Chicago outdoors: Surprise shed find, Patrick McManus, record turkey harvest and Ben Franklin

A surprise find of a shed antler, suggestion to read Patrick McManus, Illinois’ record harvest in youth turkey season, and a note on Ben Franklin and turkeys are in the notes from around Chicago outdoors.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Surprise shed find, Patrick McManus, record turkey harvest and Ben Franklin
John Howe with a surprise find of a shed antler. Photo provided by Christian Howe

John Howe with a surprise find of a shed antler.

Provided by Christian Howe

Notes come from all around Chicago outdoors.



Earlier this week, Christian Howe texted this photo of his son John, 7, with a found shed antler. “We weren’t out of the car for five minutes before he found it,” Howe texted. “(Sorry about the hat, it’s his little league team) We weren’t even looking for sheds. I dragged the kids out to see if there’s any early sign of asparagus or morels (nada).”

SOTW, an occasional note on shed antlers found around Chicago outdoors, runs when worthy in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. Send nominations to @BowmanOutside on Twitter or Instagram, to Dale Bowman on Facebook or email



Not listing events until gathering restrictions ease.


Remember, IDNR sites remain closed.

Turkey hunting: North zone: First season, Monday, April 13, to Friday, April 17; south zone, second season, through Thursday, April 16; third, Friday, April 17-April 22

Through April 30:Applications for resident firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting


“I am a volunteer librarian in a tiny rural library who loves the outdoors and wants to remind readers that a sense of humor is so important in crisis times. I’d like to suggest the title story from `The Night the Bear Ate Goombaw’ by Patrick McManus or `My First Deer’ from `They Shoot Canoes, Don’t They,’ also by McManus.” Name withheld.

A: Yesterday, April 11, was the second anniversary of McManus’ death. He is probably my dad’s favorite writer. McManus belongs in the line of American humorists from Mark Twain to Will Rogers.


1,744: Record harvest during the Illinois statewide youth turkey hunt (March 28-29 and April 4-5); it topped the 2017 record of 1,531. Click here to read a fuller breakdown.


“However, while it’s hard to imagine that overstuffed, flightless bird on our currency and on the President’s lectern instead of on our dinner table, there is actually a bit of truth to this rumor.”

Jimmy Stamp, in, debunking the myth that Ben Franklin wanted the wild turkey to be our national bird. Click here to read the full article.

File photo of a gobbler in a field. Credit: Dale Bowman

File photo of a gobbler in a field.

Dale Bowman

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