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Recent entries


Through the Lens

Crab Orchard NWR Sunrise to Sunset

Tue, September 30, 2014

Photographers love photographing the sunsets from Wolf Creek Causeway

One of my favorite parts of attending Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days is that I get to have some extra time to photograph the sunrises and sunsets at Crab Orchard NWR.

Wolf Creek Causeway provides a great area to photograph the sunrise or sunset thanks to it’s easy accessibility and ample parking areas. Couple that with a an early morning or dusk drive around the auto wildlife tour just off of the causeway and you will find plenty to fill your memory cards.

A quick visit with the fine folks at the visitor center will also help you to find additional photo opportunities, learn about recent wildlife sightings, and anything of special interest that might be happening around the refuge during your visit.

Here are a few from this past weekends visit.

If you enjoy photographing the outdoors be sure to put a visit to Crab Orchard NWR on your list of must visit spots, and plan to be there at sunrise and stay through sunset! You won’t be disappointed!


Hunting is Indeed an Affordable Outdoor Activity!

Fri, September 26, 2014

I think we can all agree that a day spent hunting beats a day at slaving away at work.

  • Did you know though, that a day spent hunting in many cases is more affordable than a day spent on the golf course, at a major league ballgame, or any other number of outdoor and recreational activities?

    Statistics in NSSF’s (National Shooting Sports Foundation) latest report, “Hunting in the 50 States: Regulations, License Fees, Species and Methods of Take,” clearly show that you get more bang for your buck hunting than in other competing hobbies and activities.

    “There’s a misperception about hunting being a very expensive pastime. It can be in some circumstances, but for the most part hunting compares very favorably with the costs of other popular activities like playing golf, attending professional sports games and even going to the movies,” said Jim Curcuruto, NSSF Director of Industry Research and Analysis.

    The report estimates the average cost of a day of turkey hunting at $37.54 for license, tags and ammunition, placing it far lower than a round of golf, estimated at $72.54 for greens fees and a sleeve of balls, or a day at a major league ballpark, which will set you back $57.45 for a ticket, parking and a drink and a hotdog. While 10 days of hunting costs essentially the same as one day afield, taking in 10 movies at your neighborhood multiplex will add about $185 onto your credit card.

    Of course, “Hunting in the 50 States” includes much more information than these comparisons—information that is valuable to manufacturers, retailers and shooting ranges.

    To gain a better understanding of the expenses associated with hunting, NSSF combed through the regulation guides of all 50 states to produce “Hunting in the 50 States,” which consolidates data regarding big and small game, and provides both state-specific and national information.

    The new report includes resident and non-resident license and tag costs, number of species available to hunt (more than 40 in some states), available hunting days and legal firearm use by state. The report’s pages contain interesting factoids on hunting—nine states, for example, allow the hunting of white-tailed deer with an air rifle—and there is an entire page on feral hog facts (population estimated at 5 million).

    The report reveals how states provide many economic incentives to encourage hunting. Sportsmen and women in South Carolina, for example, enjoy two free days on which they can hunt without purchasing a state hunting license. In many states, licenses for apprentice hunters, juniors, seniors, military and the disabled are modestly priced, including for non-residents.

    “Hunting in the 50 States” is available to NSSF members at under the Industry Intelligence Reports tab, and non-members can contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for additional information.

    Source – National Shooting Sports Foundation, (2014, September 24), NSSF Report on ‘Hunting in the 50 States’ Shows Hunting Is More Affordable Than Many Outdoor Activities, Including Golf! [Press Release]

    That’s certainly something to keep in mind this weekend as a great many of us will be attending some type of National Hunting and Fishing Days event.

    I always get the eye roll from my dearly beloved when he hears me mention that I am headed off to a show or event such as Hunting and Fishing Days. That eye roll is usually followed by some moaning and groaning about “How much is this going to end up costing us?” I get the same eye roll and mumbling when I start exploring and planning a hunting trip especially if it’s in a new location or for a species I haven’t hunted before.
    Thanks to the research from National Shooting Sports Foundation I can now counter those eye rolls and grumbles with hard facts. Hey honey – Hunting is indeed more affordable than any other number of things I could be doing recreationally, and big bonus, we end up with healthy food in the freezer !


    The Heartland crew will be at Southern Illinois Hunting and Fishing Days in Carterville, IL on the campus of John A. Logan College, both Saturday and Sunday.  Please come by our booth, visit a little, and pick up a free copy of Heartland Outdoors magazine. You never know, we just might help you explain to your significant other that hunting is indeed a most affordable, healthy, and tradition filled way to spend time in the great outdoors!


    (3) COMMENTS

    Farmers Urge Drivers to “Share the Road”

    Wed, September 24, 2014

    All night I could hear combines running, dryers buzzing, and the occasional tractor and wagon rattling past the house. The farmer that lives here is looking a little ragged, he’s tired, he’s crabby, and there’s not enough hours in the day right now.

    Harvest is in full swing and that means sharing the roadways with farmers, and sharing them safely. As a part of National Farm Safety and Health Week farmers are urging motorists to share the road safely and exercise patience, courtesy, and caution to avoid any ag related accidents on highways.

    Most farmers honestly try to move equipment during low traffic periods, but sometimes that just doesn’t work. Time is money and rural motorists just have to face the fact that its harvest and farm equipment will be on the roads.

    Farm machinery and equipment should display a “slow moving vehicle” emblem on the rear when traveling on public roads. Motorists should slow down as soon as they see the triangular orange sign with the red, reflective border.

    Think about it -  a car traveling 55 mph requires roughly 224 feet to stop on dry pavement, assuming average reaction time. A car traveling 55 mph can close a 300-foot gap – the length of a football field – between it and a tractor moving at 15 mph in about five seconds. It’s imperative that you start to slow down as soon as you see the slow moving equipment sign to avoid a collision.

    Said one Randolph county farmer, “We try to pull off the road, or move over to allow let people pass, it’s just that our equipment can be so high, wide, and heavy, it’s not always possible to pull over on a soft shoulder.  All we ask that motorist please be a little patient with us this time of year. A little bit of patience goes a long way in making sure we all get home safe for supper.”

    According to a 2003 study cited by the National Agricultural Safety Database, two out of every 100 crashes involving tractors, which may or may not be towing other farm equipment, and one out of every 100 crashes involving other farm equipment leads to a traffic death.

    Here are few “gentle reminders” and tips to help motorists safely share the roads with farmers this harvest season.

    Drive defensively, and recognize that you’re in an agricultural environment where you are likely to encounter ag equipment on the roadway. If you can see folks and equipment busy in the field, you’ll likely encounter ag equipment on the roadways in that area. Be aware of your surroundings.

    Use caution at intersections where tall crops may obscure your vision. Look twice! Before entering an intersection with tall crops surrounding it.

    Slow down. Farm vehicles are usually travelling at slow speeds. To reduce the risk of a collision, begin braking when you see the slow-moving vehicle emblem.

    Keep a safe distance behind farm equipment so that farmers can see you. Equipment may be loud, wide, have limited rear view capabilities. If you can’t see the farmer and his mirrors, he cannot see you. Stay back at least 50 feet when following ag equipment.

    Large equipment may make wide turns, including swinging to the right before making a left. Look for lights and hand signals from the farmer, and do not assume they are pulling to the right to allow you to pass.

    Pass carefully. Passing farm equipment can be very tricky as the equipment can obstruct your view. Wait for a safe passing zone, watch for oncoming traffic, signal and return to the lane once the vehicle is in your rearview mirror. If the vehicle is extra-wide, wait to pass until the driver pulls over and signals that it’s safe. Honk your horn beforehand in case the driver can’t see you.

    Yield.  Always give a wide farm vehicle the right-of-way when it’s traveling the opposite direction.  If possible and practical, consider pulling onto the shoulder or into a driveway or turn out to allow the farm equipment to pass.

    Most of all, be patient.  Offering a smile, a wave, a bit of consideration and understanding to the farmers working so hard this harvest season goes a long way to making sure everyone arrives home safely at the end of the day.

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