage on the cover of a special equipment issue as one of its “top picks for 2004.”

He said Gum-o-Flage is in at least 250 independent hunting stores across the country and about 25 Gander Mountain outlets. He also sends the gum directly to customers from his Web site.

And he vows that by Dec. 31, he’ll move all 65,000 packs of Gum-o-Flage still sitting in his warehouse.

Next year he hopes to introduce a chlorophyll tablet and a sweeter-tasting gum with clover extract called Alfalfa Honey.

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Big CRP Acceptance: Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman said the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has enrolled nearly 1.2 million acres of some of the country’s most environmentally sensitive lands into the Conservation Reserve Program. A portion of those conserved acres will greatly benefit ducks, said Ducks Unlimited.

This is CRP’s 29th general sign-up, and USDA has set a precedent by accepting 76 percent of the nearly 1.7 million acres that were offered for the program. This brings the total acres enrolled in CRP up to 35.6 million, ever closer to the 39.2 million acres authorized in the 2002 Farm Bill.

CRP is a USDA program established in the 1985 Farm Bill that offers a per-acre rental payment for retiring previously farmed, marginal lands under 10 to 15-year contracts. According to federal and state researchers, in just five years, more than 12 million additional ducks were added to the fall flight as a result of CRP in the prairies.

Moreover, CRP has accomplished more than any other USDA program for landscape-level conservation of soil, water and wildlife habitat while providing working farms and ranches with more money.

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Cranes Stop Over: The 15 juvenile whooping cranes migrating from Wisconsin to Florida spent three days Oct. 21-23 in Winnebago County because of weather and high winds. As of Oct. 27, they still were in Illinois.

They are being guided by three ultralight aircraft of Operation Migration Inc., which guided the three previous migrations. This one left Oct. 10 from Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin on a 1,228-mile journey to the wintering habitat at Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge along Florida’s Gulf coast.

On its Web site of www.rockrivertimes.com, The Rock River Times has established a link so the public can follow the progress of the 2004 migration. Click on Section B on the left side of the home page, then look for Follow the Cranes’ Migration icon on the right side.

Educators and students are encouraged to visit Journey North for information and curriculum materials related to whooping crane project: http://www.learner.org/jnorth/fall2003/crane/index.html

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Rock Cut Hunt: First half of the Rock Cut State Park’s deer/turkey hunt for sportsmen with disabilities will be Nov. 11-13. Second season will be Dec. 9-11. The park will be closed to the general public during hunting days. When it is open to the public, winter hours (November-March) will be in effect: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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Alaska Presentation: Severson Dells Nature Center and the Sinnissippi Audubon Society will co-host the Alaska Coalition of Illinois presentation of “Wild Alaska” at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Severson Dells.

The program includes a slide presentation on the Arctic National Refuge, the Tongass National Forest and the toll taken by the oil and timber industries. The program is free. Call (815) 335-2915.

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Another Fish Kill: Another massive fish kill has hit the Pecatonica River in Wisconsin, said the Wisconsin DNR.

Thousands of fish died when a farmer released 35,000 gallons of liquid manure near the river in the Iowa County town of Mifflin, said the DNR. Another manure spill in July killed thousands of fish along a 30-mile stretch of the Pec in Lafayette County.

The DNR said it continues to investigate both incidents.

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Waterfowl Info: For information on this year’s Illinois waterfowl hunting season dates and regulations, pick up a copy of the Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations 2004-2005 at DNR offices and license vendors. The digest also is available on the DNR Web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/waterfowl/index.htm.

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Muskie Results: Fishing partners Victor Fox of Shabbona and Duane Landmeier of Hinckley landed the top prize in the ninth annual Director’s Muskie Tournament held recently at Eagle Creek State Park on Lake Shelbyville.

The $1,000 award was sponsored by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. The tournament is presented each year by the Illinois Conservation Foundation and the Illinois DNR. All proceeds benefit hunting and fishing programs supported by ICF.

Fox and Landmeier competed against 74 other teams and won with a three-muskie catch totaling 107 inches. Crestliner sponsored the $500 second-place prize awarded to Andrew Veach of Carol Stream and John Phillips of Wilmington for their three-muskie catch totaling 105 inches. Third went to Frank Walter of North Chicago and Tom Geryol of Waukegan for 104 3/4 inches for three fish.

Heather Miller of Frankfort caught her first muskie. At 41 3/4 inches, it was the longest fish of the tourney, good for a $300 prize.

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Deadline: The last day to apply for Illinois firearm or muzzleloader deer hunting permits is Nov. 5. Random daily drawings continue. All hunters, regardless of any deer permits they already may have received, are eligible to apply for muzzleloader-only permits during this drawing period.

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Late-Season Hunt: Permit applications are available for the late winter firearm antlerless-only deer hunting season Jan. 14-16. The season is open to Illinois residents only.

Applications will be accepted through Nov. 12, and permits will be allocated in a random drawing. Legal firearms for the late winter deer season are shotgun, muzzleloader or handgun.

Open counties will be: Adams, Brown, Bureau, Calhoun, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Crawford, Fayette, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Hancock, Jasper, Jefferson, Jersey, Jo Daviess, Knox, LaSalle, Lawrence, Macoupin, Madison, Marion, McDonough, McLean, Montgomery, Morgan, Ogle, Peoria, Perry, Pike, Randolph, Richland, Schuyler, Scott, St. Clair, Washington, Wayne, White, Whiteside and Williamson.

Special hunt areas open for the season are: Apple River Canyon State Park (Jo Daviess County), Falling Down Prairie State Natural Area (Jo Daviess), Hanover Bluff State Natural Area (Jo Daviess), Siloam Springs State Park (Adams and Brown counties) and Tapley Woods State Natural Area (Jo Daviess).

For more info, contact the DNR permit office at (217) 782-7305. Permit applications are available at DNR offices and on the Web site at http://dnr.state.il.us.

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New Programming: Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors will partner with Fox Sports Net (FSN) to bring television coverage to millions of outdoor fans around the country every week.

Wal-Mart FLW Outdoors will feature 52 one-hour shows packed with tournament coverage, guest appearances by fishing legends and celebrities, angler profiles and the most up-to-date news from the professional fishing world. It will air Sunday mornings on FSN regional sports networks nationally.

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Record Damage: In one of the most active hurricane seasons on record, hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne left a huge financial mark on recreational boaters from the Louisiana Gulf to Florida’s Atlantic Coast.

According to BoatU.S., the damage done to recreational vessels totals approximately $680 million. This figure tops the $500 million in recreational boat damage attributed to hurricane Andrew in 1992.

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MWC Television: Coverage of the 20th annual Cabela’s Masters Walleye Circuit World Walleye Championship Oct. 14-16 on the Mississippi River out of Prairie du Chien, Wis., will be aired Nov. 15 at 9 p.m. EST on The Outdoor Channel. Repeated airings will be Nov. 17 at 7 a.m. and Nov. 21 at 8 a.m.

The 2005 MWC season will begin March 19-20 with the Central Division tourney on the Illinois River at Spring Valley. More info: www.masterswalleyecircuit.com, www.walleyecentral.com, e-mail events@masters walleyecircuit.com, or call (877) 893-7947.

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Fishing Future Dinner: Fifth annual Fishing for the Future fund-raising dinner put on by the Coon Creek Casters fishing club will be Saturday, Nov. 13, at UAW Hall in Belvidere.

Last year’s sold-out event raised $18,000 for scholarships, fish stockings and youth events. Scheduled are dinner, door prizes, auctions and a boat raffle. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner at 7.

Tickets priced at $40 are available at Belvidere Auto Clinic, The Bait Shop and Bush Gardens in Belvidere.

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