IDNR Newsbits - May 2014

Chris Young
IDNR Newsbits - May 2014
Your Fish and Wildlife Funds:  Thank you for supporting conservation in Illinois by purchasing a hunting or fishing license. Your license dollars are deposited into the state's Wildlife and Fish Fund. Money collected from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, stamps, and other related fees can only be used for projects such as fish stocking, population surveys, habitat projects, and conservation police officers who protect fish and wildlife.  Learn more about your wildlife and fish funds:

Shark Fin Update:  A shark fin seized as part of an Illinois Conservation Police initiative to prevent illegal commerce in shark fins and related products has been donated to the Field Museum in Chicago. Officer Jed Whitchurch made the donation April 28 to Dr. Kevin Feldheim of the museum. Illinois Conservation Police waited until all cases were completed before making the donation.  In late 2013, Illinois CPOs purchased shark fin items from six different businesses in Chicago.  Items included shark fin soup advertised on a restaurant menu; four cans of shark fin soup; three packages of frozen shark fin; and, three dried shark fin soup kits. The soup kits suspected of containing shark fins were taken to the Field Museum for DNA analysis. Testing confirmed the presence of shark DNA from the Carcharhinid family, a group of sharks with about 50 species worldwide.  On Feb. 28, officers returned to those businesses to issue citations and to check for additional violations.  Four businesses and their owners were cited.

Firearm Deer Permit Applications:  Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2014 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits.  Non-resident applications can be submitted beginning May 6.  The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30.  For more information, check the IDNR website at

Camping Reservations:  Spring and summer are great times for camping in Illinois.  Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at using a Visa or MasterCard.   For more information, check the IDNR website at

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 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.  Spring turkey seasons end May 8 in the South Zone and May 15 in the North Zone.

Bald Eagle Release:  Everyone is invited to the release back into the wild of two bald eagles.  The young eagles were discovered injured last year, and were brought to Hoo Haven Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center in Durand, IL.  They 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 � have been restored to health by Hoo Haven 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.

Cache River Nature Fest:  Join the fun at the annual Cache River Nature Fest on Sat., May 10 at the Henry N. Barkhausen Cache River Wetlands Center.  All activities are free and feature live animal exhibits, guided bike and canoe tours, and hands-on activities. Special presentations include bowfishing demonstrations, programs on swamp rabbits, close-up views of live owls and hawks, and much more. For more information, contact the Cache River Wetlands Center at 618-657-2064 or check online at  The event is rain or shine from 9 a.m. � 4 p.m. on Sat., May 10 at the Cache River Wetlands Center, 8885 State Route 37 South, Cypress, IL 62923. 

Bike to Work:  May is National Bike Month, and May 12-16 is national Bike to Work Week.  A special day is National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16.  Go riding during May, or anytime, and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycle riding and biking to work.

Trails Brochure Now Available:  Illinois offers a remarkable variety of bike trails, providing countless opportunities to experience the state�s diverse natural resources and communities. Trails offer recreation and transportation within communities, connecting neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and parks. Trails also connect communities with each other. Trails are often located within greenways, which help to protect open space resources.  Find a copy of the Illinois Bike Trails 2014 brochure on the IDNR website at:

Invasive Species:  May is Invasive Species Awareness Month in Illinois.  Invasive species include plants like garlic mustard, buckthorn and kudzu, aquatic species like Asian carp and zebra mussels, and animals like feral swine.  Learn more about these and other invasive species at  About 100 events are planned statewide to allow citizens to participate in Invasive Species Awareness Month activities. For more information, go to the website at

 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:

INPC Meeting:  The Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will meet on Tuesday, May 6 at 9 a.m. at the Four Rivers Environmental Center Grand Hall, 25055 West Walnut Lane, Channahon, IL. The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8686.

Oil and Gas Board:  The Illinois Oil and Gas Advisory Board will meet on Wed., May 7, 2014 at 10 a.m. The meeting will be held at Anthony�s Wild West, 107 East North Avenue, Flora, IL.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-782-3718.

ESPB Meeting:  The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will meet on Fri., May 16 at 9 a.m. at the Helen Matthes Public Library, 100 E. Market Ave., Effingham, IL.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8687.

Super Saturdays:  The May Super Saturdays at the Museum program at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield will allow youth to �Mimic the Masters� as they create their own art masterpieces. The free program is on Sat., May 10 from 11 a.m.-3 p.m.  Children will use straws to splatter paint in the style of Jackson Pollock, and create a flower collage using texture like Vincent van Gogh.  For more information, call 217-782-6044.  The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield.

Science Series:  �Purging for Purity: Black Drink Ceremonialism at 12th Century Cahokia� is the topic of the May Science Series program at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield.  Presented by Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, the program features Black Drink, one of many caffeine-containing beverages consumed by people around the world.  Its presence at the large 11th to 14th century Cahokia site near St. Louis was suspected, but unproven. Black Drink consumption now appears to have been part of the complex network of exchange and religious rituals at Cahokia.  The free program begins at 7 p.m. on Wed., May 14 at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash, Springfield.  For more information, phone 217-782-0061 or 217-785-0037.

Spring Bird Count:  The Illinois Natural History Survey is again coordinating the annual Spring Bird Count in Illinois on May 10-11.  Learn more:

Mound Survey:  Join staff at the Dickson Mounds Museum for a Nature Track Mound Survey program on Sat., May 24 from 9-11 a.m.  The most obvious evidence of the prehistoric past of the area is manifest by earthworks built for a variety of purposes.  The program will include visits to several earthworks located in the Lewistown-Havana area, and discussion about what experts know about them. Participants will receive a field guide for the trip.  Dress appropriately for outdoor conditions. Participants will provide their own transportation. Registration is not required. Free and open to the public. For more information, call 309-547-3721.  Dickson Mounds Museum is located at 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown, IL, 61542.

Wear a Life Jacket:  As the busy boating season begins, IDNR urges boat operators and passengers to �Wear It!� � a reminder to wear a life jacket whenever they�re on the water in Illinois.  National Safe Boating Week is May 17-23.  Life jackets save lives on the water, and Illinois law requires that personal floatation devices (PFDs) � life jackets or life vests � be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft.  State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property.  Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft.

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

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