Outdoors & More


Hardwater fish’n
With a warmer-than-usual winter in our Prairie State, Mother Nature gave us ice anglers just two months to enjoy our sport. We might be able to squeeze some time on the ice in early March, but we’ll have to see how that plays out.

I am starting to see more propane- and battery-powered ice augers being used these days. I’m tempted to use my 18-volt power drill to drill ice holes, but I already burned up one trying it. Maybe a 20-volt drill with good torque would do the trick. It sure would be lighter than the heavy gas-powered auger I sometimes lug around.

Pheasant hunting
I’ve pretty much given up on hunting pheasants on private land in Illinois. I realize there are pockets of good public areas in our state, but the past two years some buddies and I have ventured to Decorah, Iowa for pheasants. We hunt on a place called “Chase The Adventure,” and it costs around $100 per person for a day’s hunt—that includes lunch and the use of a hunting dog. Because it is a private enterprise, you can shoot both roosters and hens. A one-day special Iowa license must be purchased. As we live close to the Iowa/Illinois border, Decorah isn’t a long drive. As far as penned birds vs. wild birds, well, I have never been able to find a difference. Penned raised pheasants explode in the air and fly just as fast as any “wild” ones. None of us guys can see any difference. Having the use of a hunting dog is a must, though.

My age
Last year I joined a support group for procrastinators; we haven’t met yet. Last week I squeezed myself into our dryer. I figured I’d come out wrinkle-free and three sizes smaller. My biggest lie to myself is: I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it!

Whitetails Unlimited
The 10th anniversary of the Coldwater Creek Chapter, located in the western Quad City area of Illinois, will hold its annual banquet at Lavender Crest Winery, Colona, Ill. The date is Saturday, February 20. Mr. Travis “T-Bone” Turner, co-host of the TV show, Bone Collector, will be the special guest. There will be live and silent auctions with a wide array of hunting and outdoor related products. For more information call 309-373-1154.

You can be among the first to get the latest info on where to go, what to use and how to use it!

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In the world of firearms, one person who deserves credit for inventing a very reliable rifle Is Mikhail Kalashnikov. He passed away in 2013 at age 94. In many conflicts around the world today, one will see his AK-47 invention used by both the good guys and bad guys. It is not the most accurate rifle of its type, nor is it well balanced. What it does get great praise for is its reliability. If you want much better accuracy and the ability to add a few more options, the AR-15 platform—or as some call it, the “Black rifle”—would be a better choice. That is not to say that AR-15-type rifles are not reliable. They are, but with closer tolerances in the manufacturing, and like any semi or automatic firearms, it is best to keep it clean.

Getting back to Kalashnikov, whether he should be included with respect to past famous firearm inventors like Browning, Colt, Henry, etc., remains to be seen.

Good riddance
In the big lakes of Michigan, Huron, and Ontario, the invasive lampreys are on a steady decline. While sea lampreys will probably always be a problem, as long as the Great Lakes Fishery Commission continues to battle the nasty creatures the lamprey decline is a good thing. Lake Erie and Lake Superior are showing a lesser decline in numbers during the past 5 years. In case you didn’t know, the lamprey attaches itself to fish with a tooth-filled suction cup mouth. It creates a hole through the fish’s scale and skin. In time, the fish dies and the lamprey goes on to another host—nasty creatures!

Doug Brock of Geneseo, Ill., bagged his largest buck ever. It was an 8-pointer and he donated the venison. Brock shot it during the first Illinois Deer Firearm season.