Dan D. Outdoors

by Dan Dauw columnist
Dan D. Outdoors


I’m sorry this is late, but better late then never! The Illinois Conservation Foundation has four scholarships of $2,000.00 each for available high school seniors that are going to college is Fall, 2021. There is little time on this as the deadline is March 1, 2021. Information can be found at this link: https://ilconservation.org/What-We-Do/Scholarships

Careful on Ice

From this day forward, if you’re an ice angler, ice will start to slowly weaken. There is some truth about the old saying, “First ice and last ice are the best for ice fishing.” I’m no meteorologist, but I do know that Mother Nature starts warming up the temps slowly, but surely, in early March. Years ago, I fell through the ice and it is not a fun thing to do. Luckily, I was close to shore, but it ended my hopes for a fun day of ice fishing. One time Vic Bianchetta and I were ice fishing on Shabbona Lake. We were on safe ice and decided to try a different place. Vic started to drill a hole and we found ourselves on about 1 inch of ice. You never saw two fishermen move so fast to where we were safe. Besides warmer temperatures, current and underwater springs can also weaken ice. If you should fall through the ice, take a selfie as you’re going down so we can show others of the danger. Leave your phone on the ice. I’m always looking for photos for this column!!!

Cover Crops

There apparently are many advantages for farmers to plant cover crops. Cover crops revitalize the soil, suppresses weeds, plus helps control harmful pests and diseases. They also pump back nutrients into the soil. It is good for our environment as it decreases the need for possible harmful contaminates that can wash into streams, rivers and eventually, oceans. According to the Izaak Walton League, The Illinois Department of Agriculture program, which mimics a similar program started In Iowa two years ago, allows eligible farmers a $5 discount on their following year’s crop Insurance premium for every acre planted with cover crops. The other day I talked with “Gunslinger,” a Geneseo farmer, and he thinks it is a good program and may himself go that route. I say, if it helps the environment and our farmers, go for it!

WW2 Odd Events

This is just one of many strange stories WW2 journalist, Ernie Pyle, wrote in his book, “Brave Men.” During WW2, an American infantry soldier, Tommy Clayton, was being shot at by the enemy. He ran for his life and jumped into a fox hole. He quickly found it was occupied by a German soldier pointing an MP40 machine pistol at him. Clayton’s rifle also happened to be pointing at the German. Clayton shot first only to find that the German soldier was already dead. Sadly, three weeks later, Clayton was killed.

In the book, “The WW2 Trivia,” by Bill O’Neill, it tells about a WW2 British soldier, “Jack” Churchill. No relation to “Winston.” He actually killed enemy soldiers with a bow and arrow. His last victims happened during the Battle of Dunkirk.

For the Birds

One item that we have purchased more of this winter is bird seed. With all the snow cover, it’s been tough for our feathered friends. Two weeks ago, I spent an hour or so writing down what species regularly frequent our feeder. We had a dozen bird species. The biggest problem are the squirrels. Lorna went on the internet and ordered an environmentally safe product called, “Squirrel MACE.” We’ll have to see how that works. I thought about using miniature land mines, a guillotine, 220 volt electric fence, and/or renting one of the tanks on the Arsenal. Lorna said we’ll just go with what she ordered.


It would take over 150 million years to drive the family van around the sun. I can just imagine the kids in the back seat asking, “Are we there yet?” The Egyptian pharaoh Ramses II had 111 sons and 67 daughters. When did he have time to rule? Sixty-six percent of we Americans read in the bathroom. For comfort I’ll take our Lazy Boy over the throne. For reading, that is!