The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 10, 2012

Time to watch out for deer hunters


DANVILLE — Next weekend is the opening of the firearm deer season in Illinois. The first segment of the season runs from Friday–Sunday. I mention this because some people who frequent the wooded areas for relaxation and enjoyment might want to reconsider doing it another time.

There are people that anxiously await the opening of the firearm season, some only to be disappointed while others need to take nerve pills; it is that bad.

I have always thought opening day was overrated by many. Heck, one year I wasn’t in the woods ten minutes and I had my deer; other years I went much of the season without seeing a big buck.

I told you in a recent column that I had only seen small deer thus far this year. That changed Friday when a monster 12-point with an additional drop tine ran in front of me chasing a doe. I’m in an area where the deer aren’t spooked by people very much so the big guy stopped about 30 yards away and let me have the pleasure of watching him for a couple of minutes.

He is big enough to make someone’s heart stop on opening day but I’d just as soon watch him as see him taken out. I always hope a deer like this makes it through the season but, it you are a hunter reading this column I know what you are thinking; where is he?

One last time for warm fishing

If you want to fish and stay warm one more time this season, you might want to get out today. I spent many years walking a trap line and the one thing I always remember is that come Thanksgiving week, you can begin to expect snow.

Saturday and early today are predicted to be just great for this time of the year and, checking out the Lake Vermilion Boat Parking Lot on Saturday, there were a lot of anglers on the lake.

Once this nice weather turns sour, the big crappies will turn on. When I’m talking big crappie, I’m not talking 9 and 10 inch fish as they are common and everyone likes to take them home to eat. I’m talking 13-15 inch fish with larger ones moving around as well.

Cloudy days with some wind are great; perfect cloudy days with the sun peaking through are great as well. Sunny days don’t work as well for me and, the nastier the better in most cases. If you want big crappie, many times you have to pay the price and S-L-O-W is the word on the big guys.

A deer question

I got an interesting question from a reader who reported seeing the piebald deer that I’ve mentioned recently in several columns. The question revolves around him being a homeowner with no desire to hunt but a desire to watch the deer in his backyard. The question is, is it legal to throw ears of corn across the back fence in order to attract the deer and watch them?

Illinois has a law forbidding any baiting of deer with the exception being bird seed. Corn, salt blocks, mineral blocks, apples, etc. are illegal even though your intentions are to only watch and photograph the deer. Keep this in mind when you do something like this.

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