Last Saturday, I finally got around to renewing my concealed carry permit. There is a four-hour course that is mandatory for renewal. I found out that some of the rules have changed, and it's very advisable to keep abreast of them.
There is a fee to renew — one for the instructors and the other for the state of Illinois. Both are manageable. The instructors were very knowledgeable, and after each portion of the course, they opened up for questions and comments.
You will be required to shoot at a three-position range for about 21 shots. If you need practice, now is the time to do it. Don’t wait to do it the day before the class. The targets are large, and ranges are somewhat close, but still you should practice and become familiar with your firearm. This is a handgun class, and you should bring your own.
You will be made aware of the new rules, and in addition there is a video instructing you in the use of deadly force. Pay very careful attention to this part of the class, as there are very stringent laws that cover the use of deadly force.
Jerry and Annie Sommer are the instructors at STR8 SHOT. They have been active in concealed carry classes for many years.
You will need to call for an appointment, 815-228-1292. Most of the classes are held on a Saturday in the Mazon area. They will provide direction to the facility.
One thing that is very important. Don’t wait until your FOID, Firearms Owners Identification Card or Concealed Carry permits expire. This can create a lot of problems including you may have to start all over again to receive these documents. It's very important to renew well in advance of your expiration date.
The La Salle County Pheasants Forever Annual Banquet will be held on March 14. This will be held at the Pitstick Pavilion. I will report on times and hours in the next few columns.
Don’t forget the 50th Anniversary Open House at Bedford Sales in Morris. This event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15, and Sunday, Fe. 16. If you want to see all of the new fishing equipment and boats, this is the one. In addition, there will be many pros to chat with: Dan Hampton, Forest Wood, Edwin Evers, Jason Przekurat and Jim Saric. The address is 879 Bedford Road in Morris, right off of Route 6. There are always refreshments.
River systems have almost returned to normal. The fishing has also improved. Walleye and sauger can be found in the deepest holes in the system. So far, lead head jigs with live minnows have been the best presentation for these fish. Whether you want to troll or slip downstream, you must fish very slowly. The water temps are in the mid-30s, and the fish have very lethargic metabolisms.
Hope to see many of you on the water. Pray for dry weather.