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Chicago outdoors: Conservation projects, suburban bald eagle, memorable pheasant hunt, burbot

Conservation projects in the big funding bill, a suburban bald eagle, a memorable pheasant hunt and the world-record burbot (in case you wondered) are among the notes around Chicago outdoors.

Bald eagle by the Fox River. Credit: John Cuculich
Bald eagle by the Fox River.
John Cuculich

Notes come from all around Chicago outdoors.

WILD OF THE WEEK

John Cuculich of Lisle spotted this bald eagle in December at Red Oaks Nature Center in North Aurora along the Fox River. It swooped down to pick something out of the river.

WOTW, the celebration of wild stories and photos around Chicago outdoors, runs most weeks in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. To make submissions, email (BowmanOutside@gmail.com) or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).

WILD TIMES

HUNTER SAFETY

As posted on the IDNR web site:

Safety Education Volunteer Instructors will not be offering classes during the Tier 3 Mitigation Phase, guidelines can be found at:

https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-phase-4

EAGLES

Next Saturday, Jan. 9: “In Search of Eagles,” McHenry, Algonquin and Carpentersville dams, hosted by McHenry County Conservation District, Friends of Hackmatack National Wildlife Refuge and McHenry County Audubon, 8 a.m.-10:30 p.m. Click here for more details on Facebook.

ILLINOIS SEASONS

Sunday, Jan. 3: First CWD and late-winter antlerless deer seasons end

Friday, Jan. 8: Pheasant, quail, partridge season ends, north zone

Next Saturday, Jan. 9: Second dove season ends

DALE’S MAILBAG

“Hunted a spot we’ve had forever today. Hunted a waterway and a pollinator grass field. We saw about 10 roosters and twice as many hens. This has been the best season in recent memory. Have you heard similar reports? The grass field was loaded with birds ,hunted half of it and we were done. Nice to see numbers at an old haunt. It pays to keep up acquaintances in farm country. The eight-month old pointed her first wild bird today.” John Saban on Tuesday

A: The last sentence touched me, but the sentence before is loaded with eternal truth. I have had some good reports from other hunters, but not enough to make me wonder if there is a trend for a better season all around.

BIG NUMBER

25-2: Pounds-ounces of the world-record burbot, caught May 27, 2010 from Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan, Canada, by Sean Konrad, according to the International Game Fish Association. Click here for more information.

LAST WORD

“In a year that has been incredibly difficult for families and communities across America, conservation provides a place where we can find glimmers of hope and common ground. This sweeping legislation addresses many issues that are top of mind for hunters and anglers, including investments in habitat and access. We can close out this year knowing we accomplished a lot for conservation and turn our eyes toward 2021 and the goals of investing in climate solutions and putting Americans back to work through conservation.”

Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, on the multitude of conservation programs funded in the 5,500-plus-page coronavirus and government funding bill