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Articles filed under Outdoors

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  • Quinn signs boating rules inspired by Libertyville boy’s death Jul 5, 2014 4:53 PM
    Gov. Pat Quinn has approved several laws aimed at increasing boater safety on a holiday weekend that many Illinois residents are spending on lakes and rivers.

  • Perch opportunity beckons on the lakefront Jul 2, 2014 6:11 PM
    Perch fishing is a good bet along the Lake Michigan shoreline in July.

  • Watch what you eat, but enjoy the urban fishery Jul 2, 2014 6:10 PM
    The Chicago River certainly has pollution problems, but there's no doubt that some more desirable game fish are showing up in its waters.

  • DNR lowers deer bag limits in 19 Indiana counties Jul 1, 2014 1:01 AM
    State wildlife officials have lowered the number of deer that hunters in 19 Indiana counties can take in response to waning deer populations in those counties. The state Department of Natural Resources announced last week that the number of anterless deer hunters can bag this season had been lowered in 19 counties and increased in four counties in southern Indiana. Counties with a quota of three or less per hunter cannot participate in the state’s late antlerless hunting season, which this year runs from Dec. 26 to Jan. 4. Wildlife biologist Chad Stewart tells the Kokomo Tribune that robust deer hunts over the past couple of years means “this pressure is no longer needed in some counties to get the deer harvest where we want it to be.”

  • Barrington swimmer helps others achieve dreams Jun 29, 2014 10:09 AM
    After coming close to swimming the English Channel, Barrington's Don Macdonald had to scale back his goals due to a nearly fatal heart ailment. Instead, he merely kayaked around Manhattan Island on Saturday.

  • State says Waukegan Harbor clean enough for dredging Jun 25, 2014 4:25 PM
    Illinois officials are asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to lift restrictions on dredging in Waukegan Harbor that were put in place to avoid stirring up contaminated sediment.

  • Color me skeptical on Chicago River catfish Jun 25, 2014 6:52 PM
    The Chicago River is surely less polluted than in the past, but that doesn't make it a great sportfishing option. The release of catfish fingerlings should provide some indication about the overall water quality of the drainage system, but columnist Mike Jackson isn't convinced it will prove much.

  • Wisconsin DNR urges disabled hunters to sign up for season Jun 23, 2014 6:28 AM
    Wisconsin wildlife officials are reminding disabled hunters to sign up for the state’s special fall deer hunt. The hunt is scheduled to run from Oct. 4 through Oct. 12. The hunt will take place on 73,000 acres across 39 counties that property owners have offered up. Hunters have until Sept. 1 to contact a property owner and enroll in the hunt. A full list of property owners is available on the Department of Natural Resources’ website.

  • Wisconsin to offer southern bobcat season Jun 22, 2014 9:40 AM
    Hunters and trappers will get a chance to go after bobcats in southern Wisconsin this fall. The state Department of Natural Resources already offers a bobcat season in northern Wisconsin. This fall the agency will run a season south of Highway 64. Both seasons will run concurrently in two parts, from Oct. 18 to Dec. 25 and Dec. 26 to Jan. 31. Permit applications for the southern region are due Aug. 1. Applicants will have to note which region they want to hunt or trap in as well as what time period. Permits will be awarded through a lottery.

  • Wisconsin wants to scale back annual wolf hunt Jun 19, 2014 6:35 AM
    Wisconsin wildlife officials want to dramatically scale back the state’s third annual wolf hunt this fall, saying the wolf population is decreasing as planned and they want to study the effects of last year’s harvest. The Department of Natural Resources plans to ask its board next week to limit the total 2014-15 kill to 156 wolves and again issue permits equal to 10 times the quota, or 1,560 permits. That’s down sharply from last year’s 251-animal, 2,510-permit parameters. The DNR could reduce the quota even more depending on the state’s Chippewa tribes. DNR Wildlife Management Bureau Director Tom Hauge said the agency wants to back off for several reasons. The first two seasons accomplished the agency’s goals of halting the wolf population’s growth and starting to reduce the animals’ numbers, he said. The DNR estimates 660 to 689 wolves were roaming the state late this winter, down from 809 to 824 animals in 2012-13. The DNR’s goal is 350 animals, but the agency doesn’t want to take a “pedal to the metal” approach because hunting’s effects on wolves are still not fully understood, Hauge said. Hunters exceeded the 251-animal quota last year by six animals, he added, and the DNR wants to study the effects of such a successful season on the population. “Learning as we go is the way most biologists prefer to go about this,” Hauge said. “Maintaining a sustainable wolf population is absolutely job number one for the department. In comparison to turkeys and deer and more abundant species, the margin of error is smaller when you have a population numbering in the hundreds.” The DNR’s board is set to consider the quota at a meeting in Milwaukee on June 25. If it’s approved, the state’s six Chippewa tribes would then have an opportunity to declare how many wolves tribal hunters want to kill in the ceded territory, a huge swath of northern Wisconsin the Chippewa handed over to the federal government in the 19th century. The tribes are entitled to half of the total quota in the ceded territory. Under the DNR’s proposal, that quota would be 129 wolves. Tribal hunters would have the exclusive right to kill up to 65 of them. That would mean non-tribal hunters and trappers could take the remaining 91 wolves. But the Chippewa oppose hunting wolves because they see the animal as a spiritual brother and tribal hunters haven’t taken a single wolf during the first two seasons. Even so, the DNR likely will reduce the statewide quota by some amount to offset any potential tribal take, Hauge said. Last year, for example, the agency originally proposed a 275-animal quota but reduced it to 251 to allow the Chippewa to take 24 wolves just in case the tribes changed their mind. Sue Erickson, a spokeswoman for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, which oversees the Chippewa’s off-resrevation treaty rights, had no immediate comment. Melissa Smith, organizer of Friends of Wisconsin Wolves, a wolf advocacy group, said she was glad to see the DNR is moving cautiously. The agency is “just playing and guessing” about the hunt’s impacts, she said. “It’s certainly better news than last year,” she said. “(But) it’s still a higher quota than pro-wolf advocates would like. We would like to see no trophy or recreational hunting of wolves.”

  • Wisconsin DNR warns of algae blooms Jun 19, 2014 6:35 AM
    The Wisconsin Department of Resources is urging boaters, anglers and swimmers to be on the lookout for blue-green algae in their favorite lakes. Blue-green algae grows quickly in water bodies with high nutrient levels such as phosphorus or nitrogen. The agency blooms are appearing in lakes and ponds in southern Wisconsin and will gradually show up in the northern reaches of the state as the summer continues. DNR officials say people who touch the algae or accidentally ingest water containing it can become sick. Pets that come into contact with it by drinking algae-contaminated water or licking algae from their coats can die. The DNR says if dog owners that notice their pets are lethargic, suffering from vomiting, diarrhea or seizures should contact a veterinarian.

  • State eases Lake Michigan perch fishing ban Jun 18, 2014 5:34 PM
    Starting in 2015, yellow perch fishing will be allowed in July on Lake Michigan, but it will not be allowed from May 1 through June 15 to protect spawning stock. Mike Jackson looks back on the controversial ban's history in today's outdoor notes.

  • There’s no perfect lure, but in-line spinners come close Jun 18, 2014 5:36 PM
    Inline spinners often prove to be just the kind of flashy, fish-triggering lures that get the job done.

  • Gulf states prosper from wildlife tourism Jun 11, 2014 6:21 PM
    Florida’s 23 coastal counties host more than 16,000 wildlife tourism-related businesses. State and local governments generate nearly $1 billion in tax revenue from tourism, a sum that could pay salaries of over 16,000 nurses. More than 7.6 million wildlife tourists visit Florida every year. The wildlife tourism industry in the Gulf of Mexico states is a $19 billion industry and generates 2.6 million jobs.

  • Put the scale aside and enjoy the action Jun 11, 2014 6:19 PM
    Length and weight are certainly valid methods of measurement when it comes to a fishing outing, but so is learning to simply enjoy the moment and the variety of an extended bite.

  • 30,000 catfish to be released in Chicago River Jun 10, 2014 5:37 AM
    The Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Friends of the Chicago River plan to release 30,000 catfish into the river as part of a habitat restoration project. Friends of the Chicago River said the channel catfish will be released near Blue Island and a spot in downtown Chicago on Tuesday. Eventually the group plans to release 100,000 catfish into the river and 400 structures known as nesting cavities to encourage the fish to repopulate the river. Catfish numbers have been limited in the Chicago River for years. The project is being paid for with a $300,000 grant from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

  • 3 states team up on aquatic invasive species Jun 10, 2014 5:37 AM
    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Midwest boaters are being urged to drain and clean their boats and trailers to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species across their borders. Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan have teamed up for a public service campaign to encourage boaters and anglers to avoid spreading zebra mussels, spiny water fleas and other aquatic invaders when they travel between states. Wisconsin DNR Secretary Cathy Stepp says the three states share a common goal of stopping aquatic hitchhikers to keep the Great Lakes and inland waters healthy. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Commissioner Tom Landwehr says the multi-state production offers a consistent message and a coordinated approach to address the problem. In addition to YouTube, the 30-second spot is airing on outdoor programs, public television, fishing and sports channels across the three-state area.

  • Free fishing derbies in the Fox Valley Jun 4, 2014 4:05 PM
    Children and families who love to fish, or want to learn the basics of fishing, can explore the sport in three upcoming fishing derbies in the Fox Valley.

  • Quinn to sign boating safety legislation Jun 3, 2014 5:37 PM
    Gov. Pat Quinn plans to sign a trio of boating safety proposals this summer, maybe closing for now a suburban lawmaker’s efforts on the issue two years after her nephew, Tony Borcia of Libertyville, was hit and killed by a boat.

  • Tim Schneider fishing derby is June 8 Jun 1, 2014 4:23 PM
    Cook County Commissioner Timothy O. Schneider will host his annual fishing derby from 9 a.m.-noon June 8 at Busse Woods Grove 25, in Elk Grove Village. Open to both adults and children the event is free, but bring your own fishing gear.

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