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Public Lands Day, scouting, CWD, trail, fall regulars: WWW Chicago outdoors


A doe earlier this summer.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

Weather turns to fall after another stretch of elongated summer and should help with anything in this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors.

Chinook, the end of of teal season, ongoing dove and squirrel hunting seasons along with early deer scouting are the regular things for this time of the year. But there are some other things, too, including National Public Lands Day on Saturday and CWD meetings around Illinois that conclude next week.

And just a reminder that there is NO Hunting and Fishing Days this year at Silver Springs SFWA in Yorkville. It was cancelled.

As to me, once again weather broke into plans to do some volunteer work on an edible trail this morning. Then this weekend is tied up with family, including grilling duties all day Sunday for the kids’ 4-H Club fundraiser.

Tuesday evening, I plan to go to a CWD meeting, as a refresher. The lack of participation by deer hunters in the informational meetings is something I find incredibly frustrating, especially when I read people spouting off on social media who have never been to a meeting but damm they have thoughts.

Wednesday I plan to wander around Chicago’s Southeast Side with John Vukmirovich. Not sure what we end up focusing on, but it will be fun.

With that, to this Wild Weekend Wandering around Chicago outdoors and the many eclectic options.

NATIONAL PUBLIC LAND DAYS: Saturday is the 25th National Public Land Day. There’s events all around the area. I had planned to attend the one in Will County, but family duties may prevent that. For information and events, go to NEEFUSA.org/NPLD.

CWD MEETINGS: As I mentioned, I plan to attend one of the nearby meetings on chronic wasting disease (CWD) this week, probably the one at Goose Lake Prairie, though I had an interesting offer to attend another one that I am considering.

Here are the basics from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

The meetings will begin at 7 p.m. with a 30-minute presentation and discussion to follow. Meetings will be held as follows:

September 24 – Nash Recreation Center, 304 S. 5th St., Oregon, IL
September 25 – Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area, 5010 N. Jugtown Rd, Morris, IL
September 26 – Big Rock Community Center, 6th St, Big Rock, IL
October 2 – Orangeville Village Hall, 301 S. East St., Orangeville, IL

For more information about the meetings, or about CWD, please contact Doug Dufford, Wildlife Disease Program Manager at 815-369-2414 or by email at doug.dufford@illinois.gov.

CAL-SAG TRAIL UPDATE: There is an open meeting on the Cal-Sag Trail Update at 7 p.m. Monday at Blue Island City Hall – East Annex, 2434 Vermont St.


Harvest began earlier this month and continues at a rapid pace in Illinois.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

DEER SCOUTING: Harvest in Illinois is going at a tremendous pace and the weather should only keep it going. I think bowhunters doing scouting will be surprised how much of the corn and even the soybeans have been picked.

FALL ‘SROOMS: Fall mushroom hunting is underway. It is one of those things that I would like to learn to do. I started Mushroom of the Week this week and will keep it going as long as worthy submissions come in. Click here to see the one that ran this week. Send nominations to straycasts@sbcglobal.net, Dale Bowman on Facebook or @BowmanOutside on Twitter.

CHINOOK: Not sure what warm water will do, but the Chinook that are around are, as I wrote last week, enough “to keep the dream alive.” Numbers are down coming back to shore, but quality is up.

TEAL SEASON: In Illinois, teal season runs through Sunday, Sept. 23.


Relaxing by the Caribbean Reef exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium.
Dale Bowman/Sun-Times

FREE SHEDD: Through Sept. 30, Illinois residents may attend the Shedd Aquarium for free. Also the Shedd is extending its evening programming, aimed at a more adult audience, during September on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Here are the details from the Shedd:

CHICAGO (Sept. 4, 2018) – Fans of Shedd Aquarium’s Jazzin’ at the Shedd series will delight in three new evening offerings from the aquarium throughout the month of September that are all free for Illinois residents. The Shedd After Hours programming expands access to the aquarium for those who might not be able to visit the aquarium during normal daytime hours. With proof of state residence, guests can access the full aquarium until 9 p.m. and enjoy as many evening events as they like, which will feature themed music and custom food/drink menus for purchase:

  • Mondays (Sept. 10, 17, 24) – Shedd After Hours: Caribbean Flavors and Flair

o   Featuring a special menu of Caribbean-inspired cuisine for guests as they explore the aquarium, including habitats like the iconic Caribbean Reef exhibit in Shedd’s main galleries.

  • Wednesdays (Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3, 10) – Jazzin’ at the Shedd: Live Latin Rhythms

o   The traditional Wednesday night Jazzin’s, which feature lively music and tasty treats both inside the aquarium and along the lakeside terrace, will take a new, Latin spin with live Latin jazz performers and equally inspired food and cocktails. A list of performers can be found here. Wednesday Jazzin’ will extend into October, with two additional free days/nights through Oct. 10.

  • Thursdays (Sept. 6, 20, 27) – Shedd After Hours: House Party

o   Inspired by a style of music created right here in Chicago, Thursday nights at Shedd in September will feature house music DJs and tasty bites and beverages to buy as guests take in the Chicago skyline. Local DJs include DJ Jesse Saunders, DJ Terry Hunter and Farley Jackmaster Funk.

The new evening program is meant to entice a broader, more adult audience who might not be willing or able to visit the aquarium during the day or for those who wish to avoid heavier crowds over the weekend.

The nights are an extension of Shedd’s Illinois free days, presented by Ford Motor Company Fund, which provides general admission to all aquarium exhibits and experiences, including the multi-species aquatic presentation, the bold and diverse animals within Shedd’s new special exhibit, Underwater Beauty, daily dive presentations, animal chats and more. These free days for Illinois residents will run from Sept. 4-30.

Due to the overwhelming popularity of Illinois Resident Free Days, Shedd reminds guests that attendance is limited to building capacity. Tickets may be reserved online in advance ($3 transaction fee) or purchased at the door. General admission is not inclusive of the 4-D movie experience available for $4.95 per person.

Additional access programs are offered year-round through a variety of other offerings include free admission to eligible low-income families every day presenting an EBT card via the Museums For All program and to Chicago Park District youth groups and staffs, Illinois school teachers and K-12 groups, first responders, and families with children using Kids Museum Passports available at Chicago Public Library branches. To learn more about these offerings, click here.