Are you folks tired of me writing about how important it is for everyone to recruit new people into the sport of fishing? It is one of my primary missions in life, but I realize that I may talk about it just a tad too often.
Between talking about the importance of taking children fishing, the establishment of high school and college fishing teams and the drive to bring ladies into the sport, I know I have used an awful lot of column space over the years since I’ve graced these pages.
Thanks for reading and not complaining. On the other hand, I do feel that I have not paid the proper amount of time talking about recruiting people into the sport of hunting. You know, taking up hunting isn’t the easiest thing to do unless you are getting into it at a young age and are taught by family members. Aren’t most hunters taught how to hunt by parents, grandparents, uncles and elder brothers? I think that is true.
Heck, I don’t think I fired a gun until I had turned 40. I won a shotgun at a Ducks Unlimited outing and asked a friend for some lessons in how to handle the 12-gauge Browning BPS pump gun I was fortunate enough to win. I did some skeet and trap shooting, and I fired rounds of sporting clays, which I totally enjoy. I really like target shooting.
So, I learned how to handle a shotgun and now wanted to hunt. Because I was an outdoor writer, I received a few invitations to hunt. I was able to go out and shoot ducks and geese with some very good waterfowl hunt operators. I confessed to being a rank amateur and the pros gave me detailed lessons and my hunting experiences brought some nice duck and goose dinners to the Sarley dining room table.
I then got a few calls from people asking if I would like to join them to hunt for upland game. I had no dog, which is an essential part of hunting for pheasant, grouse and partridge and I was able to use the animals my hosts had trained. My boys are big fans of upland game birds and I do a nice job of preparing them.
I’ve been able to hunt rabbits with beagles, which are the hardest working animals in the world of hunting. I love watching them perform. I’ve spent hours in the field in search of the much-pursued wild turkey. I still haven’t bagged one, but I truly enjoy the experience.
One year I wrote about wanting to experience whitetail deer hunting. The phone rang and I was set up for hunting on the McHenry County property of Matt Kapraun of All-American Taxidermy and his father, Dr. Phil Kapraun. No deer for me, but I quickly learned why people love the sport so much. Being out in the field is a truly spiritual experience.
I’ll admit it. I really don’t hunt as much as I should or as much as I’d like to. I need to do more of it. I am skipping the 2017 whitetail season, but I’ll be damned if I am going to take a pass next year. I’d really like to go out and chase down some coyotes. Targeting raccoons and squirrels interests me. I need some help with that and if things pan out like they usually do, I am sure I’ll be getting some gracious invitations via email from some of you in the near future.
This is all great for me personally, but I realize that it’s different for all of my readers. You don’t get the opportunity to be invited to open locations and to be taught and trained in the different types and skills of hunting.
If that is true, then how in the world does someone take up the sport of hunting unless it’s as a youngster? How does an adult pull that off? I’d like to hear your ideas on that subject. I have a few ideas and I will share them with you next week.
Northern Illinois: Dave Kranz from Dave’s Bait, Tackle and Taxidermy in Crystal Lake reports: “While many spring and summer fishermen have hit the woods and fields to hunt, the late fall fishing can be awesome. Muskies, walleye and panfish can be caught all the way to ice up. Ice fishing jigs and ultralight gear can be a blast for panfish. Walleye will hit a jig and minnow combo and this is the time of year to throw the biggest musky baits you have or drag a 10-to-14 inch sucker around. Hopefully we get some kind of ice fishing season. For info on Northern Illinois fishing, call 815-455-2040 for an updated report.”
Fox Chain O’ Lakes: Chris Taurisano of T-Bone Guide Service (www.tboneguideservice.com - 630-330-9090) sends word, “The panfish bite has been very good. Plastics and jigging spoons have been the best bet. The white bass are deep and fairly active. Walleye are tough but we are getting a few big fish. Muskies are tough but getting a few. “
Geneva Lake: Lowrance Electronics expert Mark O’Neill (www.structure-fishing.com) tells us, “The weather cooperated well on Sunday with the rain holding off; though, we had overcast skies and calm wind conditions. Still, a number of boats were out on the water, but not many of the pleasure boaters were cruising around to speak of. Honestly, one could not have asked for a better day on the water for November. Many docks are still in the water including the Williams Bay municipal piers, which are usually one of the last ones to come out.
The fish cooperated as well. We did not catch big numbers of fish, but we did catch some quality fish. The largest to get into in the boat was a 21-inch smallmouth bass that came in right at 5 pounds. We got a few others in the 19-inch-plus range. The fish seem to still be scattered, but we did notice some smaller groups starting to gather up. As always, I am using my Lowrance electronics to find a reason to fish a particular area or not. If I see no reason to fish there, I move on.
NEWS AND NOTES
Archery deer hunting: Through Sunday, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a total of 27,703 deer, compared to 22,985 for the same period in 2016.
The cumulative harvest to date has consisted of 52 percent does and 48 percent males. During the past week, harvest sex ratios were 36 percent does and 64 percent males as rutting activity increased. The top five counties were Pike (892), Fulton (771), JoDaviess (613), Adams (596) and Jefferson (588).
The totals for some selected Northern Illinois counties are McHenry (257), Lake (137), Winnebago (269), Kane (152), DuPage (14), DeKalb (89), Boone (73) and Cook (52).
Fire extinguishers recalled: More than 40 million Kidde fire extinguishers equipped with plastic handles have been recalled. Some of the models have been on the market for more than 40 years.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) stated, “The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.”
The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean water is urging recreational boat owners to check their boats for the recalled extinguishers and get a free metal-handled replacement by going to the CPSC recall website.
The recall affects both plastic-handle and push-button Pindicator Kidde fire extinguishers, including 134, ABC- or BC-rated models manufactured between January 1, 1973, and August 15, 2017. The extinguishers are red, white or silver and were sold in the US and Canada through a wide range of retailers from Montgomery Ward to Amazon. The CPSC recall website shows how to easily identify the affected extinguishers.
Kidde may be contacted toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The company offers additional recall information online at kidde.com by selecting “Product Safety Recall.”
• Steve Sarley writes about the outdoors for Shaw Media. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Steve does a weekly podcast about fishing called “WeFishASA.” You can find it at www.wefishasa.com.