BRCPres wrote:Grew up in IL so I still hunt it pretty regularly from Peoria all the way down to the southern tip. Fish it too. East TN has virtually NO duck migration, so I need to go somewhere, and I know IL.
Banner is hit or miss most of the time. We did pretty good last year with Gads, BWT, an occasional goose, and yes, Spoonies. We get some redheads from time-to-time too. Mallards were very late last year and the freeze got us.
threedogs wrote: wrote:One word, Inflatable decoys......
DanJeffandJack wrote:I just drink beer and crush box.
That's how I remain the physical specimen that I am.
sgtmac1 wrote:More information on hunting at Banner Marsh. Most blinds at BM are accessible by foot although some have more than a mile walk, and these blinds have boats provided by the state at the blind locations(some of them have unusable oarlocks). Several blinds are only accessible by personal boat and some of the walk in blinds are easier to get to if you have your own boat. Water levels change year to year-have decoys with long cords of 15 to 20 feet or you can borrow bags of decoys at the check station. The southwest corner doesn't do as well as the south east corner, in my opinion. As far as walking in goes, a deer cart or 4 wheel utility cart that will hold a couple of bags of decoys and your other gear will be manageable, carrying everything on your back will give you a real good workout(sweating your rear end off and then sitting in a cold blind for hours is not good). It is usually not a good idea to put decoys out in waders as the varying water levels may get you soaked-one blind has 25 foot water in front of it. The hunting can be great or poor, but because of the blind drawings every day, you rarely get to the same blind two days in a row. It will cost you $10 per hunter-up to 4 in a blind-although some blinds seem awfully cramped for 4 hunters. Blind 26 is reserved for handicapped hunters if they have one as a permit holder and is very spacious for wheel chair hunting. It is hard to say which blinds are better but 20, 18, 23, and 13 seem to do pretty well. Blinds near these also can have their good days. Rice Lake hunting area is a few miles away and draws a hundred hunters for a chance at the draw(they also get twice as many ducks) while Banner doesn't always fill all of their blinds especially during the week. Hunting when the water first starts to freeze seems to be the best as more ducks seem to be moving into the area just ahead of the cold. There have been many days of sitting and watching the blackbirds but others when you wonder if you brought enough shells. Banner is only 20 minutes away from my home vs. up to an hour for some of the more productive areas(Woodford, Emiquon, Spring Lake, Rice Lake, etc.) but you can hunt by yourself if you want more out of the hunting experience than just pulling the trigger. Permits for Banner Marsh can be had by mail or telephone at the Illinois DNR website. Each permit allows you to bring 3 hunters with you on your designated day so 4 buddies can get up to 16 days at BM. I like Banner because it's close, there is a reasonable chance that I can get some shots, and I don't have to fight the huge crowds at the other state sites. Good luck!
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