Apply Now for Resident Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits: Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply online through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2014 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 online at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/Pages/ResidentFirearmDeerHunting.aspx
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 2014 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 21-23 (first season) and Dec. 4-7 (second season). The 2014 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 12-14 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 4-7).
Buy 2014 Licenses Now: Buy a 2014 Illinois hunting, fishing, or sportsman’s combination license today. Illinois’ new license year began April 1. Licenses for 2014 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 2014 licenses are valid through Mar. 31, 2015, unless otherwise noted. When buying a 2014 Illinois hunting, fishing, or sportsman’s license, add a donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support youth hunting and fishing programs. An additional $5.00 donation to the ICF will help recruit the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts.
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
Reminder: Spring Trout Season Opens April 5: The 2014 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Sat., April 5. The catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate. Unless exempt, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. A list of sites for the spring catchable trout program is available on the IDNR website at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/news/Pages/IllinoisSpringTroutFishingSeasonOpensApril5.aspx
Hunter and Boating Safety Education: Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR are posted on the IDNR website, where class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety
IDNR Site 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 spring wild 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.
Mushroom Collecting: 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, fish and wildlife, and other 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 8 in the Southern Zone and May 15 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.
Science Series: “The Echoes of Their Wings: The Life and Legacy of the Passenger Pigeon” is the April program in the monthly Illinois State Museum Science Series on Wed., April 9 at 7 p.m. The program will be presented by Joel Greenberg, Research Associate at the Chicago Academy of Science's Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and the Field Museum, Chicago, IL, and the author of A Feathered River Across the Sky: The Passenger Pigeon's Flight to Extinction. Despite the passenger pigeon’s one-time abundance, exploitation for food and recreation destroyed the species in the wild by the early 20th century. The free program will be presented at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash, Springfield. For more information: www.museum.state.il.us/events
Super Saturdays: The Illinois State Museum presents “What’s the Buzz? Where are the Bees?” as the April “Super Saturdays” special event for families at the Museum in downtown Springfield. Visitors will discover why bees are so important and how they are in danger. In honor of Earth Day, participants will also learn how they can advocate for wildlife awareness. The program is free from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sat., April 12 at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.
Recycled Play Day: Celebrate Earth Day by attending the Illinois State Museum’s Recycled Play Day on Sat., April 19 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 Fri., April 24. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, phone 217-782-5993. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.
Wingshooting Clinics: Wingshooting clinics will be conducted at sites throughout Illinois through early November this year. Most clinics are conducted on weekends. Wingshooting clinics are held on IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs, hunting preserves, and farms. Wingshooting clinics for youth (age 10-15) and women provide instruction on safely firing a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations. For this year’s wingshooting clinic schedule and more information, check the IDNR website: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/wingshootinghome.htm
Birding Blitz: Join the 13th annual Birding Blitz on Sat., April 26 in southern Illinois. The Birding Blitz is 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 in southernmost Illinois. Teams can search for birds from Jackson, Williamson, Saline, and Gallatin counties south through Union, Johnson, Pope, Hardin, Alexander, Pulaski, and Massac counties. Winning teams in each competition category are announced and awarded prizes during the Birding Blitz Awards Brunch on April 27. Pledge donations are used to help support wetland restoration efforts in the Cache River Watershed. For more information, check the website at www.birdingblitz.org
International Migratory Bird Day: Enjoy International Migratory Bird Day festivals on Sat., April 26 at McHenry Dam on River Road in McHenry, IL, and on Sun., April 27 at Volo Bog State Natural Area in Ingleside, IL. Dozens of games and activities are planned. For more information, phone 815-344-1294.
Bald Eagle Release: Two injured immature bald eagles that were brought to the Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Durand, IL, will be returned to the wild on Sat., May 10 during a special event at the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center near Pecatonica, IL. The eagles – named Courage and Valor – were brought to the Hoo Haven last fall and have been restored to health by staff and volunteers. The release of the young eagles will be open to the public at the ICF Torstenson Youth Conservation Education Center, 13735 Cook Road, Pecatonica, IL 61063 at 11 a.m. on Sat., May 10. For more information, contact Hoo Haven at 815-629-2212.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Register today for the IDNR ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ Workshop on June 6-8 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois. ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Class instruction is offered in a fun, non-competitive, and hands-on environment. BOW workshops are very popular, so register early. The cost of $220 per person includes housing, meals, classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event, and much more. Registration information is online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow
Free Fishing Days for 2014: Mark your calendars for the 2014 Illinois Free Fishing Days promotion on June 6-9.
Memorial Open Water Swim at Lincoln Trail State Park: Make plans to participate or attend the Geoffrey Keller Memorial Open Water Swim on Sat., June 21 at Lincoln Trail Lake at Lincoln Trail State Park, Marshall, IL. The inaugural event will be held in honor of the late Geoffrey Keller in support of Malignant Hyperthermia awareness. For more information, call the Lincoln Trail State Park office at 217-826-2222, or check the website at http://my.mhaus.org/event/id/383007/Geoffrey-Keller-Memorial-Open-Water-Swim-6-21-14.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. Find us at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/about/Pages/SocialNetworking.aspx
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