The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

January 5, 2013

Ice not as solid as one thinks


DANVILLE — The lakes and ponds are freezing over but the rain and warm weather that is predicted for this week won’t do the ice any good. Ice, even the thickest of ice, can become treacherous when it rains so be careful on slick ice such as this.

Another area to avoid is an area of ice with moving water under it, such as ice on a river, especially after a rain. That water moving under the ice keeps the ice in that area weaker than ice nearby that has no movement of water under it.

A good example of such a place is about the bridge at Lake Vermilion. There is a channel in the lake that goes under the bridge as water flows toward the lake dam and then down into the river. That is an area to avoid, yet I have seen kids ice skating in that area in the past. Parents should warn their children, no matter how old, of such lurking danger.

I haven’t ice fished as yet as I’m not too sure the ice is thick enough for my taste and early ice has not been that good to me anyway. I have always like late January and February ice for the big bluegills.

Coyote Hunting

One area of hunting that few people do around here is coyote hunting. I don’t mean running them down with a snowmobile and then shooting them which is illegal anyway.

A coyote hunt can be a real test of skill and to some degree survival this time of the year. I remember the first one I shot years ago over a dead cow that way lying in a friend of mine’s pasture. It was cold and I had laid sat in a tree stand for quite some time.

There are so many more coyotes today than there was back then that a hunter hunting over a proper bait or using an electronic game call should have plenty of opportunities during the winter months.

The best advice I can give a young hunter wanting to try coyote hunting is to find an old veteran that can tell you how to lure them into your line of fire. If you are using a rifle, which is the true sport to this hunt, you will need to determine the position of your lure or call in perspective with wind direction.

Wind speed is also extremely important in taking long shots with a rifle. In fact, there are winter days in this area that you just can’t hunt because the wind speed would be so great that it would be impossible of sending a bullet to the target.

You might give coyote hunting a try this winter after the final days of deer hunting. Coyotes have an open season all year long except during the firearm deer season in Illinois counties that have a firearm season. There is no limit on the number a hunter can take or possess.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: