October 6, 2008

Take Care When Deer Hunting With Bow

By Scott Richardson

Dominick "Big Knobs" Culjan, a premiere Illinois River fishing guide and good friend, died last year after he fell from a tree stand. With archery season underway, please be careful. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently released these tips for deer hunters: - Always wear a safety belt and harness while climbing and sitting in a stand. Remember, 85 percent of tree stand accidents happen when the hunter is climbing or descending the tree; - Maintain a short tether between yourself and the tree; - Make slow, deliberate moves; - Pick a safe, sound, tree to climb; - Be familiar with your equipment and inspect it; - When using a climbing stand, tie both the climber and platform together to assure the platform cannot slip out of reach; - Do not climb higher than your comfort level, do not use tree limbs or branches as steps, never climb with a bow or firearm, always use a haul rope; - Always let someone know where you are hunting and the time to expect you to return.

What's the hold up?

What is the hold up, Mr. Blagojevich?

I was on vacation when the Illinois Senate passed legislation, allowing you to sweep funds from other earmarks and use that money to keep open 11 Illinois state parks, including Moraine View State Park and Weldon Springs State Park, and 13 state historic sites, including David Davis Mansion in Bloomington.

A few days before the Senate action, I was among 1,000 people at a rally to save the parks held at Moraine View. A day earlier, you told State Rep. Dan Brady, R-Bloomington, you would restore the money to the parks and historic places if the Senate agreed to the action the Illinois House had taken earlier.

So, I repeat, what's the hold up? You've held the parks and historic sites for ransom long enough. Release the funds.

Youth waterfowl

Clinton Lake Waterfowl Association and the Illinois Prairie Chapter of Delta Waterfowl will host a Youth Waterfowl Event from 2 to 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the Region 3 office of Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Illinois 54.

Activities include interactive demonstrations, introduction to gear, decoy carving and collecting, hunting safety and regulations, dog demonstrations, bird identification, duck and goose calling, a cookout and more (heck, save me a spot.)

Recommended ages are 8-16. Adults are $10, and an adult chaperone is needed. There is no charge for youths. Register by Oct. 1 by phoning Gene Everett at (217) 784-8512.

Outdoor women

A joint study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Wild Turkey Federation on women and the outdoors found:- Their biggest motivation for spending time outdoors was being with family and friends;- Work at home and away left them too little play time;- Though one in five said they were interested in hunting, few have done it in the past five years;- Despite all the work the outdoor industry has invested in luring women, four out of five said they were unaware of programs like the NWTF's Women in the Outdoors that teach camping, canoeing, hiking and other outdoor skills;

Women in the Outdoors participants have increased their involvement by more than 40 percent in fishing, hiking, backpacking, camping, hunting, bird watching and outdoor photography.

For more information, call the NWTF at (800) THE-NWTF.

More news for women

The National Shooting Sports Foundation says more women than ever are attending shooting classes to learn about handguns, primarily for personal safety reasons.

Enrollment in self-protection handgun classes is at an all-time high, especially among women, according to the NSSF which launched the First Shots program two years ago. The classes teach introduction to handgun shooting in cooperation with ranges across the country.

A NSSF study of women who attended the classes showed nearly 75 percent enrolled because "self-protection was a prime concern for them." After the classes, nine out of 10 said they would probably continue shooting.

Check out ww.firstshots.org/ seminars.html.

Not-so Great Lakes?

A recent study by The National Parks Conservation Association warned of threats to natural features and cultural sites in six national parks along the Great Lakes.

They include: Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin; Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Indiana; Isle Royale National Park, Michigan; Keweenaw National Historical Park, Michigan; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan; and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Michigan.

The threats include air and water pollution, non-native species, adjacent development and funding shortfalls that are threatening every aspect of the parks.

Closer to home, among the threats to Indiana Dunes are: pollution from ozone, sulphur dioxide, sulfate, and mercury from surrounding industrial facilities; contamination from runoff; and retreating dunes due to adjacent shoreline development that prevents the natural deposit of sand that replenishes the dunes.

Scott Richardson is Pantagraph outdoor editor. Contact him at (309) 820-3227 or email [email protected] Share stories and read past outdoor and fishing columns at www.pantagraph.com/ blogs

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