The Illinois Natural Resources Advisory Board, with the endorsement of the Mississippi Flyway Council, has recommended a 67-day goose season and a 60-day duck season for Illinois to the state's DNR. While the proposal is yet to be cast in stone, seldom are these recommendations altered when developed to this stage.
Geese: As reported previously, there will be a special early season for "resident" geese statewide Sept. 1-15. The daily bag limit will be two, with a possession limit of 10, except in the northeast zone where the daily bag limit will be five. Note that geese harvested in the early season will not count toward the state regular season quota.
* The regular goose season, on an experimental basis, will be split in the north and central zones; and will contain 67 days, or less if the quota is reached. Note the line separating the north and central zones goes through the Quad Cities -- see the Illinois digest of hunting regulations for complete details.
* Due to a substantial reduction in the estimated fall flight forecast for Canada geese of some 36 percent, the harvest allocation quota for Illinois has been reduced 45 percent to 40,800 down from 74,600 last year. The proposed daily bag limit has, as a result, been reduced to one bird during most of the season.
* The proposed North zone split season is: Oct. 8-18; Nov. 9-29; and Dec. 7-Jan. 10, or until the quota of 5,600 is reached. The daily bag is one, except after Dec. 28, when it will be two.
* The proposed central zone split season is: Oct. 22-25; Nov. 23-Dec. 6; and Dec. 14-Jan. 31, or until the quota of 7,100 is reached. Daily bag is one until Jan. 18, when it will be two.
Ducks: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has estimated the fall duck flight to be 84 million birds, down from the record 92 million last year.
* The proposed North zone duck season is Oct. 8-Dec. 6; while the Central Zone is proposed for Oct. 22-Dec. 20; both 60-day seasons.
* The daily limit is proposed to be six, which may include no more than four mallards (two hens), one pintail, two wood ducks, two red heads, one black duck and one canvasback.
* A statewide teal season is proposed for Sept. 5-20, with a daily bag limit of four and possession of eight.
Youth waterfowl hunting days: On a pair of Saturdays -- Oct. 3 in the North and Oct. 17 in the Central zones -- are proposed to be set aside for special youth waterfowl hunts. This is for fully licensed youngsters ages 15 and under, who are accompanied by an adult.
Ducks, coots, mergansers and, for the first time, geese, may be hunted by youngsters only. Bag limits shall be the same as for regular season.
This is a tremendous opportunity for waterfowlers to introduce a youngster to the sport of duck and goose hunting.
Hunter safety-education clinic: The Rock Island Conservation club will conduct its fall hunter safety-education course on Thursday evening, Sept. 10, and all day Saturday, Sept 12. Note that both segments must be attended for successful completion.
The course is, as always, free; with prior registration by Aug. 28 required. Registration forms are available at: EZ Livin Sports Center, Milan; Crogaerts Great Outdoors, Rock Island; Farm and Fleet, Moline; KandK Hardware, Bettendorf; and BandB Shooting Supplies, Bettendorf.
Successful completion of a hunter safety education course is required to purchase a hunting license in Illinois for all persons born after Jan. 1, 1980, and is required by many western states for all non-residents.
* According to the International Hunter Education Association, the number of hunting accidents in the U.S. continues to decline. Over the last 10 years, the number of hunting accidents per year has declined by nearly 40 percent, while the number of hunting fatalities has declined by more than 50 percent.
Red Man Bass Tournament won by Quad-Citian: Pete Gust of Davenport, who has ``earned his fishin' spurs'' for many years of competitive and just for sport angling, won the Great Lakes Division Red Man Bass Tournament on Aug. 2 on the Mississippi River at Prairie Du Chien, Wis. Gust weighed in a limit of five bass that tipped the scales at 14 pounds, 3 ounces to top a field of 179 anglers.
Arden Damberg of Calamus, Iowa took second place with five bass weighing 13-10. Robert McManus of Comanche, Iowa was eighth with five fish weighing 11-6, and Rick Miller of Blue Grass was ninth with a limit weighing 11-4.
State sportsman vs. hunger fundraiser: Ted Nugent's Hunters for the Hungry will have its first central Illinois 3-D archery shoot to raise money for the Illinois Sportsman Against Hunger program. The shoot will be Aug. 29-30 at Camp Wokanda, Mosseville, which is about 10 miles north of Peoria and seven miles south of Chillicothe just off Route 29. Cost to shoot 40 3-D targets in realistic hunting situations is $8, with youth and family discounts available. For information call (309) 274-9653.
Recycle squirrel tails: The Mepps fishing lure folks will pay up to 26 cents each for squirrel tails, depending on quality and quantity. Mepps will use the tails to dress hooks. If a hunter prefers to exchange tails for Mepps lures, their cash value is doubled. For information call Mepps at (800) 713-3474.