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IDNR: No plans to research coyote-deer correlation

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Politics works differently than private enterprise. To deal in the political arena, you have to accept a couple of things. One is that learning to compromise is key to getting things done. You might not get things done exactly the way you want to, but you make progress incrementally, nonetheless.

The second thing to know is that things take time to happen. In the private world, the big cheese snaps his fingers and things happen immediately. In government, things drag on and on. For example, take a look at how long the fight to stop the bighead and silver carp from reaching Lake Michigan has taken to progress and it isn’t even close to over.

That said, I am happy to report that I did get a response to my recent column about my proposal to widen the availability of coyote hunting.

John Buhnerkempe, Chief of Division of Wildlife Resources took the time to write me recently. He first wrote: “The IDNR has no plans to conduct a research project to investigate the relationship between coyote populations and white-tailed deer numbers.”

He also wrote: “The coyote population is not a danger to the deer population in Illinois. Coyote numbers are not exploding. Our data show only a slight statewide increase in coyotes since 1992 while deer numbers have dramatically increased during this same period. These data come from our Archery Deer Hunter Survey, which collects standardized daily logs of bowhunter’s observations from Oct. 1 through Nov. 14. Coyote populations are, however, expanding into metropolitan areas as they learn to adapt to urban landscapes.”

That certainly might be true, and I was talking about our area in northern Illinois, in particular. It is my belief that the coyotes wreak havoc on the fawns around here. I really do not know or care about the rest of the state, to be honest.

He continued by writing: “Lastly, you are correct that one of Director Miller’s goals is ‘to make various outdoor sports more available to the sportsmen of the state.’ That is true and there is a good reason for that. Plus, coyote hunting rules are very liberal in each and every one of our fifty states.”

He finished with: “I will ask my District Wildlife Biologists to consider opening state sites to coyote hunting during late January and early February. However, opening or expanding a hunting season for coyotes cannot be implemented for January 2014.”

That’s fair enough to me. I thank the IDNR for taking this positive step toward expanding hunting opportunities in Illinois.

Fishing report

Northern Illinois: Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “Dragging a sucker on the Fox Chain is one of your best bets for hooking up with a muskie. Walleye are taking minnows on the flats, at the bridges and on wind-blown points. River smallies are holding tight to the shorelines. Small lakes and ponds are taking dark-colored spinnerbaits just before nightfall.”

Lake Michigan: Captain Bob Rossa of Migrator Charters ( says, “Fishing on Lake Michigan has been good this past week. Kings, cohoes, steelhead and lake trout up to 15 pounds were caught. Most fish were caught from 120 to 180 feet of water. Try to fish from 60 to 140 feet down in the water column. Moonshine’s RV Wonderbread spoon, and a white Hot Spot flasher with a mirage fly tied 24 inches behind it were two very good baits. Some fish are being caught in the harbors.”

Wisconsin’s Root River is turning on. Anglers at the Horlick Dam used crappie minnows to catch some nice-sized bluegills and a few smallmouth bass. Bluegills and smallmouth were being caught at Quarry Lake Park, as well. Fishing pressure below the weir increased and some areas were almost overcrowded during the weekend. The large majority of anglers were fishing in Washington Park. Some nice catches of brown trout and a few Chinook salmon were taken Friday and Saturday. Successful anglers were using red, orange and pink spawn sacks. Some of the anglers added floaters to their spawn sacks to keep the bait a few inches off the bottom. A couple of fly fishermen caught a few Chinook salmon, as well.

• Northwest Herald outdoors columnist Steve Sarley’s radio show, “The Outdoors Experience,” airs live at 5 a.m. Sundays on AM-560. Sarley also runs a Web site for outdoors enthusiasts, He can be reached by email at

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