2012 Illinois Licenses Reminder: Outdoors enthusiasts are reminded that Illinois’ new license year begins April 1. Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses for 2012 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 will be valid through Mar. 31, 2013 unless otherwise noted.
Spring Turkey Applications: Random daily drawings for resident and non-resident hunters for 2012 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey permits begin March 9. The link to the online permit application can be found on the IDNR website Spring Turkey page: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting.aspx
2012 Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunt: Over-the-counter sales of county permits for the Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season begin on March 6. The dates for the 2012 Spring Youth Wild Turkey season are March 31-April 1 in the Southern Zone and April 7-8 in the Northern Zone. For permit application and other information, check the IDNR website at this link: www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting
IRAP Youth Turkey Hunting: IDNR is offering expanded youth hunting opportunities on private property this spring during the Spring Wild Turkey Season through the new federally-funded Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). Interested youth turkey hunters can download an application for an IRAP Youth Turkey Hunting permit through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP
. The deadline to apply for permits for Spring Turkey Season segments 3 and 4 is March 15. For more information on IRAP, contact Tammy Miller at tammy.miller@Illinois.gov
LaSalle Lake Hours: LaSalle Lake will open for the 2012 season on March 15. The hours of operation for March 15 - March 30 will be Wednesday through Sunday (five days a week) from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The planned hours of operation for the remainder of the year are as follows:
• April 1 - July 15 – The lake will be open seven days a week from 6:00 a.m. to sunset.
• July 16 - August 31 – The lake will be open Wednesday through Sunday only from 6:00 a.m. to sunset.
• September 1 - September 30 – The lake will be open 6:00 a.m. to sunset seven days a week.
• October 1 - October 14 – The lake will be open Wednesday through Sunday only from 6:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
All fishermen must be off the lake by closing time. Hours of operation are subject to change, and any changes will be announced.
Resident Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Applications: Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply online beginning March 13 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 will be available online in late March. The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only. The deadline to apply for the first lottery drawings for 2012 firearm deer permits and muzzleloader-only deer permits is April 30. 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).
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. There are plenty of classes scheduled, but they fill up quickly. Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations. Class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety
OutdoorIllinois: For the latest news about Illinois' natural resources, pick up the March 2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois, a publication of the IDNR. Featured on the cover are a pair of white-tailed bucks, proclaiming that this magazine includes the popular annual story highlighting recent additions to the Illinois Big Buck Recognition program. In a feature article this month, Director Marc Miller addresses how declining revenues have impacted agency operations. The March issue also contains stories on the swamp rabbit, restoration of wetland habitats through drain tile removal efforts, Fox River Flathead catfish studies and a reminder for boaters of the importance of a vessel safety check. An additional feature is a story about the efforts of students at Pontiac Township High School to contribute to ongoing research by the Illinois State Museum by analyzing sediment and fossils from the Aurora Mastodont Matrix Project.
Archery Deer Drawings for Horseshoe Lake and Beaver Dam: Archery deer hunting applications are available through March 31 for special hunt drawings at Beaver Dam State Park, Plainview, IL (near Carlinville) and Horseshoe Lake State Park, Granite City, IL. Prospective hunters can obtain an application either online or from the park offices to apply to archery deer hunt at either site during the 2012-13 season. Park-specific applications will offer nine weekly intervals at Horseshoe Lake and 11 weekly intervals at Beaver Dam. Applicants will prioritize their hunting weeks and will be selected randomly in a lottery drawing. For additional questions or to pick up an application, contact Beaver Dam State Park 14548 Beaver Dam Lane Plainview, IL 62685, phone 217/854-8020 or Horseshoe Lake State Park, 3321 Highway 111 Granite City, IL 62040, phone 618/931- 0270.
WPF Grant Applications: Applications are now being accepted through 5 p.m. on April 1 for the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund grant programs, which are administered through the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage. These programs are funded through a voluntary check-off designation to the Wildlife Preservation Fund on the state income tax form. Each of the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program packets for Fiscal Year 2013 includes a program explanation, instructions for completing the application form and an application form. The application packet can be found on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/grants
. The packet is also available by request by calling 217/782-2602 or by e-mail at DNR.SPECIALFUNDS@illinois.gov
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
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Registration opens March 12 for the 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 different outdoor-related activities and skills. In addition to core classes on topics such as 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. Registration will begin March 12 online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow
Super Saturdays: The Illinois State Museum in Springfield celebrates the first anniversary of the ISM Play Museum during the ‘Super Saturdays’ event at the museum on Sat., Mar. 10 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Children attending can make birthday decorations, enjoy treats and play in the Play Museum. For more information on the free event, phone 217/782-6044 or go online to www.museum.state.il.us/events
. The Illinois State Museum is located in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield.
Ghosts and Legends: On Saturday, March 10, join storyteller Brian Fox Ellis for the program ‘Civil War Ghosts and Legends’ at the Dickson Mounds Museum Auditorium beginning at 2 p.m. The free program is presented by the Fulton County Historical and Genealogical Society. Fox intersperses a rich knowledge of the war with stories, poetry, and period songs. Parents should note -- stories contain strong, graphically descriptive accounts, so parental discretion is encouraged. For more information, phone 309/547-3721.
Science Series: Attend the Illinois State Museum’s Science Series program on Wed., Mar. 14 at 7 p.m. to learn about “The Dampier Site: A Mysterious Mississippian Center Uncovered on the Missouri River Floodplain.” The free program will be presented by Joe Harl, Archaeological Research Center of St. Louis, Inc. The Dampier Site was uncovered five to six feet below the surface during borrowing activities for levee improvements on the Missouri River floodplain in Chesterfield, Missouri. Similar to the use of this valley today by various stores and restaurants, nearly 1,000 years ago people established a large market at the Dampier Site. The site will provide insights into the overall Mississippian economic and social system, and will help to indicate how much influence Cahokia had on places in east-central Missouri. The program is at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash Street, Springfield. Phone 217/782-0061 for more information.
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