Chicago outdoors: Town-owning sandhills, Huck Finn catfish, Michigan moose, waterfowl mounts

Sandhill cranes that walk around like they own the town, a count of moose in the Michigan UP, a note of the big catfish in Huckleberry Finn and a question on waterfowl mounts are among the notes from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.

SHARE Chicago outdoors: Town-owning sandhills, Huck Finn catfish, Michigan moose, waterfowl mounts
Sandhill cranes and their chick in Griffith, Indiana. Credit: Dan Davies

Sandhill cranes and their chick in Griffith, Indiana.

Dan Davies

Notes come from around Chicago outdoors and beyond.


Dan Davies sent a bunch of cool photos, including this sandhill cranes with a chick in Griffith, Ind. “Nested in the nearby woods,” he emailed. “Walking thru the neighborhood like they owned it. Lol.”

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).


“Do you know anyone interested in waterfowl taxidermy? I am selling a collection of drake ducks and geese. About 40 pieces.” Anthony Fieder

A: That’s one of the stranger requests I’ve received, but there you go, if interested.


426: Moose in a survey, first since 2019, of the western Upper Peninsula by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, “This continues the trend of plateauing abundance where population growth over the last 12 years is now less than 1%.,” said Tyler Petroelje, northern Michigan wildlife research specialist with the Michigan DNR.


“Well, the days went along, and the river went down between its banks again; and about the first thing we done was to bait one of the big hooks with a skinned rabbit and set it and catch a catfish that was as big as a man, being six foot two inches long, and weighed over two hundred pounds. We couldn’t handle him, of course; he would a flung us into Illinois.”

Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” chapter 10, likely referring to a world-record sized blue catfish.


Mark Twain is quoted here as saying: “I think a photograr. is a most important document.” Consequently, he insisted upon being photographed wherever and whenever possible. From MARK TWAIN IN THE MOVIES: A Meditation with Picture by John Steely, published by The Viking Press on November.



Tuesday, June 20: Ken “Husker” O’Malley, “Local Waters: Des Plaines River, Cooling Lakes & Strip Pits,” Arlington Anglers, Poplar Creek Banquets, Hoffman Estates, 6:30 p.m.


Next Saturday, June 24: Lake County PF Summer Family Event, Chain O’Lakes State Park, Spring Grove


Through Monday, June 18: Illinois Free Fishing Days, no license or stamps required, other regulations apply


Through June 30: Applications for free dove hunting permits

Through June 30: Second lottery, firearm or muzzleloader deer permits


July 14: Deadline to make nominations for the 2023 Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame. Click here for the nomination form. For info, or (217) 785-2003.

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