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Recent entries


Versatile Hunter

Midwest Quick Identification Guides

Tue, February 26, 2013

Here are some simple field identification guides.  I’ve used just about every Midwestern field guide out there from complex keys to various books and color coded keys.  These are some of the best I’ve seen so far for the layman just wanting to quickly figure out what they’re seeing in the field.


Woodford County Pheasants Forever Youth Hunt

Wed, February 20, 2013

On Saturday, February 16 approximately 25 youth hunters and their guardians descended upon Oakridge Sportsmen’s Club near Mackinaw, IL for a chance to enjoy a hunt paid for by the Woodford County Pheasants Forever.  Guides and dogs were provided by the Spoon River NAVHDA Chapter.  The day started out with a welcome and raffle ticket distribution for the youth hunters.  You could see the smiles on both the parents and young hunter’s faces when they walked in the door.  It was going to be a good day for all.  After a warm welcome, safety talk, and introduction to the guides, the hunters were given their hunting fields and told to go have some fun.  A brisk wind and 25 degree temps didn’t stop these groups from heading out and making the most of this extraordinary opportunity.  Many of the kids had never hunted pheasants before; others had hunted pheasants but never harvested any.  Regardless of experience level, it was obvious that the kids were happy just to be out with the company of their friends, family, and some incredible pointing and flushing dogs.

Lunch time came and went with some exceptional food provided by Oakridge, a gun raffle provided by Woodford County PF, and the second round of youth hunters got their chance at some birds.

This day’s event went off without a hitch and we were told that it was the smoothest run youth event for Woodford County with the most birds harvested and overall good experience.  I can say that in my field I saw some smiling young people, many of which had never harvested a bird before and/or seen a good pointing dog in the field.  I saw some great parenting and educating in the field as well. I saw and heard parents and guides provided guidance from safety to basic hunting morals and ethics, to natural history education.  Many times I watched as the youth hunters did their own safety checks and did not shoot on somewhat unsafe shots—this was often without prompting.  What an event and what an experience that made me look forward to my first times in the field with my son. . . . 

A big thanks goes to the PF Woodford County Chapter, Spoon River NAVHDA, and Oakridge Sportsmen’s Club. 

Oakridge Sportsmen’s Club has been around for quite some time and is both a membership and daily fee hunting and shooting club.  Five stand and an excellent sporting clays course overlooking the Mackinaw River valley are available, as well as tower shoots, and pheasant, quail, and chukar hunting on some excellent sorghum and native CRP grass fields.  All in one place!  Their bird quality is second to none with some of the most excellent pen-raised birds I’ve ever experienced—that includes this year’s quail!  Good flying pen raised quail are often difficult to find but Oakridge has them.  They’ve also figured out how to set them for a natural “covey rise” experience—although you’ll be lucky to hit these little speedsters.  I guarantee you that if you’ve experienced natural quail hunting you won’t see any difference.  They will literally embarrass you.  What may be most unique about Oakridge is the owner’s hearts—they go out of their way to make the hunting and shooting experience second to none and offer up the club to all sorts of charity organizations and events, often at a discounted price. 


State By State Breakdown of Outdoor Recreation Numbers

Wed, February 20, 2013

Taken from the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership Website: