Here is some of the latest news from the IL DNR.
Firearm Deer Permit Applications: Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2017 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30. For more information, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx
Don’t Bother Wildlife: When people come in contact with young wildlife, they may jump to the conclusion that the animal is orphaned and in need of assistance. Young animals are often left alone while their parents are away searching for food. Do not touch or remove the young animal unless you are absolutely sure that it is an orphan or severely injured. Many species return to their young near dusk and dawn. A young animal that looks well-fed with bright eyes and clean fur or feathers is probably not orphaned. If the animal does need help, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice. Find contact information on the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm#rehab
Camping Reservations: Spring and summer are great times for camping in Illinois. Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com.
Bike to Work: May is National Bike Month, and May 15-19 is national Bike to Work Week. A special day is National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Go riding during May, or anytime, and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycle riding and biking to work. For more info: http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth
Let’s Fly a Kite: Get outdoors for an afternoon of kite flying and fun at Dickson Mounds Museum on Sat., May 20 from 1-4 p.m. Visitors of all ages may enjoy learning how to fly pole kites, wind resistance exploration, and making their own kite craft to take home. Enjoy live square dance music performed by the Bug Trotters. The event will be held outdoors, but may be moved inside in the case of inclement weather. Dickson Mounds is hosting the event with help from the City of Lewistown, the Emiquon Partnership, and the UI Extension Master Naturalists. For more information: http://www.illinoisstatemuseum.org/content/lets-fly-kite
Wear Your Life Jacket: Boat operators and passengers are reminded to wear a life jacket whenever they’re on the water in Illinois. National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26. Life jackets save lives, and Illinois law requires that life jackets or life vests (personal floatation devices, PFDs) be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft. For more information, check the National Safe Boating Council’s “Wear It” campaign website atwww.safeboatingcampaign.com.
Check Your Boat Registration: The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires on June 30, 2017. Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website athttps://www.dnr.illinois.gov/boating/Pages/HowToRegister.aspx or by phone by calling 1-866-867-3542. To renew registration, have available the watercraft’s Illinois registration number, the first six characters of the watercraft’s hull ID number, the first three letters of the registered owner’s last name, and a credit card.
Non-motorized watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, or sail boards are no longer required to be titled/registered in Illinois, unless the vessels have a motor or sail. Non-motorized watercraft owners are required to purchase an Illinois Water Usage Stamp for $6.00 per calendar year (for each of their first three vessels, and $3.00 each for any additional vessels). An agent fee of $0.50 is charged per vessel. The 2017 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2017. Water Usage Stamps are available over-the-counter from IDNR license and permit vendors. Find a vendor through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx
Record Crappie: The IDNR Division of Fisheries congratulates Ryan Povolish of Carbondale, who caught a new state-record hybrid crappie at Kinkaid Lake in Jackson Co. on March 28. The fish, which weighed 4 pounds, 8.8 ounces, appeared to be a black crappie, but genetic testing by the Illinois Natural History Survey confirmed it to be a hybrid crappie. The previous state-record hybrid crappie, caught in a Jefferson County pond in 2008, weighed 4 pounds, 8.3 ounces.
Free Fishing Days: Illinois Free Fishing Days are scheduled for June 16-19, 2017. For more information on fishing in Illinois: www.ifishillinois.org
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