Illinois DNR Newsbits - July 2018

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits - July 2018
Check Your Boat Registration:  The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires in 2018.  Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at or by phone by calling 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. As of June 1, 2018, new or renewed three-year watercraft registrations will expire on Sept. 30 in the calendar year of expiration. For details on Illinois watercraft registration requirements and fees, check the IDNR website at  Non-motorized watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, or sail boards in Illinois, are no longer required to have a Water Usage Stamp.

Online Dove Permits:  Online applications will be accepted from July 7-21 for the second 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.  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 through Aug. 25.  For more information on dove hunting permit areas and free dove permits, check the IDNR website at

New Bicentennial Exhibition at ISM:  The Illinois State Museum has opened “Bicentennial and Beyond!  The Illinois Legacy Collection,” a major new exhibition in celebration of the state’s 200th birthday, featuring rare and rarely-seen artifacts from the Museum’s 13.5-million-object collection highlight the dynamic story of Illinois. The artifacts from a variety of disciplines include fine and decorative art, anthropology, archaeology, botany, history, geology, and zoology, chosen for the unique stories they tell about Illinois. The exhibition will be featured at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield through next Feb. 3. For more information:

Bicentennial Play in Springfield July 6-8:  A special play marking the Illinois Bicentennial, Anybody’s Story: 200 Years of Illinoisans and Their Stuff, will premiere on Friday and Saturday, July 6-7 at the historic Edwards Place, 700 North 4th Street, Springfield, at 7:30 p.m. and again at the Illinois State Museum in the Thorne Deuel Auditorium, 502 S. Spring Street, Springfield, at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, July 8.  The play, written and directed by Mark Beanblossom, is produced by the Springfield Art Association and the Illinois State Museum. Anybody's Story is a series of vignettes inspired by the objects in the "Bicentennial & Beyond! The Illinois Legacy Collection" exhibition at the Illinois State Museum. For more information:

Walk and Talk Bicentennial and Beyond: Take a journey through 200 years of Illinois history on a curator-led gallery walk through the "Bicentennial and Beyond! The Illinois Legacy Collection" exhibition at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Fri., July 6 at 2 p.m. Free with museum admission. Appropriate for all ages, with hands-on opportunities for children.  For additional information, phone 217-558-6696.

Bicentennial Super Saturday: Illinois has a big birthday coming up, and the Illinois State Museum’s Super Saturday event for kids on Sat., July 7 will help celebrate the Bicentennial.  Come to the museum for cake, activities, and games. For additional information, phone 217-558-6696. The event is sponsored by Bank of Springfield.

Concerts on Mt. Pulaski Courthouse Lawn July 11 and 25:  Families are invited to enjoy free concerts on the lawn of the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site on July 11 and July 25. Musician Chris Vallillo will perform at the concert on Wed., July 11.  The Mt. Pulaski Community Band will be featured on Wed., July 25. The concerts will begin at 7 p.m. Before each concert, the Mt. Pulaski Women in Business will serve ice cream and cake, beginning at 6 p.m.  A free will offering will be collected for a scholarship program. The Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site will be open for tours from 6-7 p.m. on the concert evenings, in addition to the regular Wednesday tour hours of 12 noon until 4 p.m.

Road Closures at JEPC:  A park road improvement/resurfacing project at Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass Co. will affect access to the site during the month of July, and will require the closure of the site’s Prairie Lake and Questing Hills campgrounds from July 16-27. The road project at Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA is scheduled to begin on July 9.  Site visitors may encounter road closures for several weeks while roadway improvements are made.

Music at the Museum: The July concert in the “Music at the Museum” series at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield features Ordinary Elephant on Thurs., July 12 at 7 p.m. Husband and wife duo Crystal and Pete Damore have been performing together since 2011, and their 2017 sophomore release ‘Before I Go’ established them nationally and internationally. Tickets will be available at the door.

Bicentennial Speaker Series July 15:  Learn about the history of Illinois industry and labor on Sun., July 15 at 2 p.m. as part of “The Culture and Heritage of Illinoisans” series at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield.  Beginning with 1850s railroad construction, Illinois boomed as an agricultural and industrial powerhouse. Mike Matejka, vice-president of the Illinois Labor History Society, will be the featured speaker. The program is free and open to the public.  The series is presented by the Academy of Lifelong Learning at Lincoln Land Community College in collaboration with the Illinois State Museum. For more information, phone 217-782-0979. 

The Universe from Aristotle to Einstein:  The Illinois State Museum’s Learning Series free program on Wed., July 18 at 7 p.m. takes you to the stars. Charles Schweighauser, Professor of Astronomy/Physics Emeritus, University of Illinois Springfield, will focus on the Atristotelian Universe, characterized by the Earth at the center of the system, the accepted interpretation of cosmological thought in the Western world for nearly 2,000 years. For additional information, phone 217-558-6696.

Rough Fish Roundup July 21:  Bowfishing enthusiasts should make plans now for the fourth annual Kaskaskia River Rough Fish Roundup bowfishing tournament on Sat., July 21 on the Kaskaskia River at Wood Duck Marina near Baldwin, Illinois.  The tournament is hosted by the Kaskaskia River State Fish and Wildlife Area (SFWA). It will be a daytime event taking place from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on July 21, and will consist of both a Boat and a Walking/Shore Division. The Boat Division will feature a Big 10 format, and the Walking/Shore division will feature a Big 3 format. Big Fish and Small Fish contests will also be held. Boat Division entry fees are $100.00 per boat, and teams may be comprised of one to four members. The Walking/Shore Division entry fee will be $25.00 per participant. For registration and more information, contact Kaskaskia River SFWA by phone at 618-785-2555, or email or

Camping Reservations:  Summer is a great time for camping in Illinois.  Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at using a credit card.
Wingshooting Clinics:  Wingshooting clinics will be conducted this summer and fall in Illinois at IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs and hunting preserves.  Most clinics are conducted on weekends. 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:

Kid’s Night – Bugs on July 28 at Dickson Mounds:  Bring your flashlights and lawn chairs for an outdoor adventure during “Kid’s Night:  Bugs” on Sat., July 28 from 8-11 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum, Lewistown.  Using special equipment to attract insects, entomology expert Jim Wiker will share his knowledge and teach participants about the different species of bugs.  The program will be geared toward families with children ages 5 and up.  Registration is not required. Admission is free.

Lewis and Clark Program Aug. 1 at Illinois State Museum:  Did you know that Lewis and Clark spent their first winter here in Illinois? In fact, they spent more time in Illinois than any other state, except for North Dakota.  Illinois was the "Point of Departure" for the Lewis and Clark Expedition on May 14, 1804. Learn more from Brad Winn of the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site on Wed., Aug. 1 at 7 p.m. during the free talk at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield.  Phone 217-558-6696 for more information.

Visit Conservation World at the Illinois State Fair:  Make plans to attend the 2018 Illinois State Fair in Springfield – and to spend some time at Conservation World on Aug. 10-19.  Conservation World is a 30-acre park on the state fairgrounds filled with family activities including fishing instruction, archery ranges, and expert information on habitat enhancement, state parks, wildlife, fish, and forestry.  Conservation World will be open daily from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Aug. 10-19. 

Safety Courses:  The 2018-19 fall hunting seasons in Illinois will be here soon. Check the schedule of IDNR Hunter Safety Education courses, many of which are scheduled in advance of the fall seasons.  Classes fill up quickly, so check the IDNR website for course locations and dates.  The web link for IDNR Safety Education courses is
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