Chicago outdoors: Barred owl courting sounds, shed antlers, overwintering sandhill cranes, sturgeon

The sounds of courting barred owls, big shed antlers, overwintering sandhill cranes and a short Black Lake sturgeon season are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors.

Tom Jeffries found these sheds to start SOTW. Provided photo

Tom Jeffries found these sheds to start SOTW.


Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

A shed antler found in the snow by Tom Jeffries. Provided photo

A shed antler found in the snow by Tom Jeffries.



Tom Jeffries found these impressive shed antlers (at top and to the left)Jan. 30 on private land in Will County, an apt way to start Shed of the Week.

SOTW, an occasional note on shed antlers found around Chicago outdoors, runs when worthy, generally in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. To make submissions, email or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).



Feb. 24-25: Chicago,

March 12-13: Diamond, (815) 907-7345


Friday, Feb. 18, to Monday, Feb. 21: Great Backyard Bird Count


Today, Feb. 12: Hard Water Classic Ice Fishing Tourney, Silver Lake, Blackwell Forest Preserve, noon-3:30 p.m., must preregister

Through Sunday, Feb. 13: Chain O’Lakes Ice Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Northern Illinois Conservation Club. headquartered at Thirsty Turtle Beach on Channel Lake,


Today, Feb. 12: Sturgeon spearing opens on Lake Winnebago and the Upper Lakes in Wisconsin. Previous permits required. Click here for more information.


Next Saturday, Feb. 19: Boat America, Waukegan, Curt Schumacher, . . . Boat America, Fox Lake, Richard Stadelmann,


Click here for the complete list of shows, classes and swap meets for the coming months.

Sunday, Feb. 13: Henry Decoy Show, Exposition Gardens, Peoria

Thursday, Feb. 17, to Feb. 20: Chicago RV & Camping Show, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

Friday, Feb. 18 to Feb. 20 and Feb. 23-27: Indianapolis Boat, Sport and Travel Show, Indiana State Fairgrounds

Next Saturday, Feb. 19, to Feb. 20: Chicago Travel & Adventure Show, Stephens Convention Center, Rosemont

Next Saturday, Feb. 19: Midwest Musky Club Swap Meet, Village Sportsman’s Club, Alsip, (630) 302-0759 or

Next Saturday, Feb. 19: Russell’s Fishing Tech Chicagoland Advanced Salmon and Trout Tactics School and Tackle Show, Wood Dale


Tuesday, Feb. 15: Dale Bowman, “Oddball Fish of the Midwest,” Arlington Anglers, Poplar Creek Banquets, Hoffman Estates, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 17: Trevor James of Wet N Wild Outfitters. “Ice fishing Safety, Tips and Techniques,” Fish Tales Fishing Club, Worth Township offices, Alsip, 7 p.m.


Tuesday, Feb. 15: Rabbit and squirrel seasons end

Tuesday, Feb. 15: Deadline for hunters to file windshield card reports,

Overwintering sandhill cranes near Wheatfield, Indiana. Provided by Jim Domijancic

Overwintering sandhill cranes near Wheatfield, Indiana.

Provided by Jim Domijancic


“Sandhill [cranes] still hanging around in Wheatfield, Indiana, on Jan. 29.” Jim Domijancic. retired carpenter living in Alsip whose kids live in the Demotte/ Wheatfield area of Indiana.

A: I think sandhills figured out they have enough open water and food around Wheatfield, about 10 miles northwest of Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area, to overwinter.


36: Minutes the Black Lake sturgeon season lasted in northern Michigan on Feb. 5 when the cap of six was reached. That is one of the wildest events I’ve covered in career, with the help of Palatine’s own Javier Serna. More at


“During courtship, mated pairs perform a riotous duet of cackles, hoots, caws and gurgles.”

The Cornell Lab or Ornithology, on the sounds of barred owl (my Valentine’s Day thought)

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