Did you see all the geese and sandhill cranes flying over our area lately? I got quite a few questions about these birds lately as people remarked about the large numbers they saw in the past 10 days or so.

When sandhill cranes fly over they are normally in a rather irregular V and are sometimes mistaken for Canada geese. The cranes do not honk like geese but rather have a high pitched squeak or bugle like calls and, when flying high in the sky they might cause the observer to refer to them as geese.

Geese, on the other hand, fly in a much more noticeable V pattern and have the more distinct honking sound.

Much of the migration of these birds depends on when the weather really gets bad where they spend much of the spring, summer, and fall. For the geese that is up north. The geese will then migrate southward to open water, which, if you haven’t noticed, we have plenty of right now.

Several days last week there were literally thousands of geese on Lake Vermilion but on Monday, when I crossed the lake, I didn’t see a single one.

With plenty of open water in the central part of the state, these geese will be flying in and out most likely the rest of the winter.

Look for the flocks of sandhill cranes flying over and learn to distinguish between the two. It’s when you see the big flocks of geese flying northward high in the sky that you know spring is near, and, if you believe the groundhog, that’s not too far away!


Permit applications for the third lottery for 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season are due by Monday. Hunters wishing to apply should visit the IDNR website for more information: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/TurkeyHunting.aspx

Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 740 wild turkeys during the 2019-2020 Fall Archery Turkey Season. The total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 738 in 2018-2019. For the 2019-20 season, 22,728 permits were sold (excluding landowner permits) compared to 23,298 for the 2018-2019 season. The season dates were Oct. 1– Jan. 19 and all 102 counties were open for hunting. The top counties for fall archery wild turkey harvest were Jefferson (25), Knox (23), Cass (20), Jackson (18), and Randolph (18).

2020 Illinois Hunting, Fishing and Sportsman Combination licenses will go on sale beginning March 1 at 8 a.m. – and those 2020 licenses will be valid through March 31, 2021. Illinois 2019 licenses are valid through March 31, 2020. Licenses purchased prior to March 1, 2020 are 2019 licenses that will be valid only through March 31, 2020.

The Indianapolis Boat, Sport, & Travel Show dates are Feb. 14-23 this year which means you can take your wife to the show on Valentine’s Day and buy yourself a boat from your Valentine to you! See how well that one works and let me know!

Another pair shows you want to put in your calendar are the Illinois Deer Classic at the Peoria Civic Center, March 27-29 and the Indiana Deer, Turkey & Waterfowl Expo Feb. 20-23 and the Indiana State Fairgrounds.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net

Recommended for you