Illinois Department of Natural Resources March Newsbits

Highlighting IDNR programs and events for the month of March

Spring Turkey Permits:  Random daily drawings for 2011 Illinois spring wild turkey hunting permits begin March 9.  For more information, go to the spring turkey hunting page on the IDNR website at

The dates for the 2011 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season:
2011 Northern Zone Season Dates
  • 1st Season – Mon., April.11 - Fri., April 15
  • 2nd Season – Sat., April 16 - Thur., April 21
  • 3rd Season – Fri., April 22 - Wed. April 27
  • 4th Season – Thur., April 28 - Wed., May 4
  • 5th Season – Thur., May 5 - Thur., May 12

2011 Southern Zone Season Dates
  • 1st Season – Mon., April 4 - Fri., April 8
  • 2nd Season – Sat., April 9 - Thur., April 14
  • 3rd Season – Fri., April 15 - Wed., April 20
  • 4th Season – Thur., April 21 - Wed., April 27
  • 5th Season – Thur., April 28 - Thur., May 5

Permits issued from the third lottery for the 2011 Spring Wild Turkey Season were printed with incorrect season dates.  In addition, some of those permits were printed without the county hunting area.  The hunting information sheet included with those permits does have the correct season dates.  A postcard will be mailed to each hunter receiving permits from the third lottery indicating the county and correct season dates.

2011 Resident Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunt: Over-the-counter sales of county permits for the Resident Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season began on March 1.  The dates for the 2011 Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season are March 26-27 in the Southern Zone and April 2-3 in the Northern Zone.  For permit application and other information, check the IDNR website at

2011 License Year Begins April 1:  The new license year for Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsmen combination licenses begins April 1.  Those licenses are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at, or by calling (888) 6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648).  DNR Direct makes buying licenses, habitat stamps and waterfowl stamps convenient and easy.  By going online, license buyers can use American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa or E-Check and print their own license or receipt. Best of all, the system is available 24 hours a day. The 2011 annual licenses are valid through March 31, 2012, unless otherwise noted.

Safety Education:  Now’s the time to begin planning for the 2011 hunting and boating seasons in Illinois by checking the schedule of IDNR hunter safety education and boating safety education courses. There are lots of hunter safety classes scheduled in March prior to the upcoming spring turkey season. Classes fill up quickly, so check the IDNR website for scheduled classes (more are being added each week).  The web link for IDNR safety education courses is

Online Services:  How do you apply for a permit, buy a license, buy a deer pin, renew a boat registration, report a road kill deer or reserve a campsite in Illinois?  Just click on the IDNR website at and follow the links on the “How Do I...?” list on the homepage.

Live Eagle Cam:  Pere Marquette State Park, in cooperation with the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge, Grafton Technologies, Inc., the Friends of Pere Marquette State Park Foundation and other local supporters, has installed a camera on an active bald eagle nest near the park in Jersey County.  The nest is approximately 17 years old and measures 6 feet across, 2.5 feet deep and nearly 100 feet above ground.  The pair of eagles at the nest laid their first egg Feb. 22.  Two days later, a second egg was laid.  The video feed has shown the eagles preparing the nest and now residing over the eggs full time.  Hatch is expected around March 29. The live image of the nest can be viewed at the Pere Marquette Visitor Center, Mon. through Sat. from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Sun. from 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m.   The eagle nest is located within the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.

Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame:  Tickets are available for the Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet on Sat., March 26 at Drury Lane in Oakbrook Terrace. The Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame inductees are Dr. Thomas C. Dunstan, Dr. David Kenney, Bob Long, Jr. and Ed Mullady.  Proceeds from the annual banquet assist in funding the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Youth Achievement Scholarship program and other ICF initiatives benefitting outdoor recreation and natural resources protection.  For reservations or more information, contact the Illinois Conservation Foundation at (217) 785-2003 or

OutdoorIllinois:  For the latest news about Illinois’ natural resources, pick up the March 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois, the IDNR monthly magazine. Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Illinois Big Buck Recognition Program, this popular annual story highlights recent additions to a database documenting Illinois’ fame for white-tailed bucks.  The March issue also contains stories on the new Coastal Management Program, Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge, the IDNR Urban Fishing Program and three rare Illinois animals, the state-threatened Illinois chorus frog, loggerhead and northern shrikes.  For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at OutdoorIllinois is a great tool for learning about Illinois’ natural, cultural and recreational resources and a bargain at only $15 for a one-year, 12-issue magazine subscription that includes an information-packed annual calendar in the December issue.  Visit or call (800) 720-3249 to subscribe. VISA and MasterCard are accepted.  For information on advertising in OutdoorIllinois, call (217) 785-8610 or e-mail

Free Fishing Days:  Mark your calendars for the 2011 Illinois Free Fishing Days on June 10-13.  For more information on fishing in Illinois, check out the 2011 Illinois Fishing Information guide at

Junior Collector’s Day:  The Illinois State Museum will host the 13th  annual Junior Collectors Day on Sat., March 12.  Collectors between the ages of 8 and 15 are encouraged to share their collection with others and learn techniques for keeping their collection in excellent shape.  Display spaces are available, by application, at no charge.  Examples of previous displays include rocks and minerals, fossils, foreign coins, shoes, sports cards, dolls and many others.  The public is invited to the museum to see the collections on display.  The event is free.  The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield.

Super Saturday:  The Illinois State Museum will celebrate the rich history of the museum’s “A Place for Discovery” gallery on March 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of the “Super Saturdays” series at the ISM, located at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield. “A Place for Discovery” will be open through March 20.  For more information, call the ISM at (217) 782-7386 or check the museum webpage at

Play Museum:  The Illinois State Museum in Springfield will open its new Play Museum, a hands-on children’s gallery, on Sat., March 26 with a grand opening celebration from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  The new, kid-friendly Play Museum is designed for children ages 3-11.  Children will learn through play what it is like to work at a museum. In the Play Museum, children can excavate Mastodont bones, load a Jeep for an expedition, crawl through a cave, touch animal skulls, frame and display art, and much more. For more details, call (217) 782-7386 or visit

Call for Artists:  Illinois artists are invited to submit applications to the Illinois State Museum Artisans Program.  All areas of arts and crafts, including folk, traditional, contemporary, ethnic and country, as well as fine art forms are sought.  The mission of the Illinois Artisans Program is to bring national and statewide recognition to the rich heritage of fine crafts in Illinois.  Artists are required to submit an application, 6-10 digital images, artist statement, resume, a self-addressed stamped envelope, and a $25 application fee made out to IAP.  The deadlines are March 28, 2011 and Sept. 12, 2011. For more information and an application visit or send a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Illinois Artisans Program, James R. Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph, Suite 2-200, Chicago, IL 60601.

Visit IDNR at 2011 Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic at Peoria Civic Center:  The IDNR will welcome visitors to the 2011 Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic in Peoria on March 25-27 at the Peoria Civic Center. Stop by booths 1211-1215 to buy 2011 Illinois hunting, fishing and sportsmen’s licenses; have FOID card application photos taken; pick up the latest Illinois deer, turkey and morel pins; talk to IDNR biologists about hunting and fishing in Illinois; and talk to IDNR Conservation Police officers about hunting regulations and hunting safety.  The new Illinois license year begins April 1, so take advantage of your visit to the Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic to get your new licenses.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman:  The Illinois DNR will host a weekend full of fun and adventurous activities for women interested in learning outdoors skills on June 10-12 during the annual Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop.  Instructors provide hands-on experience in a safe, non-competitive atmosphere for women interested in learning more about a full range of outdoors activities, including fishing, horseback riding, firearm safety, kayaking, basket making and outdoors survival.  The BOW workshop is June 10-12 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon.  The cost is $200 per person.  For registration and more information, visit

Follow the IDNR:  Keep up to date with events and information on outdoor recreation and natural resources in Illinois through IDNR postings on Facebook and Twitter.  Find us at