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Versatile Hunter

Illinois receives $22.9 Million for Sportsmen & Conservation

Tue, March 20, 2018

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Interior announced $22,928,289 in funding to Illinois to support critical state conservation and outdoor recreation projects. The announcement is part of $1.1 billion in annual national funding going to state wildlife agencies from revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration (PRDJ) acts. To date, more than $20.2 billion in funds, which are authorized by Congress, have been distributed to U.S. states and territories.

Illinois apportionments include $6,593,209 in Sport Fish Restoration funds and $16,335,080 in Wildlife Restoration funds. State-by-state listings of the final Fiscal Year 2018 apportionments of Wildlife Restoration Program fund can be found here and the Sport Fish Restoration Program fund here.

“Illinois sportsmen and women are some of our best conservationists and they contribute billions of dollars toward wildlife conservation and sportsmen access every year through the Pittman-Robertson and Dingell-Johnson Acts,” said Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke. “For nearly eighty years, states have been able to fund important conservation initiatives thanks to the more than $20 billion that has generated nationwide. Every time a firearm, fishing pole, hook, bullet, motor boat or boat fuel is sold, part of that cost goes to fund conservation. The best way to increase funding for conservation and sportsmen access is to increase the number of hunters and anglers in our woods and waters. The American conservation model has been replicated all over the world because it works.”

The funds, which are distributed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, are derived from excise taxes paid by the hunting, shooting, boating and angling industries on firearms, bows and ammunition and sport fishing tackle, some boat engines, and small engine fuel.

“Revenues generated by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration acts provides funding to states to protect and conserve our nation’s fish and wildlife heritage today and for generations to come,” said Virgil Moore, President of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and Director of Idaho Fish and Game. “This funding mechanism serves as the foundation for fish and wildlife conservation in our country.”

Nationwide, the recipient state wildlife agencies have matched these funds with approximately $6.7 billion throughout the years, primarily through hunting and fishing license revenues.

For more information about the WSFR program visit


Traditional Archery

Sun, March 18, 2018

My boy and I found a really nice dead head buck behind the house this year—likely a result of a hunting wound although I can’t be sure.  The buck scored at around 170 inches with deductions using the online Realtree scoring app. He was a real bruiser with excellent mass and double brow tines.  I believe he had 13 scorable points. 

After the find I had the buck tagged by our local Conservation Officer and started looking for someone who would do a European mount.  I don’t own a big turkey fryer neither did I care to cook this stinky, half rotten head up at the house.  A friend of mine dropped me a number and a name of someone who lived in Fulton County—Indian Dave he called him.  I visited Dave to drop off the head and he showed me to his man cave—a converted shed out behind his house.  We hit it off and traded stories about archery hunting and taxidermy.  I immediately realized that Dave was a man with good intentions for his business and we were like-minded when it came to hunting and the outdoors—he is doing this because of his passion for traditional archery and his drive to work in the industry because of that passion.  As I talked with Dave it was immediately obvious that he had some great ideas worth telling others about.  Stone Age Outdoors is his business name and it consists of three main ventures—taxidermy, stone broad heads, and hunting videos.

Although he is fairly new to taxidermy work it is obvious that he has what it takes—attention to detail and patience. As I learned from my cousin—an excellent waterfowl taxidermist—it’s not for everyone.  I, for example, just wouldn’t have the patience to make quality mounts day in and day out.  Dave has completed multiple taxidermy animals ranging from deer to fish.  As with all taxidermists, he learned through making mistakes and then improving as he went.  A basic fish wall mount goes for about $10 per inch and a basic shoulder deer mount goes for about $400.

What Dave is best known for in the outdoors industry are his broad heads that are hand knapped and built to screw onto any carbon or aluminum arrow for hunting.  This is a concept that I had never seen previously and I was truly intrigued.  Dave has personally harvested 10 deer with this broad head shot from his compound bow, one of which he has on quality video.  I have the utmost respect for the many people who are making the transition to traditional archery equipment and I see these broad heads as perhaps a stepping stone for folks or for those who are just interested in making a kill with one of the same weapons that were once used by natives to this country—me being one of them!  The broad heads range in weight from 100 to 150 grains and, according to Dave, track straight and true.  Having felt them myself I can attest to the sharpness of their edge and Dave showed me several that went through deer with minimal destruction incurred to the broad head. Dave’s broad heads sell for $22 and can be purchased through him directly, at one of the many outdoors shows he attends each year, or through 3riversarchery traditional archery supply magazine.

He also uses the broad heads he knaps from flint to create custom made knives with antler and snake-skin wrapped handles.  I’ve only seen a few others that are making these types of knives in the outdoors world and Dave’s are excellent. Dave is also a traditional archer who makes his own bows and is willing to make bows for others who are interested.

Stone Age Outdoors is his business name and you can contact him via email at: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call him directly at 309-648-5627. Website is



Emiquon Open House

Thu, March 15, 2018

The Nature Conservancy recently completed their new facility at Emiquon and it’s packed full of cool environmentally-conscious construction ideas.  Here’s the invite for anyone interested in checking it out perhaps as part of an outing there for fishing, bird watching, or any number of other outdoor-recreation opportunities at this amazing site of wetland restoration.

More information about the building can also be found here:


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