2012 Illinois Licenses: 2012 Illinois hunting, fishing and sportsman’s combination licenses are required as of April 1. The 2012 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 2012 licenses are valid through Mar. 31, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Apply Now for Resident Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits: Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply online through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2012 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 2012 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 16-18 (first season) and Nov. 29-Dec. 2 (second season). The 2012 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 7-9 (and in the second firearm season, Nov. 29-Dec. 2).
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 10 in the Southern Zone and May 17 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 7: The 2012 spring trout fishing season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Saturday, April 7. No trout may be taken prior to the April 7 opener. To legally participate in the trout fishing program, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. Anglers may also purchase a 24-hour Illinois fishing license, which includes trout fishing privileges for the 24-hour period the license is valid. A license is required for fishing in Illinois unless the angler is otherwise exempt (under age 16, blind or disabled, or is an Illinois resident on active military service who is home on leave). For more details, including the list of locations stocked for the spring catchable trout program, check the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Pages/Illinois2012SpringTroutFishingSeasonOpensApril7.aspx
IDNR to Host Public Meeting on Stratton Lock and Dam Life Extension Project: The IDNR will host a public meeting on Monday, April 16 to discuss the Life Extension Project alternative analysis and selection for the William G. Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry. The public meeting will be held on April 16 beginning at 6 p.m. at the Conference Center of the McHenry County College, 8900 U.S. Highway 14 in Crystal Lake. The lock, constructed in 1960 at Stratton Dam, does not have the capacity to meet the current peak demand. The sluice gates constructed in 1939 have reached the end of their useful life. Improvements to the lock and gates at Stratton Dam have been investigated. The IDNR Office of Water Resources will present the alternatives investigated for the lock and gate structure. Advantages, disadvantages and opinions on probable construction costs for the alternatives, as well as the alternative selection process will be presented. Public comments and questions will be accepted following the presentation.
Attention Boat Owners: All watercraft (other than sailboards) operated on the waters of Illinois must be registered and titled. Boat renewal notices reminding Illinois boat owners that their registration decals are due to expire on June 30, 2012 will be mailed in April. Any registration issued after January 1, 2012 with an expiration date of June 30, 2015 will be printed and mailed in late April. 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: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/boating/Pages/Information.aspx
Hunter and Boating Safety Education: Check the schedule online and sign up now for 2012 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
Mark Your Calendars: The 2012 Illinois Free Fishing Days will be June 8-11. For more information on fishing in Illinois, click on: www.dnr.illinois.gov
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Registrations are still being accepted for the 2012 IDNR ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop’ on June 8-10 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois. Classes are offered in more than 25 outdoor-related activities and skills. In addition to core classes on canoeing, archery, wild edibles, fishing, and firearm safety, there are several new classes offered at this workshop including advanced shotgun wingshooting, nature sketching, river kayaking, deer hunting and birding. Experienced and knowledgeable instructors provide a non-competitive and non-threatening environment for learning. The cost of $210 per person includes housing, meals, four classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event, and much more. Register online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow
Science Series: The monthly science series program at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center on Wed., April 11 is ‘Canine Companions: A Natural History of the Domestic Dog.’ You’re invited to the free program at 7 p.m. Dr. Chris Widga, ISM Assistant Curator of Geology, presents the program. The talk will review recent genetic, morphological, and archaeological research in the study of dog domestication, highlighting the importance of the Midwestern dogs from the archaeological record. The ISM Research and Collections Center is located at 1011 East Ash, Springfield. For more information, check the website at www.museum.state.il.us/events
Crazy for Collage: The ‘Super Saturdays’ program this month at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield is ‘Crazy for Collage’ on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. In celebration of the On & Of Paper exhibition at the museum, youngsters are invited to get creative and learn about different collage techniques and experiment with tissue paper, torn paper, scrapbook paper, and more. The program is free and is ideal for children ages 4-8. The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield. For more information, phone 217-782-6044 or check online at www.museum.state.il.us/events
Earth Day at the ISM: Celebrate Earth Day at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sunday, April 22 from 12 noon until 5 p.m. During this free event, learn about 500 million years of environmental change in Illinois in the Changes: Dynamic Illinois Environments exhibition. Visitors are invited to pick up a Changes Checklist at the front desk. These child-friendly search activities are a perfect way to take a closer look at the exhibition and learn new facts about mammals, birds, fish, and more. In honor of Earth Day, all visitors will receive a commemorative bookmark. The Illinois State Museum is at 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.
Save the Frogs: Come to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Saturday, April 28 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. to learn about amphibians of Illinois. Search for frog facts in the Changes exhibition and Play Museum and earn a ‘Save the Frogs’ sticker. The first 15 people to check in to Foursquare on their smart phone at the museum between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on April 28 will receive a ‘Save the Frogs’ souvenir. The event is free and family-friendly. The museum is located at 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.
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 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/WingshootingDates.htm
Sportsman’s Raffle: Tickets are now available for the 2012 Illinois Conservation Foundation Sportsman’s Raffle. Tickets are $100 each and prizes – including a grand prize of up to $100,000 – will be presented at a drawing in Sangamon County on December 6, 2012. Additional “early bird” prizes will be awarded for tickets drawn in Sangamon County on April 5, June 7, August 2 and October 4, 2012. Proceeds from the raffle will support youth conservation education and outdoor recreation programs at the ICF Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, Illinois. The raffle is being conducted in accordance with the Raffles Act. All business operations of the raffle take place exclusively in Sangamon County. Raffle tickets are available online at www.ilcf.org
and by mail at: Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.
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. Just click on the Facebook and Twitter icons on the IDNR home page at www.dnr.illinois.gov