The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
(Mr. Short Britches With Hat On Backwards)."
Greetings to everyone in western Illinois. With the sun shining and the wind blowing today, the combines are rolling in both corn and beans. Rain forecast soon, however.
This past weekend, October 10, was opening day of pheasant hunting in South Dakota.
It rained on Friday, October 9, all day and most of the morning Saturday (Oct. 10).
And yet by Sunday afternoon, (Oct.11), the combines were harvesting mid-afternoon, even tho they had just come out of five days of straight rain.
Between western Illinois and northwest South Dakota, only two fields of corn were spotted as being harvested the entire distance.
A few bean fields were harvested, however they were only in the Dakota's.
On the better side of things, the pheasants are thick up there, but harder to find in all that standing corn. Everyone bags their limit, that is everyone gets an opportunity, if'n he can shoot straight.
Some folk can't shoot so straight, so with their semi-automatic shotguns they just throw lead in the air.
Eventually, a pheasant will fly into some of it. Even a blind hog can find an acorn once in awhile.
The Dakota's encourage hunting as it brings tremendous revenue to the state.
Signs are everywhere - "Welcome Hunters" - in hardware stores, restaurants, motels etc. etc. The state leases private land from farmers and makes it available for public hunting.
Licenses for out of state hunters cost $100, good copper plated shells, for long distance shooting, cost over $17 for 25 cartridges, hunting gear, lodging, and on and on the spending goes.
Folks travel there from great distances from all over the United States.
Cabella's, at Mitchell, South Dakota is flooded with hunters on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They keep the store open until 11 p.m. at night. They tag birds and release them.
If'n you bag one of their tagged released birds, you can win a huge "opportunity of a lifetime" monetary prize.
Bring in the longest tail feather for the weekend and you win a new "Benelli" shotgun. Men, women, boys and girls all participate in celebrating their love of hunting and outdoor recreation.
Illinois could learn a lesson from the Dakota's with just casual observance. It would not be terribly difficult to enhance hunting in Illinois and the expenditure would be trivial in comparison to the revenue it would generate for the state.
Turn pheasants loose, improve and increase habitat, provide feed plots, and watch the results.
Years ago the state used to have game preserves and "release areas" for pheasants on private land.
Most people that release pheasant or quail don't know how to do it. They do not aclimate the birds to the weather to develop proper oil on their feathers.
And, they release them too late in growth after they have lost some of their natural instinct against their enemies.
Six weeks is long enough to have them in captivity.
If'n a feather or two is missing from the head and/or back of the young birds, they will get pneumonia and die the first thundershower that comes along.
With no natural oil protecting their feathers, they fall victim to the weather as well.
Some say there are too many predators anymore to achieve results with game birds. But, if'n you travel to the Dakotas, you will spot just as many predators up there as you do in Illinois.
Turn loose these birds in mass and some will survive, but with birds, you'll get hunters-with hunters you'll bring more revenue into the state than it cost to release those birds. Use the tax revenue derived from gun and ammunition sales to finance and encourage farmers for habitat establishment.
Some farmers will cooperate and some won't. In all probability, "Mr. Short Britches with his hat on backwards," won't. Greed seems to limit him to anything that only fits his own selfish desires to accumulate wealth, power, and supposedly fame.
However, I believe there are enough of the other kind of farmers to make the program successful, just as it has been in the Dakotas for years and years.
Go up there and check it out for yourself. Use their successful program as a starter model for Illinois, with a few modifications.
Why ship that hunting revenue and income stream out of state? And, of course, with added revenue to the state, think of all the political projects that could be funded in Chicago once they get their hands on that money!
Come to think of it now it seems apparent why we don't have as much game in Illinois. The two legged varmints in the Chicago political machine don't want it!
I feel badly about Michael Butler's recent fire and loss of his grain dryer.
One thing about farming that my father always taught me and I have taught my children and grandchildren-it's a plain simple truth on how to handle hardship and disaster. To be a farmer you have to be able to take a good solid kick to the teeth and afterwards pick yourself up and smile with whatever snaggle tooth you have left. If'n you are not able to approach it in that manner, you might be better off locating a union job in town somewhere. Most farmers after a few years experience of farming, know that by and by, hardship is gonna come their way. The important thing is how do ya handle it and what's your attitude. I'm sure that Mike will pass the test in both those categories.
Keep on Smilin'
Catch you Later,