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The Associated Press reported a federal study says Lake Erie and some rivers flowing into it would offer ideal habitat for unwanted Asian carp. The U.S. Geological Survey says the Maumee, Sandusky and Grand rivers have temperatures and water flows suitable for spawning by silver and bighead carp.

Both species have been advancing toward the Great Lakes for years after escaping into the Mississippi River and its tributaries from Deep South fish farms and sewage lagoons.

They infest the Illinois River. Ongoing studies are looking at what impacts, if any, their presence have on other fish species. Electric barriers have been installed among other measures to halt their progress to Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways.

Hunting indictment

Kelly G. Jackson, 53, East Dubuque, faces charges in JoDaviess County after he fired a fatal shot that killed John Hanlon of Inverness while hunting. The same shot wounded Hanlon's juvenile son.

Authorities said all three were firearm deer hunters, but not hunting together when Jackson fired before legal light. He faces charges of involuntary manslaughter punishable by two to five years in prison and $25,000 in fines. He also faces the lesser charge of reckless conduct. Jackson also was issued citations by the Illinois Conservation Police for deer hunting prior to legal hunting hours and unlawful possession of a loaded shotgun prior to legal deer hunting hours.

Authorities said the shot from his 12-gauge was fired about 5:30 a.m., about an hour before deer hunting was allowed.

Wolves off limits

In case you were wondering, wolves are still protected by Illinois law despite recent changes in their status made at the federal level.

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The feds removed federal Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves within the Western Great Lakes Distinct Population Segment, which includes all counties north of Interstate 80 in Illinois. The action was taken because wolves have exceeded recovery goals in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Those states and tribes within those states are now responsible for wolf management.

But wolves are still listed as "state-threatened" and warrant protection throughout Illinois. That means hunters cannot take or possess wolves anywhere in Illinois. Wolves also remain protected as "endangered" under the Federal Endangered Species Act south of Interstate 80.

Illinois hunters and others in Illinois have seen wolves in the state, including a wolf struck by a car in McHenry County near Chain O'Lakes State Park in 2005. Authorities say the potential for range expansion from the north will continue as long as habitat and food sources are available. Though unlikely, if you see a wolf, call IDNR at 217-782-6302. Wolves look similar to coyotes but are taller, heavier and have other characteristics that set them apart. Visit www.fws.gov/

midwest/wolf/aboutwolves/index.htm#biology for more information.

Mountain lion

The Missouri Department of Conservation measured and released a young male mountain lion in Reynolds County not long ago. The 122-pound cougar turned up in a live trap on national forest land.

The discovery is the latest of several confirmed mountain lion sightings in the Midwest, including Illinois, during recent years. Biologists say the animals are dispersing from populations in the east and west as they become more numerous.

Scott Richardson is Pantagraph outdoor editor. Contact him at 309-820-3227 or email srichardson@pantagraph.com. Share stories and read past outdoor and fishing columns at www.pantagraph.com/blogs.

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