2013 Illinois Licenses: 2013 Illinois hunting, fishing and sportsman’s combination licenses are required as of April 1. The 2013 licenses are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/Pages/default.aspx or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2013 licenses are valid through Mar. 31, 2014 unless otherwise noted.
Apply Now for Resident Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits: Resident deer hunters in Illinois can apply online now through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2013 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 www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer. The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only. Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries. The 2013 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 22-24 (first season) and Dec. 5-8 (second season). The 2013 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 13-15 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 5-8).
Powerton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Tazewell County: The IDNR has been informed by Powerton Lake owner, Midwest Generation that due to snow events and wet conditions over the winter the current levee tree removal project time needs to be extended. Midwest Generation has asked that Powerton Lake be closed to all public access through May 2, 2013. Powerton Lake is now scheduled to open for public use at 6:00 a.m. on Friday, May 3, 2013. Should the necessary levee maintenance and repairs be complete ahead of schedule, the lake could potentially open sooner.
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/collectors. Restrictions will apply until the close of the wild turkey hunting seasons on May 9 in the Southern Zone and May 16 in the Northern 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.
Spring Trout Season Opens April 6: The 2013 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. No trout may be taken prior to the April 6 opener. To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. For more details, including the list of locations stocked for the spring catchable trout program, check the IDNR Spring Trout news release available online at www.dnr.illinois.gov/news or www.ifishillinois.org.
Mark Your Calendars for Free Fishing Days: The 2013 Illinois Free Fishing Days will be June 7-10. For more information on fishing in Illinois, click on: www.dnr.illinois.gov or www.ifishillinois.org.
Hunter and Boating Safety Education: Check the schedule online and sign up now for 2013 Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety.
Camping Reservations: Now’s the time to make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com using a Visa or MasterCard. For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/camping/camprsvp.htm
Donate Now to ICF: When buying your 2013 Illinois hunting, fishing, or sportsman’s license, add a donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support youth hunting and fishing programs. Your additional $5.00 donation to the ICF will help recruit the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. Since 2008, those buying their hunting, fishing, and sportsman’s licenses have donated more than $435,000 to support youth hunting and fishing programs by adding a donation to the ICF. Please join them, or donate anytime to the Illinois Conservation Foundation at www.ilcf.org. (The ICF is an IRS-registered 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit corporation and all funds are held in private accounts).
Living with Wildlife in Illinois: Spring and summer bring a variety of human/wildlife interactions – and occasional conflicts. The Living with Wildlife in Illinois website can be a helpful resource for Illinoisans. The website link is http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/. It includes information on how to prevent wildlife damage, native wildlife in the state, and contact information for IDNR wildlife staff, Conservation Police, and nuisance wildlife removal.
IDNR does not lend traps or remove wildlife from properties. Individuals in need of having wildlife removed can find a list of IDNR-licensed nuisance wildlife control operators through the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website. These operators will remove nuisance animals from property or buildings, usually for a fee.
Register for 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, wingshooting fundamentals, as well as practical wingshooting. Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and impart sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics are conducted on many weekends throughout the spring, summer and fall through late October. For a complete schedule, check the IDNR webpage at: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/WingshootingDates.htm
Science Series on April 10: The Ill. St. Museum’s monthly science series program for April – to be held in the Thorne Deuel Auditorium at the Museum – is Between Two Rivers, a documentary film about Cairo, Illinois. Cairo’s tumultuous past is cast against the latest crisis to afflict the community: the record-breaking floods of the spring of 2011, when the rising Ohio and Mississippi Rivers threatened to destroy the town, forcing an emergency evacuation. The documentary was filmed, edited, and directed by Jacob Cartwright and Nick Jordan. Following the film, there will be a brief question and answer period. Admission is free, but tickets must be picked up in the lobby of the Museum the evening of the program as seating is limited to 180. For more information, phone 217-782-0061. The program is on Wed., April 10 at 7 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring, Springfield.
Super Saturdays: The Illinois State Museum in Springfield hosts the monthly ‘Super Saturdays’ event for April on ‘Wildlife in Danger’ on Sat., April 13 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. The event is free, with activities recommended for children ages 4-8. The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield at 502 S. Spring. For more information, phone 217-782-6044.
Earth Day – Recycle: Join the Illinois State Museum for a Recycled Play Day in honor of Earth Day. This family event is on Sat., April 20 from 1-3 p.m. Families can help construct and decorate a giant playhouse out of repurposed cardboard and other materials. The playhouse will be available for Museum visitors to play in through Earth Day on Monday, April 22. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, phone 217-782-5993. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring, Springfield.
Archaeology Event at Dickson Mounds: Youth can be an archaeologist for a day at the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown on Sat., April 13 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Dickson Mounds is hosting the event for kids ages 9-16. Youth will work side by side with professional archaeologists and learn excavation and artifact identification techniques, and how to process finds. The program will begin with hands-on preparatory activities indoors, and then (weather permitting) will be held outdoors for the afternoon.
The program fee is $2 for Illinois State Museum Society members and $4 for non-members per child. Registration is required with a deadline of Friday, April 5, 2013. Space is limited; each participant is required to provide his/her own sack lunch, drink, and snacks, and must dress appropriately for the weather and outdoor work. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are encouraged to participate. For more information, phone 309-547-3721.
Mother Earth Day: Make plans to visit the Dickson Mounds Museum in Lewistown on Sun., April 21 for the Mother Earth Day event from 1-3 p.m. Visitors can celebrate Earth Day with a variety of activities, including nature hikes, storytelling, and other hands-on scientific demonstrations. This event is co-sponsored by the Emiquon Partnership: Dickson Mounds Museum, The Nature Conservancy, UIS Therkildsen Field Station, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. It is free and open to the public. For more information, phone 309-547-3721.
ICF Banquet: Join the Illinois Conservation Foundation on Sat., May 4 at 5:30 p.m. for the annual Peoria-area Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame Fundraiser. The event will again be held at the Stoney Creek Inn, 101 Mariners Way, East Peoria. Join the ICF and supporters from throughout the state for dinner and a chance to win door prizes and a great selection of auction items including hunts, outdoor recreation gear, and youth and ladies’ items. Tickets are $45 per person in advance, $60 per person at the door, with tables of 10 for $425. For tickets or more information, phone 217-785-2003 or check the ICF website at www.ilcf.org.
Volunteers Sought: The IDNR is seeking volunteers for a number of opportunities at Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside, and Moraine Hills State Park and McHenry Dam in McHenry:
Docents/Interpretive Office Support - greet visitors, answer questions, and staff the Friends of Volo Bog’s Tamarack Shop; they also complete tasks related to the interpretive program, including computer data entry, copying, filing and maintaining educational materials. Bluebird monitors check the progress of nesting birds in bird houses from late March through mid-August; bluebird monitoring is ideal for individuals, friends, couples or families. Prairie and Native Gardeners tend the native demonstration gardens throughout the parks beginning with spring cleanup. For more information, contact Stacy Iwanicki at 815-344-1294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Southern Illinois Birding Blitz April 27: The Southern Illinois Audubon Society is coordinating the 12th annual Birding Blitz in southernmost Illinois, an event in which teams compete to see and hear the most species of birds in a 24-hour period, while raising money for conservation. The Birding Blitz is set for Sat., April 27. Teams can search for birds throughout the region. For more information and registration information, check the website at http://www.cacherivernaturefest.org/blitz.html
Cache River Nature Fest: Mark your calendars for the 12th year of the Cache River Nature Fest on Sat., May 11 at the Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL 62923. The event is from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. rain or shine. Plan to attend and become a “Keeper of the Cache.” For more information, contact the Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge at 618-634-2231 or the Cache River Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064, or go online to www.cacherivernaturefest.org.
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. Just click on the Facebook and Twitter icons on the IDNR home page at www.dnr.illinois.gov.