Outdoors: Join in the celebration of Hunting & Fishing Days
By Bob Maciulis For Sun-Times Media September 8, 2013 4:54PM
Updated: October 10, 2013 6:33AM
A generation ago, President Richard Nixon designated the fourth weekend of September as a time to honor the contributions made by America’s outdoorsmen to the preservation, restoration and celebration of our natural resources.
Northern Illinois’ Hunting & Fishing Days celebration again will be held at one of the most beautiful Illinois state parks, Silver Springs State Park, on Sept. 28 and 29.
The pristine waters for which the park has been named bubble up throughout the rolling hardwood-covered terrain that overlooks the Fox River west of Yorkville.
All activities are free, and family participation is encouraged.
Those of us who remember when northern Illinois offered some of the finest upland game hunting especially enjoy that the event is kid and dog friendly (dogs must be leashed).
There is a magic in the smell of woodfires from the encampment drifting over Beaver Lake, mingling with the pungent smells of black powder and brats and burgers sizzling on grills (refreshments and food will be available for sale).
The air also is filled with the caw-cawing of crows in the treetops and the cacophony of duck and goose callers demonstrating their best techniques.
There have been years when it rained, yet thousands of attendees still came to share the tradition of celebrating America’s passion for the outdoors and the environment.
The 80-plus vendors and hands-on, interactive displays will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., rain or shine. Among the activities are hunting, fishing and dog training seminars; outdoors women’s seminars; RVs, ATVs, boats and campers; archery and BB gun ranges where attendees can try a variety of shooting products; a Kids’ Casting Area supervised by area outdoors clubs; a trap range; opportunities to paddle a canoe; fly tying and fly casting instruction; a stocked Kids Fishing Pond (rods, reels and bait provided); a Kids Fishing Tournament; and one of the most popular demonstrations, Muzzleloader Demos.
Another of the more popular demonstrations, one that even the youngest attendees watch in drop-jaw amazement, is the deer butchering session hosted by Bill Balt on Saturday and Sunday mornings beginning at 10 a.m.
One of the greatest lines I’ve heard was spoken by a sweet, blonde little girl who watched Balt as he processed a deer carcass provided by the IDNR.
He was cutting away parts when the 5-year-old’s father tugged at her hand and said, “C’mon, honey, let’s see some of the other things.”
She pulled his hand with authority and announced, “No, daddy! I want to see where the pork chops come from!”
From the mouths of babes, indeed!
Silver Springs State Park is an easy drive. Signage will lead you once you arrive in downtown Yorkville at Route 47, two blocks south of where it crosses the Fox River.
For schedules for the event and more information, visit www.NIHFD.org