WEDNESDAY, OCT. 25, 2006
I ran into a flock of the rarest variety Tuesday: happy duck hunters. After spending a morning hunting with Dave Mallery at his 40-acre inholding in the Hennepin-Hopper drainage district (we shot just one teal; cloudy, windy days are best for him), we toured a few local clubs. Everywhere I went, I met duck hunters praising the state for changing the boundary line between the North and Central zones. That line dictates when duck and goose seasons start and close. This year, the DNR decided to move hunters north of Henry into the North Zone. As a result, many of the approximately 40 clubs from Spring Valley to Henry had their season dates changedfor the better according to most.
Among the happiest is Jerry Boekeloo, who runs the Mallard Duck Club on the west side of the Illinois River, quite near the big bend at Hennepin. Through four days of the season, hunters at Boekeloos club had shot more than 900 ducks. Thats the best start theyve had in years. Tuesday afternoon when I stopped by with Mallery, everybody was laughing and smiling. Thats easy to do when duck season starts wellas it promises to do here in the Central Zone on Saturday. Ill have more details on the scene in the North Zone this Sunday. Until then, heres a picture of Boekeloo (left) and Carmi Miller, who owns the property the club sits on.
The Mallard Duck Club is really a gorgeous club, with lots of flooded timber holes and flooded corn mixed in with all those trees. Lots of ducks, too. Funny thing is, when the Illinois Natural History Survey does their aerial surveys, they seldom count all the ducks loaded into Boekeloos timber. They cant see them, he explained. And power lines overhead make it tough to fly low to get a good count. Thats OK with club members here and at the Princeton Game and Fish Club (whose ancient clubhouse is located just north of Boekeloos). Theyd rather shoot their ducks quietly than have a lot of attention and notoriety. And they sure like being in the North Zone so far.