Articles filed under Outdoors

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  • Time to heat up outdoors scene Feb 25, 2015 9:21 PM
    Because I do not spend much time ice fishing on these winter days, I will safely say I have had enough of the snow, ice and Arctic-like temperatures pretending to be “normal” winter conditions. I have not been able to escape the craziness here because of family commitments, but for those good folks who have been dipping their toes in the aqua-blue waters of the Florida Keys, I salute you. So I ask you, had enough of the salt-encrusted coverings on your vehicles? Had enough of high natural gas bills? Had enough of bruised elbows and painful knee injuries incurred after a tumble on the ice? You are not alone. There are some serious statistics being tossed out to the public now. Freezing Arctic temperatures may be good for ice fishermen and sightseers on the Great Lakes, but few expected this year’s deep freeze to trump 2014’s 92.5 percent ice coverage — which made last year the second iciest since 1973. Yet frigid temperatures have advanced ice cover across the lakes, which according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), recently reached 80.9 percent. Experts — and there are always experts on hand — said that in recent days, 2015’s ice coverage has been consistently outpacing last year’s ice growth, leading many to expect that 2015 may make a run for the record. In fact, those very same experts believe that the extensive ice coverage could actually lead to cooler temperatures in spring, causing higher lake levels and a later spawning season for fish. Really? Those hoping for a warmer March should brace for disappointment. The National Weather Service has predicted that next month will likely be colder than the region is used to, balanced by above-average temperatures starting in April. If the lake ice lasts beyond the April thaw, it could affect spring temperatures. And even more startling information is emerging. Lengthy ice coverage could also delay the development of algae, possibly preventing fish-killing algae blooms. Yet ice is not always a good thing, especially for wildlife. Last year’s icy conditions have resulted in a large-scale decline of waterfowl, especially ducks. Unable to break through the ice to get at the minnows that are their main food source, ducks either starved or were forced to eat toxic zebra mussels. Experts say that winter kills are always expected, but 2014’s duck decline was especially notable. “This is unprecedented,” said some biologists. “These are the scientists who’ve worked here (NOAA) for 35 years have never seen anything like this.” Connie Adams, a biologist with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation, told the Associated Press last year, “We’ve seen a decline in tens of thousands in our weekly waterfowl counts.” The NOAA brain trusts contend that If the ice lasts long enough, climatologists say it could even cause a cooler summer later this year. So, I ask you, fellow angler, do we make shore lunch with whole wheat bread and northern pike or do we sit on the rocks at Montrose Harbor and try and scare up a few perch? • Contact Mike Jackson at angler88@comcast.net, catch his radio show 7-9 a.m. Sundays on WGCO 1590-AM (live-streamed at www.1590WCGO.com) and get more content at www.mikejacksonoutdoors.com.

     
  • Getting to the point to cure outdoors blues Feb 23, 2015 1:37 PM
    Mike Jackson gave up ice fishing a year ago because his feet reacted poorly to the invasive cold that crept its way into his boots. Needing a cure to rid himself of the outdoor blues, he turned to a centuries-old practice to get back on his feet.

     
  • Frigid temps don't keep anglers away from Antioch ice fishing derby Feb 16, 2015 5:41 AM
    A couple dozen people — mostly men in insulated coveralls and knit caps — pulled sleds packed with poles, bait, drills and beer (coolers not necessary in the arctic air) onto the lake for the Northern Illinois Conservation Club 55th Annual Ice Fishing Derby and Winter Festival this weekend in Antioch. "It doesn't get any better than this,” said Pam Kiesgen said Saturday.

     
  • Forest Preserve District of Cook County celebrates centennial Feb 14, 2015 11:00 PM
    The Forest Preserve District of Cook County Board of Commissioners marked its centennial Feb. 11, 100 years to the day after its inaugural meeting. “We recognize the dedication and passion of those who created the forest preserves we enjoy today, as well as the tens of thousands of people who have worked to protect and improve them over the last century,” said board President Toni Preckwinkle.

     
  • The great outdoors can be a fiscal plus for Ilinois Feb 11, 2015 9:19 PM
    The budgetary woes in Illinois are well-documented, but here's hoping the Illinois DNR isn't again reduced in effectiveness. Sending enough resources to that agency could actually end up helping make the outdoors a positive for our state's finances.

     
  • Enjoy the ride by fishing with friends Feb 4, 2015 4:26 PM
    Having fun is the whole idea behind fishing, and sharing laughs with a trusted pal only makes it more special. Savoring the moment, Mike Jackson advises, is mandatory.

     
  • Veterans to benefit from Ice Fishing Derby on Bangs Lake Jan 31, 2015 5:04 PM
    Two veterans organizations were the big winners of Saturday’s 6th Annual Ice Fishing Derby on Bangs Lake in Wauconda. The Wounded Heroes Foundation and Veterans R&R are benefiting from money raised from the derby.

     
  • Fishing show continues through Sunday in Schaumburg Jan 30, 2015 6:40 PM
    The Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo runs through Sunday in Schaumburg. The show features more than 100 travel-related exhibitors including guides, lodges, resorts and regional promotion agencies, plus most major fishing tackle manufacturers, local fishing retailers, and nearly 100 fishing boats.

     
  • Warming trend can start at Schaumburg’s Expo Jan 29, 2015 2:48 PM
    The fourth and final of the winter outdoors shows is upon us, as the Schaumburg Convention Center hosts the Chicagoland Fishing, Travel and Outdoor Expo, Thursday through Sunday. Frustrated warm-water anglers owe it to themselves to make a visit and shorten our long winter.

     
  • Sportfishing Spectacular opens Jan. 29 in Schaumburg Jan 26, 2015 1:47 PM
    The Chicagoland Fishing, Travel & Outdoor Expo is back in Schaumburg Jan. 29-Feb. 1, with local and national fishing professionals, new equipment to browse, seminars and demonstrations, and plenty of activities to help kids catch the fishing bug.

     
  • Outdoor Sports Show continues Sunday in Rosemont Jan 24, 2015 6:56 PM
    The 36 annual Chicagoland Outdoor Sports Show was in full swing on Saturday, the fourth day of its five-day run. Rick Rosalina, show director, said this year promoters added a bigger gun show, which 20,000 people will venture through, along with visiting the hunting, fishing, boats and (kids favorite) trout pond fishing exhibits at the show.

     
  • Fox River Grove ski tournament marks 110 years this weekend Jan 23, 2015 5:16 AM
    While most suburbanites would welcome this week's warmer temperatures, Fox River Grove residents are praying for snow. The Norge Ski Tournament marks its 110th year this weekend in Fox River Grove. Organizers said with temperatures rising keeping the slopes snowpacked will be a challenge.

     
  • Arlington Hts. native goes face-to-face with wolves Jan 20, 2015 5:34 AM
    Growing up in Arlington Heights, E.J. Horstman always had an interest in animals and the outdoors, and television shows like “Crocodile Hunter” and its star, the late Steve Irwin, helped fuel his passion. Now in his mid-20s, Horstman is living his dream. Not as a crocodile hunter, mind you, but as a wildlife filmmaker, with segments on the National Geographic and Animal Planet cable television channels to his credit. Horstman left last week to film his latest project, “Big Cats of India,” for Animal Planet, but when he returns he plans to resume his main passion: filming wolves.

     
  • Outdoor Sports Show comes to Rosemont Wednesday Jan 16, 2015 1:27 PM
    The 36th Chicago Outdoor Sports Show Wednesday through Sunday, Jan. 21-25, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, will provide the area a break from cabin fever. The show will be held in conjunction with with the 3rd Annual Chicagoland Gun Show & Outdoor Expo Friday through Sunday, sponsored by the United States Concealed Carry Association, National Rifle Association and Safer USA.

     
  • Reasons (and places) to love snow, ice and cold Jan 14, 2015 2:26 PM
    Local TV news anchors are aghast, reporting on the recent cold snap as if it were a wild freak of nature that’s descended upon us without warning. Pardon me, but … isn’t this typical January weather? It’s a time of snow, ice and cold that is best greeted with skis, sleds, snowshoes and skates. If it’s going to be cold, that’s how you make the best of it.

     
  • How fishing marketers try to lure us to buy Jan 14, 2015 3:55 PM
    Keeping track of the marketing and branding of various so-called fishing innovations is almost as entertaining as simply going fishing.

     
  • Muskie Expo draws 10,000 to Sears Centre Jan 11, 2015 8:39 AM
    Muskie fishermen are part of a special club. And that club is quite large, as about 10,000 muskie fishermen descended on the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates this weekend for the first Chicago Muskie Expo. The event, which began Friday, runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. “We’ll be back next year,” said Doug Reuter, the event’s promoter.

     
  • Moving Picture: Fox River canoeist finds joy in winter paddling Jan 10, 2015 5:30 AM
    Seventy-year-old JB Livengood, of Lake in the Hills, loves to canoe the Fox River in Algonquin during the winter months. He has paddled for 50 years and Buffalo Park Forest Preserve in Algonquin is his favorite place to launch. “There’s so many unique things you see that nature is creating by that rising and lowering of the water level,” he says of the winter months and the ice that forms on the river. “It’s like an ice crystal season.”

     
  • Ice fishing tips for those braving the cold Jan 7, 2015 5:30 PM
    With the Artic blast leading to more opportunites for ice fishing, Mike Jackson offers some timely tips to help you enjoy your time outdoors and keep your safe.

     
  • Wisconsin DNR to ask Supreme Court to review night deer ruling Jan 7, 2015 5:46 AM
    Attorneys for the state Department of Natural Resources are planning to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review a federal appellate decision ordering a judge to revisit a decades-old ruling barring Wisconsin’s Chippewa tribes from hunting deer at night. U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled in 1991 that night deer hunting is dangerous and the state’s ban on the practice extends to the Chippewa as well. The tribes renewed their push for night hunting in 2012 after legislators angered them by allowing hunters to kill wolves at night. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in October ordered Crabb to revisit her decision, saying there’s little reason to believe any longer that night hunting is dangerous. Attorneys representing the DNR planned to file their request with the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

     
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