2012 is history and, all things considered, was reasonably normal for the greater Quad-Cities outdoors community. We had some ups and downs. Here are some highlights:|
• The volunteers who run the four charity bass tournaments held in and around the QC area banded together and formed the Greater QC Area Charity Bass Tournament Trail which added some nice bling to tournament bass fishing. Rumor has this circuit possibly expanding in 2013.
• Sadly, the very long running Illinois DNR magazine, Outdoor Illinois, folded, because of budgetary reasons.
• Scott County's long-awaited new body of water, Lost Grove Lake, started filling; and as other than good luck would have it, during a summer of drought.
• The 40 or so aquatic biologists from many agencies that meet annually in the midsection of Mississippi River Pool 14 to survey the freshwater mussel population say their findings indicate Mississippi River water quality is doing just fine.
• Paul Malone of Pleasant Valley won the professional side of an FLW Outdoors Everstart bass tournament held out of LaCrosse pocketing $31,000, his 4th major event win over the last year.
• Quad-City volunteer Warren Gale of Orion was elected into the prestigious Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame, only the second Quad Citian so enshrined.
• Illinois DNR Fisheries biologist Ken Russell, who celebrated his 50th year of serving NW Illinois on Nov. 1, received the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Golden Glow Public Servant Award, the highest award bestowed by AGLOW.
• The QC outdoors community, especially waterfowl hunters, was shattered on a foggy and dark opening day of the Illinois season when a boat carrying seven hunters hit a concrete channel marker in Mississippi River pool 16, killing two hunters, David Slater of Davenport and Thomas Trainer of Canton. The boat was rated for 12 occupants and contained the proper number of personal flotation devices.
• Danny Plautz of Madison, Wis., won the FLW Outdoors National Guard Walleye Championship held in the QC the last week of October earning $85,000 for his victory. A downside to this, the seventh FLW Outdoors fishing championship held in the QC, was that catching keeper walleye and sauger outside the slot length limit was difficult for the 42 best walleye pros and co-anglers in the world.
• Another huge "Nordstrom buck" was harvested in early November. However, this one was not arrowed by Quad-Citian Dan Nordstrom; but by his brother Mike of Madison, who was hunting here via a 50th birthday present from brother Dan.
• Cole Young of Erie harvested the nicknamed "G-3 buck"' after playing cat and mouse with the whitetail for about five years. The nickname came from an abnormally tall G-3 antler tine.
• After watching for a heart-pounding hour and a half, Pat Scott of Bettendorf harvested two trophy bucks in southern Iowa after watching the animals fight with antlers locked together the entire time.
• After a year of negotiation that involved some 40 constituent groups, the "DNR Sustainability Bill" was passed in late 2012 and enacted. According the Illinois DNR director Marc Miller, the bill will provide funding that can be used solely for keeping state parks open and programs working. DNR staffers have identified an estimated $750 million in repairs needed at state parks. The bill is estimated to provide $30 to $33 million annually, with that funding coming from the $2 increase in annual license plate fees. Don't look for any immediate work done soon though, funding isn't expected to be available for about a year. Two recent communications regarding this issue from Miller were appropriately titled "swimming upstream faster than the current" which refers to the general Illinois financial mess.
We at the World Outdoors thank all who have provided story tips and support over the past year. We appreciate your communication, including some not in agreement with our thoughts and beliefs. If we were to have one wish for 2013 it would be to pen more columns about women and minorities enjoying our great outdoors.
There are two great events coming soon that interest outdoors folks of all ages, unfortunately they are both on the same weekend, Jan. 11-13:
• The long-running and very popular QCCA Bald Eagle Days will be held at the QCCA Expo Center, 27th Sreet and 4th Avenue, Rock Island. Go to QCCAExpoCenter.com for details.
• The 27th annual Quad City B oat and Vacation show will be held at the Davenport RiverCenter. For complete information, go to IowaShows.com.
Bob Groene is outdoors writer for The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, he can be reached at email@example.com
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