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Heartland Outdoors

Family day hosted by Antioch conservation club

Thu, July 13, 2017

By: Sheryl DeVore

Adults and children who have never had experience with fishing, archery or air rifles can get hands-on training July 22 when the Northern Illinois Conservation Club holds a family day.

The club owns 63 acres of woods and wetlands in unincorporated Antioch. Members enjoy the outdoors, hunt and fish, and want to help others interested in learning new skills, said Leonard Dane, the club’s president.

“We want to get people interested in the outdoors; get them out to the conservation club grounds and see what the club is all about. The event is to introduce families to archery, trap shooting, air guns and teach them firearms safety,” he said.

Children ages 8 and older with a guardian can participate in the gun safety part of the event, he said.

The club will also sponsor other games including casting for prizes, so participants can learn to use a fishing pole.

“If you’ve never touched a fishing pole or bow and arrow in your life, we’ll have people there who can help you,” Dane said.

In addition, a trainer from Lake County Pheasants Forever will demonstrate how he works with retriever dogs. “These dogs are well-trained and have learned vocal commands,” Dane said. Participants will see how these dogs perform as the trainer has them fetch decoys.

The $10 fee includes food, use of equipment and access to the club’s acreage, which includes hiking paths.

“It seems there are a lot of kids in front of computers these days,” Dane said. “We want to get the kids out and experience doing something outdoors whether it’s archery or trap shooting or fishing.”

A lot of video games include archery, he said, but at the event, “kids can experience the real thing,” he said, adding the activity teaches hand and eye coordination.

Dane said hunting is not allowed on the club’s property.

“Members come out here to enjoy the quiet. It’s tranquil and peaceful. It’s a bit of wilderness in the middle of Antioch,” Dane said. “When you walk the trails, you can stumble upon nature — there are ducks and deer.”

Over the years, local Boy Scouts have done some restoration work on the property, he said, adding one group might do shoreline restoration later this year.

The club, formed in 1960 by local sportsmen, has evolved to focus on conservation as well as education on the safe and proper use of hunting and fishing equipment. It holds an annual fishing derby to raise money for college scholarships given to youngsters studying ecology, forestry and other related subjects.

Sheryl DeVore is a freelance writer for the News-Sun.

Family Day

When: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. July 22

Where: Northern Illinois Conservation Club, Routes 83 and 173, Antioch

Tickets: $10; pre-registration preferred

Information: www.mynicc.org

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