All roads lead to Carterville

Southern Illinois’ Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days is right around the corner.  It’s time to make plans for a short road trip down south to enjoy this great event.  Read here what came over from the Williamson County Tourism Bureau…

For the past 23 years, families have traveled to the campus of John A. Logan College on the fourth Friday of September.  They attend the southern celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Day, an event designed to teach hunting and fishing skills as well as the ethics, safety and conservation issues associated with them.
The event is arguably the largest of its kind in the nation.  Upwards of 30,000 people attend the event in the southern Illinois community of Carterville.  This years event will take place on September 25-26.  The hours will be Saturday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm and Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Admission and parking is free as are the activities.  Some vendors will be present supplying food and outdoor products.
Children’s activities will include a youth goose calling contest at 8:30 am on Saturday as well as archery, shooting sports and fishing.  Free bait and tackle for the later will be supplied.  All activities will be supervised by adults and instruction provided.

Dogs and waterfowl activities figure prominently in the celebration.  Demonstrations by dock dogs, agility dogs, retrievers, search and rescue dogs, police dogs as well as coon and fox hounds will be presented.
The waterfowl calling series will begin with the Don Gasaway Youth Goose Calling Contest on Saturday at 8:30 am.  Lady youth callers are welcome.  There will be two divisions, 12 years and under as well as those 13 to 16 years of age.  There is no entry fee.
The youth contest will be followed at 11:00 am by the Fund “Team” Goose Pit Calling Contest where 3-man teams will compete for all of the $20 entry fee purse.  At 1:00 pm the Illinois State Open Duck Meat Calling Contest will begin.  First place will receive $1,000, Second $500 and Third $250.  Entry fee is $40.
On Sunday at 1:00 pm the Tim Grounds Southern Illinois World Open Goose Calling Championship.  Entry fee is $40.  First Place will receive $1,250, Second $750 and Third place $250.
Other activities planned will include: wildlife and nature art show, seminars on fishing, game preparation and outdoor cooking as well as a buck skinner’s village with tomahawk throwing area.  Displays will include: Taxidermy, ATV, RV, boats, deer antler measuring, trapshooting, archery, and a special fishing display.
This years activity is presented through the sponsorship of: John A. Logan College, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Crab Orchard Refuge, AISIN, Marion Toyota and Toyota Tundra, Williamson County Tourism Bureau, and McDonalds. Others sponsors include:  Southern Illinois Bowhunters, Sams Club, Winchester Ammunition, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Bank of Marion, Southern Illinois Bank, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, McKinneys Western Store Natural Gear, Tim Grounds Calls, Drake Waterfowl Systems, Higdon Decoys, Marion Chamber of Commerce, Budweiser Golden Eagle, and Farmers State Bank.
Further information is available on line at: or by calling Dwight Hoffard at 618-985-3741, ext 8208.  Vendors seeking information can contact Ron Allen at 217-725-7602.
Free information regarding motel accommodations and points of interest is available from Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, Illinois 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99.  Information is also available online at:, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website.  The e-mail address is:

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