Chicago outdoors: Hot heron chicks, 100 pounds of smallmouth, grouse drumming, LaSalle Lake hours

A photo of great blue heron chicks cooling themselves, the first fishing tournament-winning weight of smallmouth bass topping 100 pounds, the drop in grouse drumming in Wisconsin, and a bizarre internet flap on the hours at LaSalle Lake are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Hot heron chicks, 100 pounds of smallmouth, grouse drumming, LaSalle Lake hours
Great blue heron chicks cooling themselves on a 99-degree day on Chicago’s North Side. Credit: Paul Vriend

Great blue heron chicks cooling themselves on a 99-degree day on Chicago’s North Side.

Paul Vriend

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

WILD OF THE WEEK

Paul Vriend caught this scene at a heron rookery at a forest preserve on Chicago’s North Side of three great blue heron chicks managing “oppressive 99-degree Chicago weather by panting and fluttering their neck muscles to release heat from their bodies.”

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

Aug. 13-14: Kankakee, (815) 935-2700

WINGSHOOTING CLINICS

Aug. 13-14: Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, Rich Carlson, (815) 757-2949

Aug. 20-21: Aurora Sportsmen’s Club, Waterman, hunterwsclinic@gmail.com

BLIND DRAWS

July 30-31: Annual drawings for public waterfowl blinds. www2.illinois.gov/dnr/news/Pages/IDNR-announces-2022-schedule-of-waterfowl-blind-site-drawings.aspx

ILLINOIS PERMITS/SEASONS

Wednesday, July 27, to Aug. 25: First-come, first served, remaining free dove hunting permits

DALE’S MAILBAG

“Calling to get verification on new hours for LaSalle Lake.” Darryl Turner, the great angler of blue catfish at LaSalle

A: In a bizarre internet occurrence, if you ask Google for LaSalle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, what pops up includes “Open 24 hours,” which is not true. Hours for the cooling lake southwest of Seneca remain 6 a.m. to sunset, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Like many other anglers, both Turner and I would love to night fish at LaSalle.

BIG NUMBER

102-9: Pounds-ounces that made Jay Przekurat the first angler to win a bass tournament with reach 100 pounds of solely smallmouth bass with a four-day limit of 20 smallmouth bass Sunday at the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite at St. Lawrence River.

LAST WORD

“These results are not surprising. Ruffed grouse typically follow a 10-year population cycle. While we don’t have data for 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, we know that cycles usually peak in years ending in 9, 0 or 1. We’re likely going to see that abundance begin to wane in the coming years as we enter the ‘down phase’ of the cycle.”

Brian Dhuey, Wisconsin DNR wildlife surveys specialist, on the five-percent decrease statewide in ruff grouse drumming from 2021.

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