Looking back at the 2012 outdoors year
We made it to a New Year and we can tuck 2012 into our memory bank as one to remember. As usual, this year has been filled with pluses and minuses, but as an optimist, I think there have been more good memories than bad. Some things we can have a role in and others we cannot.
We certainly could have used some rainfall during the year as all our farmer friends found out, but the various ponds and lakes and creeks in Bureau County also dropped to lower levels than they normally maintain. I think most of our fish populations managed to survive.
Our PHS Sportsman’s Club had a safe and prosperous trip to Canada. Our group caught quite a few fish with two ladies catching the biggest pike and many of our fishermen catching lake trout.
Summertime made it difficult to enjoy fishing. The summer was very hot, and unless you fished early in the morning, the heat made it almost unbearable.
Soon the summer was over and school was starting. This cut down on the actual time some of our students could be outdoors, but already their minds were thinking about the opening of squirrel season and archery deer. Before very long, it was a reality.
I’m not sure how the squirrel season panned out, but I do know the archery deer season was a success. There were several quality bucks that fell to Bureau County archers.
Soon it was time for duck season to start. I was excited this year because we had a successful planting of corn and millet at our club and the duck numbers reported by the National Wildlife Service looked very positive. We had a good time throughout the season but we never had a bonanza. I think we could have used some more cold weather and snow in the Dakotas.
Shotgun deer season was a success in Illinois and Bureau County. Locally we harvested over 1,000 whitetails and the state harvested 77,000 during the first season. Both numbers were up from last year. The totals after the second season reached 99,000. We still have some special seasons left, so I hope we top 100,000.
The state of Illinois has recently welcomed 14 new conservation police officers to the DNR’s force in Illinois. They have finished 14 weeks of intense general law enforcement and specific conservation police training to qualify for their positions. This is the first class of CPO’s since 2007 and the first class to be made up of entirely military veterans.
I have witnessed the retirement of several CPOs in the last several years that have not been replaced with new officers. I am happy to see this happen, but I would like to see more of it take place. The number of square miles that a CPO is required to patrol is ridiculous. We could surely use some more in Illinois.
Upcoming: NWTF banquet - Jan. 26.
Lee Wahlgren is the BCR outdoor columnist. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.