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NextImg:Chicago outdoors: Hegewisch buck, a dog story and near-record crane count

Notes come from arund Chicago and beyond.

BUCK OF THE WEEK: UNPLUGGED

Steve Rys, of Hegewisch, photographed this buck in September “on a hike between Wolf Lake and Eggers Grove Forest Preserve.” I misplaced the photo, but wanted to bring it back. That’s in part because it is a nice 8-point buck, but also because it illustrates the number of deer in that stateline/Wolf Lake/Eggers Grove/Powderhorn area. It’s so many, that they make it difficult to reestablish native plantings.

BOTW Unplugged, the celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors, runs as apt in the special two-page outdoors section in the Sun-Times Sports Saturday. To make submissions, email BowmanOutside@gmail.com or contact me on Facebook (Dale Bowman), Twitter (@BowmanOutside), Instagram (@BowmanOutside), or Bluesky (@Bowmanoutside).

BIG NUMBER

2nd: Highest all-time count of sandhill cranes (32,938) on Tuesday at Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area. The highest count of 34,629 was from late November in 2002, according to property manager Nick Echterling. Click here to see the weekly updates on the crane counts.

Sandhill cranes in flight Nov. 2 northwest of Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area and souheast of the power plant in Wheatfield, Indiana. Credit: Dale Bowman

Sandhill cranes in flight Nov. 2 northwest of Jasper-Pulaski Fish and Wildlife Area and souheast of the power plant in Wheatfield, Indiana.

Dale Bowman

DALE’S MAILBAG

“I put my 16 year old German Shorthair Pointer down yesterday. She had a life of hikes (I think we passed 40,000 miles), treats, squirrel and rabbit chasing and great smells. She explored Carbondale, the state parks, Crab Orchard Refuge, the national forest and the wilderness areas and was eager to be at the door waiting for her lead to be put on. She was up for hikes unless it was raining. Snow, cold, ice, or heat didn’t bother her.” Jim Dooley

A: I’m a sucker for a good dog story.

WILD TIMES

ILLINOIS PERMITS/SEASONS

Sunday, Dec. 3: Final day, second firearm deer season

Monday, Dec. 4: Woodcock season ends

Tuesday, Dec. 5: Daily bag on scaup (bluebills) drops to one, north zone

Friday, Dec. 9, to Dec. 11: Muzzleloader deer season

PUBLIC OPEN HOUSE

Tuesday, Dec. 5:U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Illinois Department of Natural Resources host, review/discuss detailed designs and construction strategies for the Brandon Road Interbasin Project, Dec. 5, two redundant sessions (4-5:30 or 5:30-7 p.m.), Clarion Hotel & Convention Center Joliet, virtual option at https://usace1.webex.com/meet/BROpenHouse or (844) 800-2712 (meeting number, 199 338 6849). Site tour offered Dec. 6, 9:30 a.m.-noon.

HUNTER SAFETY

Jan. 12-13: Bourbonnais, (815) 933-9400

SHOWTIME

Friday, Dec. 8, to Dec. 10:Wisconsin Ice Fishing Expo, Oshkosh, Wis.

Click here for the complete list of show, outdoors classes, swap meets and major ice-fishing events.

ILLUMINATION

Through Jan. 6: Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton ArboretumElectric Illumination – an 18-and-older late-night experience – will feature a new curated disco and house music soundtrack from 9:30 to 11 p.m. Fridays, Dec. 8, 15 and 22; and an ’80s music-themed dance party Dec. 29, featuring hits from Prince, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Journey, Madonna, Talking Heads and more. For tickets, go to mortonarb.org and in-person at the Arboretum Visitor Center during operating hours. Pricing begins at $18.