Chicago outdoors: Emily Dickinson and snakes, Chicago River night heron, stinkhorn, Kentucky elk

Emily Dickinson on the reaction to snakes, a good photo of a black-crowned night heron on the Chicago River, the restoration numbers of elk in Kentucky and a question/notes on stinkhorns are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Emily Dickinson and snakes, Chicago River night heron, stinkhorn, Kentucky elk
A black-crowned night heron on the Chicago River. Credit: Dean Pearson

A black-crowned night heron on the Chicago River.

Dean Pearson

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.


Dean Pearson photographed this black-crowned night heron on a dock line last Saturday on the Chicago River. The growth of those birds on the Chicago River has been one of the area’s better nature stories.

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).


“Have you ever seen anything like this? Some kind of a weird orange mushroom?” Andy Knapp

A: Before I could answer, he found it was a stinkhorn, one of the more distinctive and phallic of our common mushrooms. They serve a vital role in breaking down organic matter.

A local stinkhorn. Credit: Andy Knapp

A local stinkhorn.

Andy Knapp


More than 10,000: Elk in Kentucky (“highest elk population of any state east of the Mississippi River”), since a restoration between 1997 and 2002, according to the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.


But never met this Fellow Attended or alone Without a tighter Breathing And Zero at the Bone.

Emily Dickinson, ending to her snake poem, opening with “A narrow Fellow in the Grass”



Through Aug. 21: Located in the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, Springfield, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. daily during the Illinois State Fair. Click here for details.


Next Saturday, Aug. 20,-Aug. 21: Momence, (815) 472-4900

Sept. 17-18: Joliet, (815) 727-4811

Sept. 17-18: Momence, (815) 472-4900


Next Saturday, Aug. 20,-Aug. 21: Aurora Sportsmen’s Club, Waterman,


Monday, Aug. 15: Deadline, drawing for archery deer permits at William Powers SRA. Go to


Wednesday, Aug. 17: Biologist Dan Makauskas on Lake Michigan, South Side Muskie Hawks, Vince’s Restaurant and Pizzeria, Chicago,

Thursday, Aug. 18: Ken “Husker” O’Malley, “Cooling Lakes, Rivers and Local Ponds,” Fish Tales Fishing Club, Worth Township offices, Alsip, 7 p.m.,


Tuesday, Aug. 16-Aug. 31: Applications, public goose and duck permits, first lottery

Friday, Aug. 19: Final day, third lottery, firearm and muzzleloader deer permit applications

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