With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us let me remind you that safety has to be a top priority while on the water. Although rain is in the forecast there will also be some dry time to enjoy the holiday outside.

For many, this dry time means time on the water and that is when boating accidents happen and that is also when some people become a statistic rather than having a fun day on the water.

The use of alcohol, along with the use of life jackets and boat speed are the three main contributing factors. Slow down, wear your life jacket, and leave the alcohol alone. Do these three things and your chances of becoming a holiday statistic go way down.

Far too often these boating accidents involve kids and many of those kids are innocent victims of a parent, relative, or a friend’s mistake while on the water.

The idea that just because you know how to swim doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a personal floatation device; just because you know how to drive doesn’t mean you don’t need a seat belt!

I know how to swim yet, when I go on the water, I always wear a life jacket. When a person goes out of a boat and into the water it is a bang-bang situation.

Things get disoriented once you hit the water; the boat isn’t going to stay in the same place and once panic mode kicks in, a person is in trouble!

Stay safe this holiday and enjoy the time you have with friends and family and don’t become a Memorial Day statistic!

Turkey harvest numbers

Illinois turkey hunters harvested a preliminary statewide total of 15,800 wild turkeys during the 2020 Spring Turkey Season. This year’s preliminary harvest total compares with the 2019 statewide turkey harvest of 15,190. The statewide preliminary total includes the 2020 Youth Turkey Season harvest of 1,744 birds, a record total, and compares with the 2019 youth harvest of 1,392 turkeys. The statewide record total was set in 2006 when 16,569 turkeys were harvested.

Spring turkey hunting was open in 100 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The 2020 season dates were April 6-May 7 in the South Zone and April 13-May 14 in the North Zone. The Youth Spring Turkey Season was March 28-29 and April 4-5 statewide.

Spring turkey hunting was suspended at Illinois Department of Natural Resources sites during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Turkey hunters this spring took a preliminary total of 6,285 wild turkeys during all regular season segments in the South Zone, compared with 5,959 last year in the south. The preliminary harvest total for all regular season segments in the North Zone this year was 7,771 wild turkeys, compared with 7,832 in northern counties in 2019.

The top five counties for spring wild turkey harvest in 2020 were Jefferson (508), Jo Daviess (464), Marion (444), Pike (404), and Randolph (379).

Vermilion County hunters harvested 118 wild turkeys compared to 127 last year.

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

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