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Maciulis: Nothing better than a celebration of hunting and fishing

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Updated: August 16, 2014 4:13PM



“What if we hold the event outdoors, so people who wonder what’s it’s like to shoot a bow or to fire a shotgun can actually do it?”

“What if we had real field dogs retrieving from the water? Or pointing live birds planted in the field?”

“What if we held an event that was all hands-on, informal, held some place that showcases our local outdoors venues and didn’t cost an arm and a leg?”

Those were some of the questions posed almost 30 years ago when a group of northern Illinois outdoors clubs, industry representatives joined with some DNR visionaries and pulled together the first celebration of Northern Illinois Hunting & Fishing Days.

The theory was simple: That sportsmen could gather to celebrate our most cherished outdoors traditions. Hunting, trapping, fishing and related traditions, like the shooting sports, are the bedrock of our unique American culture. Unlike in Europe and other parts of the world where they were reserved only for the nobility, here they have been protected as the birthright of every man and woman.

The NIH&FD Committee steadily has grown since a fledgling group of outdoorsmen pooled their resources many years ago to celebrates these grand outdoors traditions with simple hands-on demonstrations in a state park.

The fourth weekend in September, the Northern Illinois celebration of National Hunting & Fishing Days again will be held at Silver Springs State Area, a quiet and picturesque state park nestled among the rolling hardwoods overlooking the Fox River barely five minutes west of Yorkville.

There’s admission charge. There’s no parking fees. It’s held virtually in our back yard. The two-day event is a low-key, informal event.

Who wouldn’t enjoy spending a weekend watching hard-charging retrievers diving into the spring-fed lakes to retrieve dummies? Or being in the gallery when one of the continental breeds locks up on planted pheasant? Or having a bow or a shotgun or a BB gun handed to them — at a supervised range under the tutelage of DNR-sanctioned firearm safety education instructors — and shooting at targets?

More than 60 exhibits are scheduled. There will be vendors selling a variety of outdoors wares, as well as booths featuring local fishing, hunting- and shooting-related clubs.

So grab your rain gear or pull on your camo sweats or just slip into your casual hiking clothes, hoist the pooch into the truck and join us for the most unique outdoors event you’ve ever attended.

For more information about this exciting weekend fair, which draws outdoorsmen from throughout northern Illinois, or to inquire about available booth space for your business, visit www.nihfd.org.



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