Chicago outdoors: Illinois armadillos, backyard Cooper’s hawk, record smallmouth bass & northern pike

A note on how to report armadillos in Illinois, a well-photographed backyard Cooper’s hawk, and thoughts on Illinois-record smallmouth bass and northern pike are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Illinois armadillos, backyard Cooper’s hawk, record smallmouth bass & northern pike
Armadillo. Photo:, CC BY 3.0


Photo:, CC BY 3.0

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.


“If you have recently seen an armadillo in Illinois, please REPORT the sighting to IDNR at this link []. Thank you.”

My favorite Illinois Department of Natural Resources social media post, Feb. 19 on Facebook

Backyard Cooper’s hawk. Credit: Paulette Davies

Backyard Cooper’s hawk.

Paulette Davies


Tony Davies sent the photo to the left of a Cooper’s hawk.

It was taken by his wife Paulette, out last week out of the kitchen window.

Cooper’s hawks have active around many backyards and bird feeders with our regular winter this year.

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 or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or Instagram (@BowmanOutside).



March 12-13: Bridgeview, (708) 594-1818 . . . Diamond, (815) 907-7345 . . . Morris, (815) 942-6644


Thursday, March 10: North Shore Chicago Dinner, Kenilworth Club


Wednesday, March 9: Paddlers Guide to Safety, Chicago, Don Leonard,

Saturday, March 12: Boat America, Chicago, Dan O’Connell, . . . Boat America, Waukegan, Curt Schumacher,


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

Through today, March 6: Northwest Indiana Fishing and Outdoor Expo, Lincoln Community Center, Highland, Ind.

Thursday-next Sunday, March 10-13: Journal Sentinel Sports Show, Wisconsin State Fair Park Exposition Center, West Allis, Wis.

Friday-next Sunday, March 11-13: Canoecopia, Alliant Energy Center, Madison, Wis.

Saturday, March 12: Fish & Hook Sports Show, VFW Post 5788, Lockport

Saturday, March 12: Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies Inc.’s annual banquet, Schaumburg Golf Club

Next Sunday, March 13: Quad County Hawg Hunters’ Fishing Flea Market, Plano American Legion, or (815) 286-7170


Tuesday, March 8: River specialist Mike Teafoe Chicagoland Muskie Hunters chapter of Muskies, Inc., North Branch Pizza & Burger Co., Glenview, 7:30 p.m.,

Tuesday, March 8: Salmon Unlimited, Top 3 Boats from the 2021 season (Fish n Crew, Follow Me and Dojigger), , Thornwood Restaurant & Lounge, Wood Dale, 7 p.m.,

Wednesday, March 9: Capt. Matt Raley, who guides in Wisconsin’s Oneida and Vilas counties, Fox River Valley chapter of Muskies, Inc., Schaumburg Golf Club, 7 p.m.,

Wednesday, March 9: Andrew Ragas, “Artificial Techniques & Spring Strategies For Trophy Largemouth & Smallmouth Bass,” Lake Geneva Fishing Club, Poplar Creek Bowl, Hoffman Estates, 6 p.m.,

Thursday, March 10: Capt. Doug Kloet, “Spring Musky Fishing on Lake Geneva and the Chain O’Lakes,” Riverside Fishing Club, LaGrange American Legion, 6:30 p.m.,


Tuesday, March 8: Over-the-counter sales, spring turkey, begin


“Now that the long-standing smallmouth bass record has been [topped] a few years ago, it may be time to start looking at the lakefront for the next state-record pike.” Tim Jacob commenting on Facebook

A: He has a point. Illinois’ northern-pike record has stood since Nov. 9, 1989 when Walter Klenzak caught his 26 pounds-15 ounces monster from a strip pit, now called Monster Lake at Mazonia South.

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The three-day sporting competition, organized locally by the Chicago Park District, is for disabled veterans and wounded, ill or injured service members. It wrapped up Thursday.