Illinois DNR News & Events for April

New License Year Begins: The new license year for Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsmen combination licenses began on April 1. Illinois licenses are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov, or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). By going online, license buyers can use American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa or E-Check and print the license or receipt. The system is available 24 hours a day. The 2011 annual licenses are valid through March 31, 2012 unless otherwise noted.

Resident Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Applications: Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply for the first lottery drawings for 2011 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader-only deer season permits through DNR Direct. Just click on the online services tab on the IDNR website home page at www.dnr.illinois.gov Application forms in PDF format are also available on the IDNR website at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/Pages/ResidentHunting.aspx The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only. The deadline to apply for the first lottery drawing for 2011 firearm deer permits and muzzleloader-only deer permits is April 29. Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries. The 2011 firearm seasons are Nov. 18-20 (first season) and Dec. 1-4 (second season). The 2011 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 9-11 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 1-4).

Youth Turkey Hunt: The 2011 Illinois spring youth wild turkey season closed with a preliminary harvest total of 745, compared with a harvest total of 737 in 2010. The south zone harvest this spring was 289, compared with 297 last year. The north zone harvest was 456 birds, compared with 440 wild turkeys taken by hunters in the north zone in 2010. The 2011 Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunt was conducted on March 26-27 in the south zone and April 2-3 in the north zone.

Safety Reminder: Mushroom collectors and other visitors to Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas and other IDNR-managed sites with spring turkey hunting programs in April and May are reminded that hunting areas are closed to activities other than turkey hunting from one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. daily during the spring turkey season. The turkey hunting area restrictions are in place for the safety of site visitors and hunters.

Mushrooms: No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, although collectors always need landowner permission and, on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting regulations and hours. Collection of mushrooms is allowed in many IDNR state parks and recreation areas, but it is prohibited in any area designated as a dedicated nature preserve. Areas under the jurisdiction of the IDNR that offer spring turkey hunting will not be open to mushroom collecting until after 1 p.m. daily to ensure the safety of all hunters. Turkey hunting restrictions will apply until the close of the wild turkey hunting seasons on May 5 in the south zone and May 12 in the north zone. Mushroom hunters are urged to call ahead to the state site they intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations regarding mushroom collecting.

Fish Status Reports: Fish species status reports for 2011 from the IDNR Division of Fisheries – on muskie, black bass, northern pike, walleye and sauger, catfish, and striped bass and hybrids – are available online on the www.ifishillinois.org website. You’ll find the reports at this link: http://www.ifishillinois.org/science/il_species_status_reports.html.

Free Fishing Days: The 2011 Illinois Free Fishing Days are scheduled for June 10-13. For more information on fishing in Illinois, check out the 2011 Illinois Fishing Information guide at http://www.ifishillinois.org/pdf/2011fishingguide.pdf.

Attention Boat Owners: Boat renewal notices reminding Illinois boat owners that their registration decals are due to expire on June 30, 2011 will be mailed the first week of May. Printing procurement issues have delayed the printing and mailing of these forms. Boat registration decals with an expiration date of June 30, 2014 have also been delayed. Any registration issued after January 1, 2011 with an expiration date of June 30, 2014 will be printed and mailed in mid-May. Boat owners are asked to carry their temporary permit (valid for 120 days) until they receive the registration decals. Boat titles are not affected by the delay and are being printed and mailed. For additional information on boat registration, check the IDNR website at this link: www.dnr.illinois.gov/boating.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman: The IDNR will host a weekend full of fun and adventurous activities for women interested in learning outdoors skills 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 and the cost is $200 per person. For registration and more information, go online to http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Bow/index.htm.

NASP State Championship: Congratulations to students from Armstrong High School for claiming the title in the National Archery in the Schools Program Illinois State Championship for 2011. The state finals event was held at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on March 19 with 375 students participating. Armstrong High, which placed second in the NASP World Tournament in October 2010, won the overall state title with a team total of 3,299 points.

Lewistown High School was runner-up in the grades 9-12 group, with Athens High School placing third. Armstrong-Ellis Grade School won the grades 7-8 group and finished third overall with 3,174 points. The top-scoring male was Chris Ogburn of Armstrong High with 288 points. The top-scoring female was Lauren Hawker of Armstrong High with 290 points. For more information on the National Archery in the Schools Program, go online to http://dnr.state.il.us/archery/.

INPC Meeting: The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will conduct its 208th meeting on Tues., May 3 at the National Great Rivers Museum, 2 Lock and Dam Way, Alton. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public. For more information, call (217) 785-8686.

ESPB Meeting: The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will meet on Fri., May 13 at 10 a.m. at the Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, 30239 South State Route 53, Wilmington. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone (217) 785-8687.

OutdoorIllinois: The cover of the April 2011 issue of the IDNR monthly magazine, OutdoorIllinois, features a pair of turkeys and foretells of the coming of spring and the opening of wild turkey hunting season. The featured site this month is Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, a site created in 1979, which continues today as a result of a partnership with Ameren Energy Resources. Additional stories include the Festival of the Bluffs in the Village of Valmeyer on May 14, the return of alligator gar to Illinois waters, Illinois’ new forestry report, The Feather Distribution project, the State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement project and more. For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at www.dnr.state.il.us/OI. 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 www.dnr.state.il.us/OI or call 1-800-720-3249 to subscribe. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For information on advertising in OutdoorIllinois, call (217) 785-8610 or e-mail michelle.silver@illinois.gov.

Wingshooting Clinics: The IDNR and participating partners sponsor wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois to help improve the shooting skills of participants. Youth/Women's clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm and hunter safety and the fundamentals of wingshooting. Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and provide sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics are conducted on weekends throughout the spring, summer and early fall. For a complete schedule, check the webpage at this link: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/wingshootinghome.htm Upcoming clinics (and information phone numbers) include:
  • April 9-10 – Hunter Wingshooting Clinic, Jim Edgar, Panther Creek SFWA (Cass Co.), (217) 452-7741
  • April 30-May 1 – Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Moraine View SRA (McLean Co.), (309) 724-8032
  • May 14-15 – Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Des Plaines SFWA (Will Co.), (217) 785-8129
  • May 21-22 – Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, World Shooting and Recreational Complex (Randolph Co.), (618) 295-2700 ext. 1
  • June 4-5 – Hunter Wingshooting Clinic, Des Plaines, SFWA (Will Co.), (217) 785-8129
  • June 11 – Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA (Cass Co.), (217) 452-7741
  • June 18-19 – Hunter Wingshooting Clinic, Briar Knoll Hunting and Fishing Club (Lee Co.), (815) 857-2320
  • June 25-26 – Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, St., Charles Sportsmen’s Club (Kane Co.), (630) 363-6180

Earth Smart: The Illinois State Museum in Springfield welcomes children to the museum on Sat., April 9 for a celebration of Earth Day. The museum’s ‘Super Saturdays’ event will help youngsters learn how to be ‘Earth Smart’ by creating Earth-friendly crafts while learning to save money and resources. Activities are scheduled from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. For more information, phone (217) 782-6044. The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex at 502 S. Spring, Springfield.

ISM Science Series: ‘Navigating the Illinois River: Archaeology, History and Natural History’ is the topic of the next Illinois State Museum Science Series program at the ISM Research and Collections Center in Springfield on Wed., April 13 at 7 p.m. Presented by Dr. Michael Wiant, Illinois State Museum-Dickson Mounds Museum director, the program will focus on geological, archaeological, historical and natural history sites in the Upper Illinois River Valley. For more information, phone (217) 782-0061. The ISM Research and Collections Center is located at 1011 E. Ash, Springfield.

Volunteers: Interested in volunteering at an IDNR site or on an IDNR project? Sign up to be part of the IDNR Volunteer Network. See the IDNR website for more details at: http://www.dnr.state.il.us/volunteer/index.htm.

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 http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/about/Pages/SocialNetworking.aspx.