Illinois State Parks Guide: The 2015-16 Illinois State Parks guide is available in print and online. The booklet is a useful guide to an eventful day in a state park picnic area, a weekend at a state park lodge or campground, a hike in a state forest, a ride on a state trail, or hunting and fishing trips to a state fish and wildlife area. The Illinois State Parks guide is posted on the IDNR website in PDF format at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/publications/documents/00000715.pdf
Copies of the state parks guide can be ordered through the IDNR online publications page at https://dnr.state.il.us/teachkids/
Online Dove Permits: Online applications will be accepted from resident Illinois hunters through July 7 for the first lottery for Illinois Free Dove Hunting Permits for hunting at select state sites. Applications may be submitted for the second lottery by resident hunters who were unsuccessful in the first lottery, residents who did not apply in the first lottery, and non-resident hunters for the second lottery drawing from July 8-21. After the second lottery permit application deadline on July 21, hunters may apply for remaining free dove permits on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. on July 28. For more information on dove hunting permit areas and free dove permits, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/dove
Illinois Boat Registration: The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expired on June 30, 2015. Renewing watercraft registration can be done online. Just click to the Boating Registration page on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/boating
or call 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 in Illinois, 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 2015 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2015. 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
Flathead Catfish: Illinois anglers are reminded of new regulations regarding flathead catfish on the Fox River, and on the Wabash River and Ohio River. New regulations on the Fox River from the Wisconsin border, through the Chain O’Lakes, to the mouth at the Illinois River, including tributaries, allow anglers to harvest one flathead catfish per day 28 inches or larger and two flathead catfish between 13 inches and less than 28 inches. On the Wabash and Ohio rivers, in cooperation with Indiana and Kentucky, the new flathead catfish regulation is one fish per day 35 inches or larger and unlimited harvest between 13 inches and less than 35 inches. On the Fox, Wabash and Ohio, no flathead catfish may be harvested less than 13 inches in length. The regulations are intended to prevent overharvest of flathead catfish. For more information on Illinois fishing and fishing regulations, check the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov
Kaskaskia River Rough Fish Round Up: Kaskaskia State Fish and Wildlife Area, in cooperation with the Bowfishing Association of America and Tri-State Bowfishers, will host the inaugural Kaskaskia River Rough Fish Round Up bowfishing tournament on July 18 on the Kaskaskia River at Wood Duck Marina, Kaskaskia SFWA near Baldwin, IL. For registration and more information, contact Mic Middleton, IDNR Site Superintendent at Kaskaskia SFWA, at 618-785-2555 or firstname.lastname@example.org
, or Gretchen Steele at email@example.com
National Championships at WSRC: The World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL welcomes the Scholastic Clay Target Program National Championships and the Scholastic Pistol Program Junior/Senior National Championships on July 13-18. For information, check the Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation website at www.sssfonline.org
Grand American: The Amateur Trapshooting Association’s 116th Grand American World Trapshooting Championships are scheduled for Aug. 5-15 at the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Sparta, IL. The AIM Grand National Youth Trapshooting Championships on Aug. 1-4 precede the Grand. Check the ATA website for details at www.shootata.com
Conservation World: Make plans now to attend the 2015 Illinois State Fair in Springfield and visit Conservation World on the state fairgrounds, Aug. 14-23. Conservation World features nearly 30 acres of family activities including fishing, archery, and family entertainment, plus expert information on habitat enhancement, state parks, wildlife, fish, and forestry. Conservation World is open every day of the Illinois State Fair from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Safety Courses: Begin planning for the upcoming 2015-16 hunting seasons in Illinois by checking the schedule of IDNR Hunter Safety Education courses. Many Hunter Safety classes are scheduled in advance of the fall seasons, and summer is a good time to register. Classes fill up quickly, so check the IDNR website for scheduled classes, more of which are added each week. The web link for IDNR Safety Education courses is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety
Hunter Education Support: The IDNR Safety Education Section salutes the Safari Club International Illinois Chapter for donations of equipment to the IDNR Hunter Education Program. The club’s donations of a projection unit, laptop cases and firearm cases will assist field staff in conducting training sessions in support of Hunter Education courses and events throughout Illinois.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop: The IDNR invites women to register now for the next ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ workshop, Sept. 25-27 at Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton. BOW workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction in outdoor-related activities. The $175 BOW fee includes meals, housing, giveaways, use of class supplies, and transportation during the workshop. Registration is limited, so sign up today. Workshop and registration materials can be found on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/BOW
Camping Reservations: Summer is a great time for camping in Illinois. Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online at www.reserveamerica.com
using a credit card. For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/camping/camprsvp.htm
Wingshooting Clinics: There is still time to participate in a 2015 IDNR Wingshooting Clinic. Remaining clinics scheduled in August through early November are listed on the online schedule at the link below. 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 the wingshooting clinic schedule and more information, check the IDNR website: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/wingshootinghome.htm
Living with Wildlife: The IDNR and UI Extension have teamed up to provide residents of Illinois with information about how to coexist with wildlife, especially in urban areas. Wildlife helps us maintain our connection with nature. Helpful information on preventing problems with wildlife can be found on the “Living with Wildlife in Illinois” website at http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/