W-76-D Project Manager
Mitch Hess is a Natural Resource Advanced Specialist where he manages the W-76-D grant which is a federal grant used to improve wildlife habitat on state properties. Mitch is an outdoor enthusiast and hunter/trapper. Mitch grew up on a farm in west central Indiana. He attended Purdue University and received his B.S. in Wildlife Science. While attending Purdue, he worked for Purdue’s Dept. of Forestry and Natural Resources. There he did a lot of forestry and silviculture practices as well as worked for a PhD student doing research on prairie and savanna restoration. After graduation, he took a job with Pheasants Forever as a Farm Bill Wildlife Biologist in Ohio. After working there, he obtained a job with Indiana’s DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife as the Assistant Property Manager of a state fish and wildlife area. From there he moved to New Hampshire to work for NRCS while his wife worked on her PhD at MIT. Once she graduated, they moved to Illinois and he continued to work for NRCS. He then took a job with the Illinois Natural History Survey as the Assistant Ag Habitat Program Manager. He conducted research on migratory shorebirds that come through Illinois, with a focus on the American Golden Plover. He also worked with private landowners and farms to create habitat in agriculture fields for shorebirds during their stopover in Illinois before assuming his current position. To contact Mitch, click here.
Wetland Wildlife Project Manager
Dan Holm is a Project Manager in the Wetland Wildlife Program where he helps coordinate several of the Division’s migratory game bird population monitoring efforts, including banding and aerial waterfowl surveys. Dan serves on the Mississippi Flyway Game Bird Technical Section and the Upper Mississippi River and Upper Great Lakes Region Joint Venture Technical Section. Dan is responsible for analyzing migratory game bird population data and assists with developing waterfowl hunting season recommendations. Dan works at a field office near the Illinois River in Havana. To contact Dan, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Jeff Horn is a district wildlife biologist stationed in Savanna, IL. The main projects in that part of the state are chronic wasting disease management in deer, forest and prairie management, and wildlife surveys. Jeff has a Master of Science from the University of Illinois and is an IL prescribed fire burn boss. His job duties include coordinating wildlife habitat projects on public and private land, conducting prescribed burns to improve and manage habitat, conducting wildlife surveys, overseeing hunting on department owned land in the four-county district, and being a team leader for the chronic wasting disease management team in Northwest IL. Jeff enjoys hunting, baseball, golf, hockey, and spending time with his family. They reside in Freeport, IL. To contact Jeff, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist Maureen Hurd is a District Wildlife Biologist based out of Victoria, IL where she is responsible for coordinating habitat management at state parks, habitat areas, and fish and wildlife areas. She also manages hunting programs, conducts wildlife surveys, handles nuisance wildlife issues, and assists with Chronic Wasting Disease management. Maureen received a B.S. in Biology from Grand Valley State University of Allendale, Michigan and her M.S. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before accepting this position, she worked as a Natural Heritage Resident with IDNR. She is originally from Hudsonville, Michigan and enjoys hiking, biking, kayaking, water-skiing and wakeboarding. To contact Maureen, click here.
Wildlife Office Associate
Becky Jones is an Office Associate at the Charleston District Office where she helps out the biologists with paperwork for day to day operations. Becky also assists Forestry, Fisheries, and Natural Heritage Biologists that are located in the Charleston District Office. She assists with voucher processing and petty cash for Wildlife, Forestry, Fisheries, and Natural Heritage Biologists. Watercraft registration applications are a constant inquiry at the Charleston District Office, where she helps complete the applications, and tries to solve title problems, for the general public. She also does the hunter fact sheet updates for Region 2 and Region 3 sites. Becky resides in Charleston with her husband, and enjoys time with her family, and with friends near and far. To contact Becky, click here. Field Operations Section Head Don Kahl is the
Field Operations Section Head for the Division of Wildlife Resources. Field Operations delivers the priorities and
programs of the Division. Don and the Regional Wildlife Biologists work to set
priorities, provide direction, and seek the help and materials that our
talented field staff need to get their work done efficiently and
professionally. Don has a bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology from
Blackburn College and a master's degree in Range and Wildlife Management from
Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Prior to joining IDNR in February 2021, Don worked as a Farm Bill
Biologist in Southeast Colorado for Pheasants Forever. He also worked as a District Wildlife
Biologist and a Regional Migratory Game Bird Specialist in West Texas for Texas
Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD).
While working for TPWD, Don led the development and administration of
the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative, a regional-scale, multi-agency
conservation program focused on the restoration of playa wetlands on private
lands. After 15 years away, he's excited
to have returned to his home state of Illinois, applying his experience and
contributing to the mission of the Division of Wildlife Resources. Don, his
wife Samantha, and his sons Rowan and Wesley, live in Carlinville, IL. Don
enjoys spending his time hunting and fishing, while also camping with his
family. His goal is to purchase a piece
of property where he and his family can enjoy their weekends in the field,
while also working to manage wildlife habitat and populations. To contact Don, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Tim Kelley is a District Wildlife Biologist based out of the Havana Field Office. His duties include developing and implementing wildlife and habitat management plans for State and private properties. Tim has a solid background in trapping and native habitat restoration, among other distinctions in the field. He also possesses a long history of assisting the Agency in its outreach programs related to the Illinois State Fair. Tim likes to turkey and deer hunt. He enjoys trapping and a lot of other types of hunting (pheasant, waterfowl, dove, etc.), too, but his three children and their too-numerous-to-mention activities leave little time for his own pursuits…and he’s pretty darn OK with that! He also likes to attend sporting events and concerts and enjoys travelling, hiking, biking, and a host of other activities that he can do with his family. To contact Tim, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist Sam Klimas is a District Wildlife Biologist based out of Lacon, IL where he is responsible for coordinating wetland and waterfowl management at the many state fish and wildlife areas along the Peoria Pool of the Illinois River. He also conducts wildlife surveys, bands migratory birds, and works with the public to mitigate nuisance wildlife issues within his district. He received a B.S. in Wildlife Ecology from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and his M.S. in Biology from Western Illinois University. Prior to coming to the DNR, Sam gained valuable experience researching waterfowl and wetlands of the Illinois River with the Illinois Natural History Survey at Forbes Biological Station in Havana. Sam is from Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota and enjoys hunting, fishing, and watching hockey games with family and friends. To contact Sam, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Tim Krumwiede is a District Wildlife Biologist where Tim performs a variety of duties pertaining to wildlife and habitat management including; Public Land Management for Hunting Opportunities, Agricultural Lease Management on State Sites, and Nuisance Wildlife Abatement. Tim has served in the Pittsfield office for over 25 years and has worked extensively with the Waterfowl and Forest Game programs. Tim has helped with waterfowl surveys, bird banding, turkey trapping, and with CWD monitoring and management. Tim grew up in Beardstown where he developed a passion for hunting and fishing. He still enjoys those pursuits today. To contact Tim, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Langan is a District Wildlife Biologist at the Mt. Vernon Game farm office.
Most of Cody’s time is spent conducting wildlife surveys, nuisance wildlife
inquires, and managing habitat. Cody coordinates habitat management projects
including prescribed fire, invasive species removal, and prairie plantings.
Cody has worked for the Nature Conservancy, Missouri Department of
Conservation, and Macon County Conservation District. Cody received his BS and MS
in Zoology from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. He is an avid outdoorsman
and in his free time enjoys hunting, fishing and is from Shelbyville, IL. To contact Cody, click here.
Habitat Team Program Manager
Wade Louis is the Habitat Team Program Manager. The Habitat Team is responsible for grassland management on state owned Pheasant Habitat Area’s in east-central Illinois. The Habitat Team prescribes management treatments designed to enhance and promote grassland dependent species and provide recreational opportunities for upland hunting. Wade enjoys spending time with his family, hunting, fishing and finding creative ways to incorporate both activities together. Wade spends most of his off time with his wife following their three children to sporting and school events. To contact Wade, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Bob Massey is a District Wildlife Biologist in District 12 in Region 2. Bob has been in his District for 28 years. His office is located at the Des Plaines Propagation Center in Wilmington, Il. His duties include interactions with numerous State Parks and 3 Pheasant Habitat Areas. Other job duties include banding geese, wood ducks and doves. Wildlife surveys include furbearer, upland song bird, upland point counts, and the Northeast Illinois Waterfowl Survey. Bob is the Team Leader for the Wilmington Chronic Wasting Disease effort which covers seven counties at the south end of the CWD zone. Bob Got his BA from SIU-C and attended graduate school at SIU-C and worked in the Cooperative Wildlife Research Laboratory working on wildlife use of managed openings in the Shawnee National Forest. Bob has been active in the prescribed burn and wildfire training program and has gone on deployments throughout the west (including Minn.) and was deployed to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as part of a saw crew. Bob is Crew Boss, Squad boss, Incident Commander 4, Firing Boss certified and has gone out on fire as part of a helicopter crew. Bob has been married to Linda for 35 years and have two kids; Ross (Tasha) and Taylor (Van). He likes fishing and hunting, bike riding and gardening. He recently knocked off a bucket list item climbing to a glacier on Mt. Hood in Oregon. To contact Bob, click here.
Forest Wildlife Biometrician
Patrick McDonald is a wildlife biometrician in the Forest Wildlife Program. Patrick manages the statewide database for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), leads the current osprey recovery project, and is the project leader of the W-99-R Statewide Wildlife Surveys, Planning, Investigations and Program Development grant. CWD management is one of the Division’s top priorities. Patrick is responsible for managing, updating and analyzing the Division’s CWD database so our managers and biologists can take appropriate actions to best manage the disease. In addition, Patrick established the first translocation effort for ospreys in Illinois to help recover this state-listed endangered species. Patrick, originally from St. Louis, Missouri, is an avid bicyclist, and enjoys playing recreational hockey, camping, hiking and fishing. To contact Pat, click here.
Wildlife Office Coordinator
Dan McGuire is an Office Coordinator for the IDNR Division
of Wildlife who focuses on BidBuy purchasing for the field staff, serves as a
timekeeper, an administrator of a petty cash fund and performs various other
duties as the need arises. Dan started in the work force doing long distance
telecom for a company that provided long distance service for local exchange
carriers to resell to their subscribers. Prior to joining the Wildlife
Department, he worked at IDNR in the Land Reclamation Division who is
responsible for permitting all coal mining operations in the state of Illinois
and ensuring that lands affected by mining are returned to productive uses. Dan
has a bachelor’s degree in International Studies with an emphasis in German and
Business Administration. Dan is a sports fan and music enthusiast who enjoys watching
movies from the golden age of Hollywood and comedies. He is from New Berlin,
Illinois. To contact Dan, click here.
Wildlife Diversity Program Manager
Stan McTaggart is the new Program Manager for the Wildlife Diversity Program at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This program includes oversight of furbearer hunting and trapping regulations, furbearer research and population monitoring, nuisance wildlife regulations and threatened and endangered species recovery for the Wildlife Division. Stan received a B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale and a M.S. in Biological Sciences from Eastern Illinois University. His thesis focused on colony composition and demographics of beaver colonies in Illinois. Over his career he has worked with threatened and endangered species, managed state and federal public lands, provided technical guidance to private landowners for habitat management and natural community restoration, monitored wildlife populations and participated in disease surveillance and management for chronic wasting disease and managed the Agriculture and Grassland Wildlife Program. Stan grew up on a small farm in central Illinois and enjoys introducing others to the outdoors. Most of his free time is spent bow hunting, fishing, chasing waterfowl, upland game, wild turkey and trying to get his 2 children involved in these activities. His trapping experience has primarily focused on beaver and removing nuisance animals, but he has plans to give coyote trapping a try. To contact Stan, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Frank Ostling is a District Wildlife Biologist where Frank performs a variety of duties pertaining to wildlife and habitat management including; Public Land Management for Hunting Opportunities, Agricultural Lease Management on State Sites, and Nuisance Wildlife Abatement. Frank has served in the Harmon field office for over 11 years and has worked extensively with the Upland and Forest Game programs. Frank has helped with wildfire and prescribed burn management, bird banding, turkey trapping, and with CWD monitoring and management. Frank grew up in Elmhurst where he developed a passion for hunting and fishing. He still enjoys those pursuits today. To contact Frank, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Adam Phillips is a District Wildlife Biologist in southern Illinois. Adam coordinates wildlife management at state sites including state parks, wildlife management areas and state fish and wildlife areas. Adam’s primary duties include coordinating wildlife habitat management projects on public and private lands, executing wildlife population surveys, and managing hunting programs on public lands in his district. Adam is a sports enthusiast, as well as an outdoorsman and is originally from Jacksonville, IL. To contact Adam, click here.
Urban Deer Project Manager
Tim Preuss is the Urban Deer Project Manager assisting private landowners, homeowner’s associations, municipalities, forest preserve districts, and other land management organizations experiencing issues with white-tailed deer in urban environments. IDNR’s role in urban deer management is that of an extension service to assist public and private landowners that are interested in alternatives for managing urban white-tailed deer and abating deer-related damage. Tim strives to facilitate the needs of landowners and work cooperatively with them in addressing their deer management needs by providing up-to-date information on deer biology, ecology, and deer management alternatives, and providing professional assistance in designing, implementing, and evaluating site-specific, long-term deer management programs. Tim is a Certified Wildlife Biologist by The Wildlife Society. He has a B.S. in wildlife management from Purdue University, an M.S. in conservation biology from Central Michigan University, and worked for various organizations (including Purdue University, Max McGraw Wildlife Foundation, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Lake County Forest Preserve District, and U.S. Department of Agriculture) before coming to IDNR in 2017. Tim has been working in the field of wildlife management since 1999 and has worked on urban deer management issues since 2007. Tim resides in northeast Illinois and enjoys spending time with his family, as well as hiking, canoeing, camping, fishing, shooting sports, and reading. To contact Tim, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Joe Rogus is a District Wildlife Biologist based at the Des Plaines Game Propagation Center in Wilmington Illinois. Joe is responsible for Coordinating wildlife management on state parks, fish & wildlife areas and private land within his district. He conducts wildlife surveys, assists the public with wildlife issues, administers Ag leases, manages hunting/trapping programs and assists with the Chronic Wasting Disease program. Joe enjoys horseback riding, snowmobiling, boating, skiing, camping and travel. Joe is married to his wife Amy and lives in Minooka, IL. To contact Joe, click here.
Wildlife Executive Secretary II
Sandidge is the Executive Secretary II for the Division of Wildlife and
assistant to the Chief of Wildlife in the Springfield office. One of her
main duties is creating and tracking the budget for the Division of Wildlife. She
is responsible for preparing and editing purchase requests, contracts, and
other procurement documents, entering procurement documents into Bidbuy for
bidding and purchasing, processing all wildlife invoices, ordering supplies for
the division, and serves as timekeeper for several wildlife division employees.
Nicole has been with the State of
Illinois for 18 years and with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources since 2014. While with IDNR, she has worked for
the Licensing Section in the Office of Strategic Services and Consultation
Services in the Office of Realty and Capital Planning. Nicole
resides in Athens, IL with her husband Richard and 3 daughters. In her free time, she
enjoys boating, camping, spending time with friends & family, and watching
her daughters who are active in several sports. To contact Nicole, click here.
Deer Project Manager
Peter Schlichting is the Deer Project
Manager at IDNR, where he compiles, analyzes, and presents information
regarding white-tailed deer management in Illinois. Peter was born and raised
in Springfield, IL and attended the University of Illinois. He subsequently
received his masters at Stony Brook University in Anthropology and a PhD at
Texas Tech University in Wildlife Biology. He started his field work as a
technician with the Illinois Natural History Survey and has worked across the US
and internationally in Costa Rica, Madagascar, and Belarus. He has published
numerous scientific papers on a range of wildlife, including wild pigs, large
carnivores, and amphibians. He enjoys the great outdoors (fishing, hunting,
hiking), playing tennis and volleyball, and traveling.
Forest Wildlife Program Manager
Dan Skinner is the Forest Wildlife Program Manager in Springfield, where he plans, develops and evaluates activities within the Forest Wildlife Program, including overseeing management and hunting of white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and squirrels. He is also responsible for Chronic Wasting Disease management and coordinating research on forest wildlife species. Dan has a B.S. in fish and wildlife conservation from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Before joining IDNR in 2019, Dan worked as a Colorado Wildlife Officer for Colorado Parks and Wildlife and later as a Wildlife Disease Biologist for the United States Department of Agriculture. Dan seeks to protect and enhance the wildlife resources of the state of Illinois, drawing from his prior experience managing diverse wildlife populations on public and private land. Dan grew up on a corn and soybean farm in rural Sangamon County and currently lives with his wife and son in Springfield. Outside of work, Dan enjoys traveling with his family, hunting deer, doves, and squirrels, cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals, and working in his vegetable garden. To contact Dan, click here.
Associate Wildlife Biologist
Paul Skoglund is an Associate Wildlife Biologist based out of the Olney District Office. He works closely with District Wildlife Biologists to manage wildlife resources throughout Region 5 in Southern Illinois. Paul primarily works to create and improve habitat for game species on public lands. This is accomplished through planting, prescribed burning, and the removal of exotic/invasive species. He also helps landowners mitigate issues with nuisance wildlife and crop depredation through a variety of methods. Lastly, he assists with taking and investigating reports regarding sick or diseased animals. In his free time, Paul is an avid trapper and fisherman. He also enjoys hiking/backpacking and camping with his dog Dakota whenever possible. Paul is originally from Calumet City, Illinois. B.S. in Zoology concentrated in Wildlife Biology from SIU-Carbondale. Before joining the Office of Resource Conservation, Paul worked as a nuisance wildlife biologist in Neenah, Wisconsin and a biologist in Denver, Colorado. To contact Paul, click here.
Wildlife Office Coordinator
Kelly Smith is an Office Coordinator at the Gibson City office. She’s responsible for the typical day to day operations and keeping the office organized and running smoothly. She also helps with voucher payments, petty cash, and assists with purchase requests for the W-76-D Program. Kelly has an associate's degree in Medical Assisting and has previously worked as a home care CNA. She decided to go back to doing office work in which she has over 18 years of experience working in the clerical field. She has previously worked as a temporary Office Associate for Department of Public Health (Champaign), the Guardianship & Advocacy Commission (Champaign), and the Department of Children & Family Services (Urbana). She recently transferred from the Moraine View State Recreation Area in Leroy where she worked as an Office Coordinator. Kelly has one daughter named Gabby and a shih-tzu named Zoey. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, going on road trips/mini-vacations, reading, watching tv/movies, cooking and making crafts.
State Waterfowl Biologist
Wetland Wildlife Program Manager
Randy Smith is the Wetland Wildlife Program Manager/State Waterfowl Biologist. Randy oversees the wetland wildlife or waterfowl program which includes statewide waterfowl hunting regulations, wetland habitat management recommendations, wetland, waterfowl and other waterbird monitoring and research within the agency as well as with partners (e.g., Universities) and is involved with statewide wetland conservation planning including wetland habitat acquisition. Randy serves as Illinois’ technical representative to the Mississippi Flyway Council which cooperatively manages migratory birds and hunting regulations among 14 states and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Randy is the leader of the Wetlands Campaign of the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan and a member of the Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp (Duck Stamp) Fund Committee which oversees expenditure of Duck Stamp funds annually. Randy is a Wisconsin native who obtained his B.S. from the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point, M.S. from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale and spent several years conducting waterfowl and wetland research with the Illinois Natural History Survey prior to starting work with DNR. He is an avid waterfowl hunter and off-road cyclist and enjoys involving his family in those pursuits. To contact Randy, click here.
District Wildlife/Hunter Heritage Biologist
Nicky Strahl is a Wildlife Biologist and a Hunter Heritage Biologist for Northern Illinois. Nicky assists the wildlife and other teams by conducting ground goose and waterfowl surveys, CWD surveillance and management, conducting grassland bird counts, harvest records for games species on managed lands, implements drawings for hunting opportunities on managed lands, conducts roadkill surveys, conducts spotlight route surveys, prescribed burns, endangered and threatened species surveys, waterfowl banding operations, upland bird banding operations, hunter fact sheet revisions/upload, refreshing of living with wildlife website, state fair wildlife/heritage tent logistics, deer check station, education of public in hunting heritage, R3, and general urban wildlife information dispersal, and assisting the public with nuisance wildlife issues. Also, Nicky helps the Learn to Hunt team when and where possible to assist other hunters, especially after their program completes, she helps get them into the lottery system and walks the public lands with them to help familiarize themselves with how public land hunts realistically function. She also is a certified hunter safety instructor. In her past, Nicky has been an ecologist and project manager for various private sector teams in the northwest suburbs of Chicago for the past 10 years. Her professional experience includes ecological consulting, ecosystem restoration (including planning, monitoring, and implementation), supervision of field crews, and performing fieldwork including prescribed burning, wetland delineations, and vegetation assessments. She also prepares and delivers public education and outreach materials and presentations to disseminate information to the general public. Nicky is a Certified Prescribed Burn Manager through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has received OSHA 30-hour General Industry training, and holds a Commercial Pesticide Applicator’s license in Illinois. Before entering into the private sector in 2007, she has worked or volunteered in some capacity since 1995, starting as a technician with Lake County Forest Preserve District's Youth Conservation Corps. Returning to Illinois in 2001, she acted as the steward for Wright Woods Forest Preserve within the Lake County Forest Preserve District, a Certified Interpretive at a local zoo, and as a wildlife coordinator and monitor for the Chicago Wilderness Habitat Project in Lake County. Nicky also volunteered in a variety of roles including monitoring populations of butterflies, dragonflies, amphibians, bats, songbirds, and banding waterfowl. Nicky is a member for the Environmental Defenders of McHenry County, Society for Ecological Restoration, Wildlife Society, Ecological Society of America, and The Land Conservancy of McHenry County. She is a single mother of two young children (Gwen-8 and Jameson-6), who enjoys going out on "backyard adventures", as well as historical adventures across America. Their favorite vacation locations include the Northwoods near Marquette, Michigan (where her undergraduate degree was obtained from: Northern Michigan University), to extended family members localities, or Colonial Williamsburg. Her passions include learning nearly anything outside, survival and historical living techniques, and ancient civilizations. Nicky is a self-taught first-generation hunter and is looking forward to bringing her children into this great sport with ethics and kindness in mind! She, her kids, and their dog (Liberty) have too many hobbies to list, but in short, they all just enjoy life together and spending time together with other friends with whom they teach a great many things to! To contact Nicky, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Emma Trone is a District Wildlife Biologist based out of Coffeen, IL where she works with site staff at state sites including state parks, wildlife management areas and state fish and wildlife areas to manage habitat and wildlife to provide opportunities for public lands hunting and recreation. She also conducts wildlife surveys, assists with chronic wasting disease management, and works with the public to mitigate nuisance wildlife issues in her district. Emma attended Western Illinois University for both her B.S. and M.S. in Biology with a wildlife emphasis. Originally from Beardstown, IL, she enjoys traveling, hunting, kayaking, and gardening in her spare time. To contact Emma, click here.
District Wildlife Biologist
Beth Weber is a District Wildlife Biologist based out of Savanna, IL where she works with various public lands sites within her district working on wildlife habitat management and the various hunting programs. She conducts wildlife surveys, bands migratory birds, monitors wildlife diseases, and deals with other wildlife management concerns. She received a B.S. in Biology with a minor in Math from Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, IA and her M.S. in Conservation Biology from Illinois State University. Beth grew up on a hog, cattle, and grain farm near Danbury, Iowa and enjoys hiking, kayaking, exploring new places, and small-town festivals.
Division of Wildlife Resources Chief
Mike Wefer is the Chief of the IDNR Division of
Wildlife Resources where he oversees all management responsibilities of
the Division, including the Division budget, legislation, Pittman-Robertson projects,
and implementation of hunting and trapping seasons. Mike joined the
Wildlife Division in 1998. He has served as Wildlife Field Operations Section
Head, Ag and Grassland Wildlife Program Manager, District Wildlife Biologist,
and Associate Wildlife Biologist. Prior to joining the IDNR, Mike worked as a
Biological Scientist Supervisor for the Florida Game and Freshwater Fish
Commission, as a contract biologist for the Tennessee Valley Authority, and as
a Ranger Assistant for the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. Mike
received his bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University in Zoology and
his master’s in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from the University of
Tennessee, Knoxville. He has been active in the Wildlife Society since graduate
school. Mike has been married to his college sweetheart, Maria since 1989. They
live in Morton Illinois and have 4 children, Bethany, Henry, Sarah, and Daniel.
Bethany is currently serving in the US Navy. Mike enjoys riding his bike, bow
hunting in his ghillie suit, stream fishing, watching his kids grow up, and
serving in local missions. Mike grew up on a hog and grain farm near
Shobonier, Illinois (Fayette County). To contact Mike, click here.
Urban Waterfowl Project Manager
Ben Williams is the Urban Waterfowl Project Manager in the
Wetland Wildlife Program where he provides IDNR staff and the public with
technical assistance on urban waterfowl issues, including nuisance issues. He coordinates Canada goose nest destruction
permits as well as other migratory bird issues within the state. Ben assists the program manager by providing
recommendations on research, hunting plans, and other various waterfowl issues. He also serves on the Mississippi Flyway
Non-game Bird Technical Section. He is
originally from Minnesota, where he earned his B.Sc. at the University of
Minnesota Crookston but moved to Illinois to earn his M.Sc. at the University
of Illinois studying waterfowl spring migration. Ben enjoys spending his free time in duck
blinds and tree stands, or fishing, camping, hiking, exploring the outdoors,
and watching sports.
District Wildlife/Hunter Heritage Biologist
Kaleb Wood is a Hunter Heritage District Wildlife Biologist based out of Champaign, where his focus is increasing recreational opportunities and access for hunters in Illinois while improving habitat conditions. He received his B.S. in Environmental Biology from Eastern Illinois University. Before achieving this title, he gained experience the with INHS, NGRREC, Macon County Conservation District, and as a Wildlife Intern and Natural Heritage Graduate Resident with the IDNR. Outside of work he enjoys hunting, fishing, dirt racing, hiking with his dogs, or working on the farm he grew up on. To contact Kaleb, click here.