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This week’s field notes

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DALE’S MAILBAG

Q: Tempura perch — try using vodka instead of water when mixing the batter. Water tends to quickly turn the batter gooey, but vodka keeps it light and airy. The alcohol burns off, and there is no ‘‘boozy’’ taste. . . . Fish batter — try using lemon-lime soda to mix batter. Imparts a subtle tart taste without the need to serve lemon wedges.’’ —Jerry Pabst

A: Pabst, one of my mentors in the outdoors, also sent several game ideas in response to my food column last Sunday. I will save them for another day.

Updated: November 24, 2011 12:25AM



BUCK OF WEEK: UNPLUGGED

Richard Lynch sent this photo of a buck munching on watermelon at Peterson and Pulaski on the Northwest Side on Sept. 7. I hesitated because feeding deer is illegal, and I assume the watermelon didn’t grow there. E-mail nominations for BOTW: Unplugged, the weekly celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors, to straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

PLACES AND FACES

I pray the best for Mike Jackson as he recovers from successful cancer surgery. He continues to write his weekly outdoors column for the Daily Herald and do his radio show from 6 to 7 a.m. Sundays on 1240-AM and 1470-AM.

NATIONAL HUNTING AND FISHING DAYS

The northern Illinois celebration (nihfd.org) is at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Yorkville. The southern celebration (sihfd.org) is at John A. Logan Community College in Carterville.

WILD TIMES

FISH GATHERING

Tuesday: Fall fishing techniques, Arlington Anglers Fishing Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Schaumburg, 7 p.m., arlingtonanglers.com.

DUCKS UNLIMITED BANQUETS

Thursday: Lake Forest Area, Onwentisa Country Club, Lake Forest, Contact Brad Simmons at (847) 530-5209. . . . Barrington Area 1D (dubarringtonil.org), The Onion Pub and Brewery, Lake Barrington. Contact Scott Hilpert at (847) 471-1735 or Kevin Coleman at (224)
355-8378.

BIG NUMBER : 20-9

Pounds-ounces of the Illinois-record coho salmon caught by Carry VandeVusse from Lake County waters of Lake Michigan on May 24, 1972. There have been some big coho caught this year, but not near that.

THE LAST WORD

“After the better part of a decade of fantastic pheasant numbers in the Midwest — bird numbers aided by a strong Conservation Reserve Program — pheasant hunters will be finding fewer ringnecks during the 2011-2012 pheasant hunting season. Tough weather, from drought in Kansas to hard winters in the Dakotas, did its fair share to hurt pheasant populations, but it’s the 5 million fewer CRP acres than there were just four years ago that made sure pheasant numbers were bound to decrease, which they did in every major pheasant-producing state.’’ ~ Pheasants Forever, in its annual Pheasant Hunting Forecast, in advocating for stronger conservation programs in the upcoming Farm Bill



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