Outdoors & More


Game wardens
The Geneseo, Ill. Izaak Walton League recently invited Jamie Posateri, conservation police officer, to our monthly members’ meeting. It is really amazing all the tasks that our CPOs are called upon to perform each year. It’s not just chasing poachers, checking fishing, hunting and trapping licenses, enforcing boat regulations, etc. They are also involved in security issues, drug trafficking and assisting other law enforcement agencies. They also rely on us, the public, to alert them of illegal outdoor activities. If you don’t know your local CPO’s phone number, contact the local police or sheriff office.

Don’t forget that your 2016-17 Illinois fishing license expires on March 31, 2017. Make sure you have it when fishing.

The ‘Saint’
That is the name of the new AR-15-style rifle manufactured by Springfield Armory in Geneseo. Their location is only 15 minutes from my house, but I haven’t yet stopped in to look at one. There are a lot of companies that manufacture various models of the AR-15 platform, however, Springfield Armory has a reputation for quality and reliability with their other line of firearms so they should have good sales with the Saint.

Safety on the Ice
Here in Illinois it’s best to be extra careful during March if you’re ice fishing. Some seasons that are colder the late-ice fishing is good, but with the warmer temperatures this late winter you have to be careful. There is not just the question of ice thickness and falling through, but walking on melting ice can cause a bad fall. Ice cleats can help, but watch your step.

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If you’re more inclined to feed birds only in the cold of winter, don’t give up just yet. This month is a bit of a challenge for those flying animals to find food. Glen Anderson, “Birdman of Henry County,” called me the other day and said he had five redheaded woodpeckers at his birdfeeder. To attract them, he uses them corn and peanuts. Sunflower seeds are my favorite, but sometimes I have to battle the cardinals. Maybe it’s because I’m a Cubs fan!

Many of these animals call Illinois their home. They’re the only marsupial (pouched) mammal that inhabits Illinois, Iowa, and other Midwest states. Not long ago I witnessed something unusual looking outside a farm window in Iowa. There was a dish of cat food sitting just outside that window. It was getting dark, when a raccoon walked up to the dish to enjoy a snack. While it was there, a large skunk came up and decided to have a meal, too. It was not a problem, as there was enough food for both. But then who should join the group but Mr. Opossum. However, he was not in sharing mood and showed his teeth as if to attack the other two animals. The two ran for their lives as the opossum ruled that evening.

Mississippi and Rock rivers
Let’s hope the spring river stages in our western part of Illinois will be “tolerant.” I have no stats, but it seems to me that both rivers that flow through the Quad Cities last year remained on the high side. Usually in late summer and fall the Rock River tends to be on the lower side, but not in 2016. Both rivers provide excellent fishing, especially for channel cats. The “mud flats” by Rapids City is still my favorite location to find “Mr. Whiskers.”