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Recent entries



Rule change = monster buck

Wed, December 07, 2016

Lyle begner
Thanks to a rule change, Lyle Begner of Peoria Heights has the bowkill of a lifetime.

Hunting Saturday (Dec. 3) during the third day of the second firearm deer season on his father’s farm near Princeville, Begner used his bow to down a 20-point buck.

That Begner was able to hunt with a bow during gun season is thanks to a new rule change implemented by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources this year.

“I had to wear orange and tag it with a shotgun tag and be on private property,” Begner said. “It was kind of a neat thing.”

What made it extra neat for Begner is that he would not have been hunting if not for the rule change.

“I’m more of a bowhunter than a gun hunter,” he said. “I wouldn’t have been hunting if it wasn’t for the rule change.”

As it was, seeing the impressive Peoria County 20-pointer was unexpected. No trail cameras had snapped pictures of the buck and no neighbors had mentioned seeing it, Begner said.

“It just came out of the (Spoon River) bottoms, I guess,” said Begner, who hunts just a quarter-mile from the Spoon.

The memorable hunter had plenty of family ties for Begner, as well.

For one, he was wearing his father’s lucky orange vest.

“He said, ‘Then that’s my deer,’” Begner laughed.

For another, the buck earned Begner top honors in the ongoing family bowhunting pool, which his son Blake had been leading.

“I was only out with the intention of trying to beat my son in the deer contest and then up walked that,” Begner said. “How lucky can someone be.”

Finally, for Begner it was once again a reminder of his late friend Howard Rieck, who first got him into bowhunting 13 years ago.

As for the season overall, Begner said hunting was much better than in the past three years. “We’ve seen a lot more deer and I’ve heard of a lot more big deer,” he said.

Including his own.


The ducks are here

Wed, November 09, 2016

Election night is usually a late one in the newspaper world. And it usually involves beer.

Which means getting up early the next day is not always an option.

But today was an exception. After what has been mostly a long, boring duck season, waterfowlers in the Illinois River Valley finally started to get well on Tuesday after a push of new birds arrived.

Hunters have been reporting big flocks of teal, mallards, widgeon and ring necks in good numbers.

Hot hunting continued this morning in the blind I was lucky enough to occupy at Banner Marsh with The Farmer and Mike McLuckie.

By the time I left (early, had to get to work) we already had nine birds in hand. And mallards were just starting to fly.

After a mostly forgettable start to duck season, that was a welcome change.

And for more good news, Canada geese are back in season here in the Central Zone on Saturday.


We have a bluegill winner!

Wed, June 01, 2016

BLuegill Illinois Heartland Outdoors 2016

This is our cover for June, 2016.

Drake Elam, 3, of Collinsville was happy to catch this farm pond fish on a family outing.

We decided it had all the elements we like … except for a Cubs hat. But this is an outdoors magazine, not a baseball fan magazine. So the Cardinals hat was fine, given the big fish, happy kid and overall feel of the picture.

Competing publications may sell out with pictures sent to them by boat dealers. We do not. Maybe we are not smart enough, but my feeling is we should feature the people who read the magazine.  Enough soap boxing.

Thanks to all who sent in pictures. We will have many more bluegill images in our July issue and there are plenty in June, as well.

The June issue should be available with fine advertisers now. So get a copy. Read. Admire Drake. Subscribe.

And start sending catfish pictures for the July cover. We’ve got some good entries, but there’s always room for more.

Email pictures to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Our selection gets bragging rights and a free subscription.

Thanks again to all who participated. It was fun to see all those big bluegill and smiling faces.




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