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Illinois hunting and fishing

Readers check in from the outdoors

January 10, 2013 at 12:28 PM

The State Journal-Register

Today, we are introducing a new feature: Voices from the Wilderness.

This is your space. We’d like to hear what you have to say and share it with the readers of Prairie State Outdoors. Here is a sample from last week’s email.

Cardinal sin

Newspaper reporters should never try to be clever.

Last week, I wrote a brief notice about an entry in my photo blog, Chris’ Camera Bag, pondering a name for a grouping of cardinals at my bird feeder.

For example, when crows gather, we have a “murder” of crows. A herd of rhinoceroses is referred to — appropriately enough — as a “crash.” So why shouldn’t a collection of cardinals have a name?

Finding nothing after some (exhaustive) Internet research, I decided a “college” of cardinals had a nice ring to it.

Of course the College of Cardinals in real life is the name given to all the cardinals in the Roman Catholic Church. We hear about them most often when they gather to select a new pope.

“A ‘college of cardinals?’ Hmmm. I think you can do better,” e-mailed Robert Buys. “How about a crest of cardinals? A deck of cards?”

But he wasn’t finished.

Buys also included a few also-rans that he still considers to be in contention, or as he writes, “are in the red zone.”

“A blush of cardinals.”

“A rouge of cardinals.”

“Or a Vatican of cardinals.”

Otter tracking
Illinois hunting and fishing

In response to last Friday’s story on river otter trapping season (, Bill Kulschbach of Dunlap sent in some photos of otter tracks in the snow and ice.

He writes the tracks were on ice “very near to downtown Peoria!”

Otter numbers have been growing fast since reintroduction began in the latter half of the 1990s.

Bob Bluett, Illinois Department of Natural Resources furbearer biologist, said Kulsbach captured photo evidence of “classic otter tracks.” The photos show the animals alternately walking and sliding on the ice.

“Hop, hop, hop … sliiiiiide,” he writes.

New year, new friend
Illinois hunting and fishing

“I took a walk with my camera New Year’s Day at Washington Park (in Springfield) and happened upon this little fox,” writes Monica Wilson. “He just sat contentedly looking at me … I was amazed.

“He was so handsome I wanted to take him home with me, but instead we visited for a bit and I snapped a few pictures before something spooked him and he was off.”

Wilson said she put together a gallery of the pictures on her personal Facebook page, and called it, “New Year, New Friend.”

“I thought what a blessing it was, a wonderful New Year’s gift,” she wrote. “In light of all of the serious and stressful things happening with the economy, coming upon this little guy cheered me and reminded me of how God takes care of all of us ... in spite of ourselves it seems.”

If you have an interesting picture of story to share, or just want to comment on something you’ve seen in Prairie State Outdoors, e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). I will try to highlight as many as possible.

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