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Lee Wahlgren

King of the River series starts Saturday


How good of a fisherman are you? Find out this weekend as Time on the Water Outdoors in Spring Valley sponsors a white bass tournament Saturday at 7 a.m. This is part of their King of the River series this year. They will host a bass tournament in June, a catfish tournament in July and a walleye/sauger tournament in September.

Sign up anytime before the tournament starts. Go to or call the store to sign up. For more info or to enter the tournament, call 815-663-1000.

When several of the local outdoor organizations have their annual banquets, readers know we like to support them in their fundraising activities. Our four local chapters, Pheasants Forever, Whitetails Unlimited, DU and NWTF are active in their fundraising, but I like the way they give back to the youth of our county. In this particular story, I want to give credit to the Bureau Creek Gobblers local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and to Kurt Freeberg, chairman of the local chapter for supporting the youth turkey season. These kids got to live turkey hunt this year for the first time. What a thrill this had to be.

Bryson Oeder of Princeton was the lucky youth from the Bureau Creek Gobblers chapter of the NWTF to win a turkey hunt. Only 22 youth hunters were drawn in the state of Illinois to participate during the entire turkey hunting season. Bryson’s hunt took place during the youth turkey season the weekend of April 7-8. The hunt was hosted by the NWTF and the Illinois Conservation Foundation. The location was on the 750-acre property of the Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center along the Pecatonica River. Bryson was accompanied by his grandfather, Brad Oeder, and Freeberg. Out of the five youth hunters that weekend, Bryson was one of two hunters able to bag a turkey. This was Bryson’s first turkey and first time turkey hunting. Bryson would like to thank Marcia and Ken Polhamus, Illinois State Jakes coordinators, for hosting the event and the Bureau Creek Gobblers for providing the opportunity for the memorable hunt.

Braden Murfin, also a youth member of the Bureau Creek Gobblers chapter, won a local youth season hunt from the banquet that was held Jan. 21. Bureau Creek Gobblers committee member Mark Hall guided the hunt in Bureau County. Braden was not able to bag a turkey, but enjoyed his first time turkey hunting.

Sunday afternoon, my grandsons and I went after the elusive Morchella esculenta, better known as the spongie or morel. We got out of the car in the pasture and immediately my grandson Kaiden said, “Look, Papa, there’s a snake.” Sure enough, a little garter snake scurried off to safety and we were happy because we had seen some wildlife in the first minute of our adventure. There was a lot of underbrush and the walking was tough, but I was proud of Kaiden and Chewy because they stayed right with Erick and I.

The only other thing was found was in the pasture right at the edge of the timber. It was a small shed, but the boys thought it was neat. We had a nice adventure, the goal of our efforts was not achieved. Zero morels! Well, just like the Cubs. Wait til next year!!

Lee Wahlgren is the BCR Outdoor Columnist. Contact him at pdub52@gmail.com