INTRODUCTION: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing outdoor recreation opportunities for the residents of the State. Of particular concern is providing adequate safe hunting areas on public lands throughout the State. The waterfowl hunting program is located on Grass Lake and Nippersink Lake. A colorful history of waterfowl hunting on Grass Lake dates back to the days of unregulated market hunting for waterfowl. The site ranks today as one of the top waterfowl hunting spots in Illinois.
DIRECTIONS: The site office is located on Wilmot Road, just south of Route 173.
DESCRIPTION: Total Site Acres: 5,926 Huntable Waterfowl Acres: 1,360 Refuge Acres: 2.932
SECTION A. AREA REGULATIONS
1. All applicable regulations found in the Wildlife Code of 1971, Federal Regulations and Administrative Orders apply on this area. Special area regulations established under the authority provided in the above acts may be more restrictive and must be observed.
2. It shall be unlawful:
a. To possess or consume alcoholic beverages, including beer and wine, while hunting on this area.
b. To hunt or trespass for any purpose on any portion of this area posted as a wildlife refuge or waterfowl rest area.
c. To hunt in areas posted with "No Hunting" or "Restricted Area" signs.
SECTION B. WATERFOWL DEFINITIONS
1. Blind site - A position within 15 feet of GPS location where blind must be constructed. Boat hides are not considered a part of the blind and may be separate.
2. Blind builder - Person who has been assigned a blind site as a result of the drawing.
3. Blind partner - Person(s) chosen by the builder to assist in construction and maintenance of the blind and to share its hunting privileges.
4. Drawing - Procedure by which blind sites are assigned.
5. Blind registration card - Card issued by the Department and tacked inside each blind listing names and addresses of blind builders.
6. Complete blind - A blind with all framework and siding constructed and in readiness for use, including final brushing.
SECTION C. BLIND CONSTRUCTION
1. Blind must be at least 4' x 8', but no higher than 12 feet above normal pool level. Blinds and boat hides must be sturdy enough to withstand daily usage, and must be maintained in good condition by blind builders throughout the season. Minimum inside dimensions of the boat hide shall be 18' x 6'. Blinds shall be numbered and that number shall be visible from the outside of the blinds.
2. Blind numbers 11, 12 and 13 are designated as Class A and must be of floating construction only. Remaining blind sites are classified as Class B. Floating blind construction is recommended for Class B blinds, however platform construction is allowed. All blinds and hides must be removed in their entirety, including support posts, by April 1. Failure to comply will result in the blind winner and partners listed for the blind not in compliance to lose the privilege of being a blind winner or partner on this site for the following year.
3. Blinds must include a dog hide that is on the same level as the blind. The dog hide can either be incorporated into the blind by providing a hole at floor level that measures at least 20 inches high by 20 inches wide or by providing a separate compartment that is attached to the blind. Hides attached to the blind should have a minimum floor space that measures 2 feet by 2 feet and should be at least 2.5 feet high with two openings. One opening should be between the blind and the dog hide, should measure at least 20 inches by 20 inches, and should be constructed at the same level as the blind floor. The water access opening should be at least 20 inches wide and 20 inches high. Hides either within the blind or attached should have an enforced ramp to water level that is at least 15 inches wide with cleats every 12 inches. Openings in the blind must be capable of being closed when not in use.
4. Blinds must be completed, including final brushing, 3 weeks in advance of opening date of waterfowl season, after which time the Department of Natural Resources will inspect all blinds, boat hides and blind sites and issue blind registration cards to those which pass inspection. If adverse weather or water conditions make compliance with this rule difficult, the Site Superintendent or the District Wildlife Manager may grant extensions. Blind Registration Cards must be posted inside the blind prior to the opening date of the waterfowl season and remain posted until after the close of the waterfowl season.
5. Sites on which blinds or boat hides have not been built, as well as sites on which blinds or boat hides of an unsatisfactory quality have been built, will be reassigned to alternates selected at the drawing. All reassigned blinds and boat hides must be completed, including final brushing, in advance of the opening date of the waterfowl season.
6. Not more than 3 persons shall be registered for assignment of any one blind site. Blind builders shall submit partner names on a blind registration form as designated at the site drawing. After the designated time, no changes will be accepted. As directed by the information sheet available at each site, the registration form must be filled out and returned before August 31. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of blind.
7. No person shall be allowed to be a blind builder or partner on more than one State Waterfowl Management Area in Illinois.
8. Blind winners will be provided forms for the purpose of maintaining waterfowl harvest records and an envelope for the return of the forms. It is mandatory that these forms be returned by 3 weeks following the close of the regular waterfowl season. Failure to comply will result in the blind winner and partners listed for the blind not in compliance to lose the privilege of being a blind winner or partner on this site for the following year.
SECTION D. USE OF BLINDS
1. Attempts to claim blinds by any manner other than actual occupation shall be considered in violation of this Order and shall be cause for arrest. The insertion of a boat into the boat hide and/or the spreading of decoys before a blind shall not be considered legal occupation of a blind.
2. No person shall hunt, or attempt to hunt except from within a registered blind.
3. Persons under 16 years of age shall not hunt, or attempt to hunt, unless accompanied by an adult due to safety factors.
4. Blinds shall not be locked.
5. Claiming or attempting to claim any blind which is legally occupied, and/or to harass in any manner, the occupants of a blind which has been legally occupied is unlawful.
6. No person shall fish within 250 yards of an occupied blind within the hunting area.
7. All hunting parties shall hunt with a spread of at least 12 decoys. The decoys shall be staked, placed, or floating, be individually visible, be at least 8 inches long, and not be within a boat, blind or container. Decoys must be removed at the end of the day’s hunt.
SECTION E. PUBLIC DRAWING
1. All blinds will be allocated for a one-year period by a public drawing. Time and place for the drawing will be publicly announced by the Department of Natural Resources.
2. A registrant for a drawing must be at least 16 years of age and possess a current or preceding year’s Illinois hunting license, and current or preceding year’s Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp. Persons exempted by law from possessing a hunting license or waterfowl stamp must have a valid Firearm Owners Identification Card. Persons who are under 21 years of age who do not have Firearms Owners Identification Cards must be accompanied by an adult who has a valid Firearm Owners Identification card in his possession at the drawing. Applicants must be present for the registration and drawing to be eligible for allocation of duck blind sites.
SECTION F. WATERFOWL HUNTING REGULATIONS
1. Hours are legal opening to sunset.
2. Blind builders or partners must occupy their blinds by one-half hour before opening shooting hour each day in order to claim their blind for the day. Blinds not legally occupied may be claimed on a first-come basis.
3. No person shall buy, sell or commercialize hunting rights, either directly or indirectly.
4. Not more than 4 persons shall occupy a blind at one time.
5. Weeds and/or brush may not be cut or controlled around a blind without prior approval from an authorized Department of Natural Resource representative.
6. Bogging of blinds is prohibited.
7. Use of the following species is not allowed for brushing blinds due to their ability to readily propagate and become noxious weeds: Purple Loosestrife, Giant Reed. Giant Reed should have the seed heads removed, if used.
SECTION G. SPECIAL SEASONS
1. Hunting of teal during the September season is restricted to blind sites. Rules pertaining to legal blind occupation during regular waterfowl season shall apply during teal season.
2. Hunting of Canada geese during goose seasons prior to duck season is restricted to blind sites. Rules pertaining to legal blind occupation during the regular waterfowl season shall apply during special Canada goose season.
3. Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the North Zone duck opener - follow statewide regulations.
For additonal information please contact: Chain O' Lakes State Park, 8916 Wilmot Road, Spring Grove, IL 60081, 847/587-5512
Equal opportunity to participate in programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies is available to all individuals regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the funding source’s civil rights office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, IDNR, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702; (217)785-0067; TTY (217)782-9175.