Category Archives: Past Events

WCI Branch Meeting and Property Tour

Branch Committee members, David and Becky Olson graciously hosted the May 5th meeting at their home, located in the Cambridge/Andover, IL area. A pizza dinner, beverages and refreshments were supplied by the Branch, and Becky prepared and served a delicious rhubarb desert. Everyone had a chance to do some catching up, while enjoying a beautiful evening on the Olson’s back deck, and attendees discussed Branch business and plans for upcoming events. Notably, the Academic Scholarship Committee will be selecting a recipient for this year’s scholarship award, very soon, and it was announced that this year’s REACH Banquet will be held on August 25th, at the Big Red Barn (New Windsor, IL). Banquet planning will be conducted over the course of the summer, with meetings becoming increasingly more frequent, as the date approaches.

The Olson’s home is located one of the most diverse and beautiful woodlots in Henry County, IL. David’s father, a District Forester, managed the woodland, primarily, for timber production. David and Becky’s interest is primarily in optimizing the wildlife value of the property, for their viewing enjoyment and enhanced hunting opportunities, while at the same time creating enhanced timber value. Over the past 20 or so years, they’ve done a tremendous amount of work to carry on where David’s father left off, and it really shows when you take a tour of the property!

Our tour started with a look at the Olson’s target ranges. A wooden shooting bench marks the beginning of a 100yd rifle range, and a short distance away, tucked into a grove of white pines and spruce trees, is a multi-station archery range complete with several 3D targets and Blob Archery Targets (of which David is a dealer. As we leave the conifer grove, we entered a clearing that is in the early stages of regeneration, with a few years worth of plantings, including; Concolor Fir, various oak species, Chinese Chestnut, American Plum, Hazelnut, and Red Osier Dogwood. David explained that he’s converting the area into a diverse thicket that’s both a staging area and travel corridor for deer, as they move between an adjacent food plot and bedding area. Further down the trail, we find the first of several very nice clover plots, next to a shallow water wetland that the Olson’s created. We took a quick peek at the view from a handcrafted tower blind that overlooks the area, before moving on across the dam of the pond. Beyond the wetland, a logging road traverses the woodland, alongside a year-round creek. David pointed out a string of tulip poplars and bald cypress trees that his dad planted as “whips”, decades ago. He states that the current IDNR Forester recommended cutting the poplar, but he ‘wouldn’t cut them if they were worth a million dollars’. It’s evident to all of us that his ties to this land run deep. Before the end of the tour, David pointed out trees from which he’d harvested several of his largest deer (and there have been some dandies!), and a spot along the trail where he recently took a nice tom turkey. We, also, pass through an impressive grove of black walnuts before making it back to the homestead, at dusk.

The next Branch Committee meeting is being planned for early June and will hosted on a member’s property, to include a tour of more habitat improvements! The Branch is committed to providing opportunities for members and newcomers to meet like-minded people, and learn about habitat, food plots, and QDM from our property tour hosts and Branch Committee. So, we’re always scouting for new sites to host these gatherings on. Watch for our upcoming meeting schedule and make plans to attend the next one! Everyone is encouraged to join us, so bring along a friend.

Group Fruit Tree Buy

It is time to be thinking about, and planning, our habitat projects for the upcoming year, and once again the West Central Illinois Branch of the QDMA is hosting a group fruit tree buy. We are working again with Morse Nursery, who has made their entire catalog available for the group buy. (You may find their catalog here.)

All merchandise is priced according to the Morse Nursery catalog and we are eligible for all price breaks listed. Shipping will be set at the best rate possible, and will be paid proportionately by the orders placed.

Orders need to be in on or before March 9, 2012, and please use the downloadable order form and return to us at habitat@wciqdma.com or tjsonske@gmail.com or print the form, fill it out, and mail to Fruit Trees c/o WCI-QDMA P.O.Box 146, Joy, IL 61260. Delivery will be set for early-mid April for best planting dates and times for this area.

Last year, we had very good luck with the orders we placed and are looking forward to another successful order. Getting fruit trees and soft mass into your habitat plans is a major step you can take to help out your wildlife and make a serious statement about your habitat goals.

If you have any questions, please contact Tom Peterson at 309.912.0329, or Steve Hood at 309.756.8350. You may also contact us via email at habitat@wciqdma.com.

Living Lands & Waters Million Tree Program

As a way of assisting QDMA members in their efforts to improve wildlife habitat on lands that they hunt and manage, the WCI Branch is, again, participating in the Living Lands & Waters Million Tree Program.  Through this program, WCI QDMA has been able to place large bulk orders, on the behalf of our members, and has dispersed more than 8,500 saplings, FREE OF COST, to the public, over the past 3 years!  Anyone can get these free trees.  Simply download the Branch’s “FREE Tree Order Form” and email the completed form to habitat@wciqdma.com.  Typical orders sizes for individuals range from 10 trees of various species, to 200 of each species.  Quantities of each species available may vary, so place your order early, and if you have any questions about what you’d like to order, just email to the above address.

Let’s support the mission that this terrific program has set forth to accomplish, and restore the natural diversity that our watersheds once had!  Species available in 2012, include: Bur Oak, White Oak, Red Oak, Black Oak, Pin Oak, Swamp Chestnut Oak, and Shagbark Hickory. For information about, and sites preferred by, each of the species being offered, Click Here!

WCI Branch QDMA Cookout

Hi everybody!

We’re getting everyone together, one last time, before the season opens! You’re invited to the WCI Branch QDMA Cookout that’s happening, this Sunday (September 25th), at the Olson’s Farm, near Andover, IL.  It will be a lot of fun, and we’d really love to have all of you there!  The Olson’s have a great archery range set up, so bring your bows, and we’ll be having a little shootoff for some prizes from the Branch’s vault.;)Your encouraged to grab a few fellow whitetail lovers, and round-up the kids to bring to this event!  We are hoping to see some new faces, and have a great time.  Please pass this along to those that you think would enjoy meeting the member of the WCI Branch, and taking a property tour, to see some tremendous quality habitat.

This will be a good time for us all to relax, and get to know everyone better.  Talk about the upcoming season with friends, and share some trailcam pics, if you’ve got ‘em.

This is a potluck, so please bring a dish to pass, if you are able. (Don’t sweat it, if you can’t manage.  There’s sure to be plenty.)  See the attachment for full details, and directions!

Hope to see you there, and, if not, we hope you have a memorable season!

Chase Burns
President, West Central Illinois Branch QDMA

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