Category: Contributing Outdoor Bloggers

Successful hunts require great optics- Hawke Optics Sport-HD Scope

I mounted a scope on my deer slug gun in 1986. Back then, scopes were only used on rifles, so I received some funny looks from most traditional open-sight gun deer hunters. Today, scoped slug guns have pretty much become the standard for shotgun deer hunting. I recently upgraded my fifteen-year-old son’s 870 Wingmaster with... Read more »

Early Whitetail Rut in Illinois?

Check out the neck on this brute! Rick Drapak arrowed this giant 10-point last weekend. It field dressed at over 250 pounds.
As I recall in 2011, the whitetail rut came early, and it looks to repeat that trend again this year. Reports from several bowhunters are backing up this projection. In addition to the physical attributes like this buck arrowed by my buddy Rick Drapak last Saturday night, there have been quite a few sightings of... Read more »

Wild Creamy Mushroom Soup

I was going to title this recipe “Sheep’s Head Soup” because we use sheepshead mushrooms, but I was afraid no one would read it, let alone try it. But this is basically a cream-of-mushroom style recipe using wild sheepshead. Also known as hen-of-the-woods, these are in my opinion the next best tasting wild mushroom next... Read more »

Fall Sheepsheads - the "Other" Mushroom

Rachel Stefanich hoists a couple nice fall sheeps head mushrooms.
For wild mushroom lovers, September and October offer prime hunting for another one of nature’s delicacies— the sheepshead mushroom. Ok, the king of all wild edible mushrooms is arguably the morel. But sheepsheads run a close second in their taste, and they are a lot easier to find. Here are a few tips that will... Read more »

Illinois Deer Survey Now Online!

Illinois has an awesome deer herd, with fairly liberal quotas.
Deer hunters are always talking about how many deer they see during the hunting season, or the lack of deer. Well, Illinois Deer Hunters, now is your chance to voice your opinion on the Illinois deer herd. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been conducting a study that will help them manage the deer... Read more »

Cream Cheese and Crab Stuffed Morels

Since we found so many morels this year, I couldn’t resist sharing another recipe. This one is a little more work, but trust me it’s worth it! Ingredients: – 10-12 large morels or ones with thick stalks – 24 ounces of cream cheese – 12 ounces of minced crab meat – 6 small green onions... Read more »

Still time for morels

Kyle Stefanich holds the grand-daddy yellow morel!
This spring is definitely one for the books — record high and low temps as well as record rainfalls. With spring coming late, all plants were about 2 weeks late to bloom, including the morels. We found a good bunch in Southern Illinois during the third week of turkey season, right around April 20th. The... Read more »

Morels are Poppin

Spring time means crappie, and MORELS!
There’s only one thing I love more than than putting some crappie in the frying pan— that’s putting fresh morels in another frying pan. And now is the time to do it here in Northern Illinois. The little grey morels started popping last week with the warm spell. The wet spring has been great to... Read more »

Turkeys and Tornadoes

Matt Hayden celebrates his first wild turkey with his cousin Kyle Stefanich.
I guess I should have interpreted the semi-trailer flipped over on Interstate 57 as a sign, but I kept on driving south. With some good friends, my son Kyle and nephew Matt, I was heading to Southern Illinois in pursuit of the grand slam of the spring — wild turkey, crappie, wild asparagus and morels.... Read more »

Gear for Gobblers

A turkey vest with Mossy Oak Obsession is number one on my list of "must-haves".
Killing a wild turkey is tough. I mean it takes more than savvy, preparation and experience, it takes good gear. Here’s my top five list of must-have pieces of turkey hunting equipment that will greatly improve your chance of putting a thunder chicken on the ground this season. 1. Turkey Vest Hunter Specialties makes a... Read more »