All outdoors show elmwood 2019 big bucks bass

The News Outside

Dedicated outdoors devotee, Kankakee Daily Journal, Feb 01

Challenge part of ice fishing’s allure, Dale Bowman, Feb 01

Youth program gives hunting situations, Quad City Times, Feb 01

Midwest Summer Fishing Report, Dale Bowman , Jul 21

Ticks are becoming growing problem, Jeremiah Haas, Jul 19



Heartland Outdoors magazine is published every month.
Subscription Terms

Or call (309) 741-9790 or e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

deer illinois cover


February 2019
27 28 29 30 311 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 1 2
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018

Recent entries


Versatile Hunter

NWTF Peoria and EHD Deer 2013 Saga Continues!?

Sun, August 25, 2013

As I posted a few weeks back, NWTF’s new Regional Director, Andrew Limmer is looking to get a Peoria Chapter restarted.  Andrew held a meeting at Bass Pro last week and had a handful of folks show up to discuss the next steps.  Among Andrew’s many responsibilities is assisting in chapter creation, as a good chunk of NWTF’s money comes from banquet-type events.  Andrew put on a presentation that included statistics about hunter recruitment and turkey habitat—both of which have experienced a drop in the past several years.  Wild turkeys are now 15% below their high water mark from several years ago.  This year is the lowest brood hen count in Illinois in a LOOOOONG time—1.6 poults/hen.  A typical five year average is somewhere around 3 poult/hen to give you an idea of what might be normal.  NWTF is looking to increase both of these in their most recent “Save the Habitat, Save the Hunt” Initiative.  A meeting to discuss next steps in the chapter creation process, including setting dates for a banquet, will take place this coming Wednesday, August 28 at one of the new committee member’s house.  Wild game will be served.  BYOB.  Contact Limmer for the address in Washington.  He can be reached at 414-388-6266 or .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  They are still in need of 4-5 good people willing to help out on the committee—this is your chance to give back to the habitat that helps more than just turkeys here in the state. 

NWTF has some excellent cost share programs for restoration as well as youth and disabled hunting programs.  IDNR’s IRAP program is part of this initiative and the past several years many young hunters have gotten their first turkey on private land because of it.  Check it out online at IDNR’s website if you have a young person who might be interested.  I guided on IRAP land last year and I can tell you first hand that IDNR has chosen some primo hunting land.  Landowners are given so much per acre and cost sharing on restoration when they enroll their land in this program.  These are exactly the type of programs Illinois needs to continue fostering.  I’m proud of them for getting this right. . . .

On a separate note, has anyone seen any deer exhibiting EHD symptoms this year like last?  The picture below is the first deer I’ve heard about this year.  I’ve been told that the reason for more bucks than does has to do with the bucks running in bachelor groups this time of year and therefore there is a higher chance for their infection.  That kinda makes sense so I’m gonna go with it unless someone can give a better explanation as to why we seem to see so many more bucks infected.  This buck was supposedly found near Bloomington and dies a day later.  What a shame, as this guy is a bruiser. . . .


Squirrel Day Antics and Caaalifornia Trip

Mon, August 12, 2013

I was in the gym the other day with one of my many annual squirrel day t-shirts on from this year or that.  The question is always the same—what’s “squirrel day”?  Squirrel Day has been a tradition at Lick Creek Game Preserve for ?? years now and probably several years before it was “official”. 

It started out as yet another excuse to get out in the woods with good friends for a couple hours and then get to real business—b.s.’ing with friends over some cold ones. I was introduced to this phenomenon through my now wife who at the time was my girlfriend.  Her friends—the Yerglers—invited me knowing that I was an outdoorsman myself and I could do a pretty good job at drinking beer—a perfect fit.  So, I strapped on my game vest, but my hunting dog on heel, and headed out to my designated spot on the 1,000 acre game preserve in Tazewell County.  That was 10 years ago and the same sequence happens each year, and repeated itself again this year.  What 10 years has changed is remarkable.  We still harvest our fair share of squirrels, despite the heat and overgrown foliage, but what has mostly changed is the company.  There are now more kids and dogs than single dudes hanging out.  We play bags, hillbilly golf, beersbee and cook wild game.  We send dogs and kids into the lake for retrieves and cruise on the Marcia May pontoon.  Squirrel day is now what you might call “family oriented”.  What hasn’t changed are the interesting conversations and events that occur throughout the day.  Events that have unfolded over the years include people (me) falling out of trees trying to show the kids how to climb (I made it a good 40 feet up and then fell when I was 6 feet off the ground), taking “property cruises” throughout the day on 4 wheelers, trucks, and used cars headed to the junkyard the next day, teaching people how to shoot for the first time, finding a homeless person camped out in the woods (imagine being woken up to the sound of gun fire first thing in the morning), and God knows how many squirrel hunting stories. 

I intended this blog to talk about the event that we all so love (above), but I also wanted to talk squirrel hunting.  If you’ve never hunting for tree rats with a dog you should try it.  I’m not talking about dogs barking squirrels up a tree either.  I’m talking about putting a dog that has good obedience on heel and slipping slowly through the woods with a .22 or shotgun waiting for the opportunity to knock one down and then sending ol’ Fido for a retrieve.  Squirrel season allows you to hone your stalking and shooting skills in the woods but it can also serve as a way to get the dog back into his needed hunting season skills—specifically in the obedience and retrieving parts. I use all commands when hunting this way.  Heel is used as we move slowly through the woods—a good jaeger lead can work wonders on a dog you are still training if he isn’t yet steady.  Whoa is used when I want to leave the dog in place and finish the last 10-20 yards of the stalk alone and is a great training aid in steadiness.  The retrieve command is used to pick up a downed (dead or wounded) squirrel once shot.  And yes, my dog has saved me lost squirrels by grabbing a couple of wounded animals over the years.  This is also a good lesson in obedience around game as we often run into deer in the dense woods this time of year. 

The last part of this blog I just wanted to comment on the absolute beauty of the central coast of California.  If you’ve never been—go as soon as you can.  This isn’t a trip for those who like Real Housewives and imagine seeing movie stars in the big city.  I’m talking about seeing tule elk, sea otters, seals, sharks, whales, mountains, tidal pools, good wine, and some of the best seafood I’ve ever eaten. I’m not a city guy but we did also hit up San Francisco to see Haight and Ashbury (home of the Grateful Dead), Golden Gate Bridge, and Alcatraz (all worth seeing).  Within an hour of that location you can see all of the amazing things I mentioned above.  Before going my view of California was that I wasn’t interested.  The state is really as amazing as they say it is.  The temps were 75 degrees every day.  Fog rolling in off the ocean was pretty cool too.  My buddy has been out there for the past 3 years and he is an AVID outdoorsman.  So far he’s hunted Merriam’s turkeys, black tail deer, fly fished, skied, and backpacked in some amazing country.  I know I’m missing some things on his list also.  Seeing redwood sin person was also an amazing experience.  My pictures do them no justice as you can’t capture their true size.  All in all—I we’ll be baaacck.


A Place Called Farmdale

Sun, July 14, 2013

Trail running, mountain biking, horseback riding, bike jumping, fishing, creek walkin’, and more.  That’s what you can get yourself into at Farmdale Recreation Area.  I’ve spent time here running the dog for exercise, mountain biking, trail running, creek walkin’ and taking my son for a walk in the woods. 

The East Peoria flood of 1927 resulted in the Army Corps of Engineers 1950 decision to create this area, which includes 2 reservoirs that hold water back so as not to flood East Peoria during times of heavy rainfall.  Farm Creek runs through the middle of the recreation area and the topography is very hilly.  Planted pine trees and prairie fields can be found among the mostly oak-hickory forest hillsides. 

The Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association (PMBA) does an excellent job of keeping approximately 20 miles of trails open for mountain biking, horseback riding, and trail running.  One word of warning—keep an eye out ahead and behind you on these trails—a quick moving mountain biker can make a mess of you both!  Mountain biking can be challenging, and if you’re a first time rider, take ‘er easy.  Trust me on this—I bit the dust hard enough to make me realize just how young I’m not.  One of those over the handle bars superman kinda deals.  I lay motionless as my buddy laughed for a good 5 minutes.  I also wore the strawberry and burnt flesh wound as a badge of honor for about a week.  I’ll be baaaack. . . .

I’m not a fan of running on concrete, but running on trails is a blast.  I take the dog with, put him on heel, and put some music in my ears as I cruise the woods.  Great exercise for the dog and for me—stream crossings, avoiding nettles and poison ivy, and moving faster than the bugs is the name of the game.  Many times I’ve turned a corner and almost ran into a white tail bounding away.

My buddy and I took our boys out creek walkin’ lately—something we enjoyed as kids and the boys had a blast chasing frogs, fish, and splashing in pools.  Farm Creek is mostly rock and gravel bottom—giving you the impression that you are on a creek in Missouri as opposed to Illinois.  Seeps can be seen along the creek and often leak an iron colored water making some cool art on the clay stream sides.

Farmdale Recreation Area is located between East Peoria, Washington, and Morton on Farmdale Road.  There are three parking lots (2 on the west side and 1 on the east side).  Well worth checking it out!