Illinois DNR Newsbits - May 2018

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits - May 2018
Firearm Deer Permit Applications:  Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2018 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30.  For more information, check the IDNR website at

Mushroom Collecting:  Reminder to mushroom collectors – no license is required, but mushroom collectors must have landowner permission and, on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting regulations and hours.  Collection of mushrooms is allowed at many IDNR sites, 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 are not open to mushroom collecting until after 1 p.m. daily during the spring turkey season to ensure the safety of all site visitors.  Be sure to call ahead to the state site you intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations regarding mushroom collecting.

Stratton Lock and Dam Open for 2018 Season:  The IDNR William G. Stratton Lock and Dam on the Fox River in McHenry has opened for the 2018 boating season, as of May 1. Through Sept. 30, the Stratton lock tenders will operate the facility seven days a week from 8 a.m. until midnight.  From October 1-31, operating hours will be 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.  The lock is closed for the season each year from Nov. 1 through April 30.

Don’t Bother Wildlife Babies:  Spring brings new life to the landscape in Illinois, and it is a season when people may come in contact with young wildlife.  Young animals are often left alone while their parents are away searching for food. Do not touch or move young animals unless you are absolutely sure that it is an orphan or severely injured. Many species return to their young near dusk and dawn. A young animal that looks well-fed with bright eyes and clean fur or feathers is probably not orphaned. If the animal does need help, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice.  Find contact information on the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website:

Kids Day at Fort de Chartres May 5:  Fort de Chartres State Historic Site will host a Kids Day free family event on Sat., May 5 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., with period games, contests, and crafts for children. Volunteer interpreters will be on site to allow children to try their hand at 18th century rope making, archery, and other activities. Kids can enlist to be a Fort de Chartres French Marine. Concessions will be available for sale throughout the day. Kids Day is supported by the Prairie du Rocher Chamber of Commerce and is sponsored by Les Amis du Fort de Chartres. Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is located at 1350 IL Route 155, four miles west of Prairie du Rocher in Randolph Co.  For more event information, call 618-284-7230.

Storytelling Event May 5 at Cahokia Mounds:  Native American storyteller Gayle Ross will be at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site on Sat., May 5 at 2 p.m. as part of the 36th Annual St. Louis Storytelling Festival, sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Gayle Ross is a descendant of John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation during and after the infamous Trail of Tears of the late 1830s. Her grandmother told stories, and Gayle’s storytelling springs from this rich heritage. The program is free and open to the public, and will be held in the Cahokia Mounds Interpretive Center auditorium. Cahokia Mounds is located just off Interstates 55/70 (Exit 6), and I-255 (Exit 24) on Collinsville Road. For more information, call 618-345-6454.

INPC Meeting on May 8:  The 229th meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tues., May 8 beginning at 10 a.m. at the DeSoto House Ballroom, 230 S. Main St., Galena, IL 61036.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone the INPC at 217-785-8686.

Oil and Gas Board Meeting on May 10:  The Illinois Oil and Gas Advisory Board will meet on Thurs., May 10 at 10 a.m. at the Illinois Oil and Gas Association building, 824 E. IL Highway 15, Mt. Vernon, IL.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8688.

Jazz at Illinois State Museum on May 10:  The Illinois State Museum’s monthly “Music at the Museum” concert series on Thur., May 10 at 7 p.m. will feature jazz from the husband and wife team of Greg Pasenko and Diane Deline. Deline is a violinist, composer, recording artist and educator.  Pasenko is a dynamic jazz singer, guitarist, and composer. “Music at the Museum” is a monthly concert series produced by Chris Vallillo featuring the best in contemporary and traditional folk and acoustic music of all styles. Concerts are held the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Museum auditorium. Tickets are available at the door, priced at $10 for adults, and $8 for Museum members and children under 12.

18th Century Surveying Demonstration at Fort de Chartres on May 12: The art of 18th century surveying will be on display at the Fort de Chartres State Historic Site on Sat., May 12 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.  Visitors will participate in demonstrations on how to work with a compass to obtain bearings, and a Gunter’s chain (surveyor’s chain) to measure distances. After collecting data, the information will be transferred to paper using scales, dividers and protractors to produce the beginnings of a map. The event is free and open to the public. For event information please visit Fort de Chartres State Historic Site is located at 1350 State Route 155, Prairie du Rocher, IL 62277. For site information, phone 618-284-7230.

Sandburg Songbag Concert May 13 in Galesburg:  A mix of American pop and folk music, along with some Celtic and original tunes, will be featured at the May performance of the Carl Sandburg Songbag Concert Series.  John Heasly and Jerry Schroeder will perform on Sun., May 13, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site in Galesburg.  Heasly and Schroeder will feature acoustic guitar and vocal harmonies.  The performance will be in the Sandburg site’s barn at 313 E. Third Street in Galesburg. The series is named in honor of Carl Sandburg’s book “The American Songbag,” published in 1927.  The Carl Sandburg State Historic Site includes the home where the famed poet and biographer was born. For more information, visit

Brown Bag Free Talk May 16 in Springfield:  The great diversity of Chinese culture will be the focus on the monthly Brown Bag Lecture on May 16 at 12 noon at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center in Springfield. The Springfield Chinese community gathers together to celebrate Chinese New Year every year, with a variety of performances that reflect the great diversity of Chinese culture. Dr. Hong Qian will show videos of selected performances and tell stories behind them during his lunchtime talk. The event is free and open to the public, and those attending are invited to bring their lunch. Brown Bag Lectures are held at the ISM Research and Collections Center at 1011 E. Ash St. in Springfield. For additional information, phone 217-558-6696.

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

Bowfishing Fest May 19 at Des Plaines SFWA:  The Illinois’ Bowfishing Festival and Conservation Shoot at the Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area boat access area is scheduled for Sat., May 19. The all-day festival will feature bowfishing instruction and ranges, fishing instruction for kids with supervised rod-reel fishing opportunities, fish cleaning and cooking demonstrations (with free samples of delicious fish), and activities for children and families. The Conservation Shoot bowfishing tournament – coordinated by the Bowfishing Association of Illinois – will target bighead carp, silver carp, grass carp and common carp.  Bowfishing enthusiasts can register for the tournament by email at Festival hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with free admission and free parking. Des Plaines SFWA is located just off I-55, approximately 8 miles south of I-80, at the I-55 Wilmington exit #241.

Let’s Fly a Kite May 19 at Dickson Mounds Museum:  Join the fun for an afternoon of kite flying on the grounds of Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown.  The free Family Day event is on Sat., May 19 from 1-4 p.m.  There will be expert instruction on kite flying, plus a live music performance by the Bug Trotters.  For more information, phone 309-547-3721.

Wear Your Life Jacket:  National Safe Boating Week is May 19-25.  Life jackets save lives, and Illinois law requires that life jackets or life vests (personal floatation devices, PFDs) 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.  For more information, check the National Safe Boating Council’s “Wear It” campaign website at

Binding Together Illinois on May 20 at Illinois State Museum:  The May program in the Illinois Bicentennial Speaker Series at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield features a presentation by Dr. Norman Moline on “Binding Our State Together:  200 Years of Canals, Railroads, Postal Services and Roads.” The free program is on Sun., May 20 at 2 p.m. In Illinois, as in most places, people and communities have sought to connect with other places through modes of transportation and communication for cultural, economic and political reasons. Historical geographer Norman Moline will provide a broad survey of the development of Illinois’ connections since 1818.  The program 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.

Gallery Talk May 23 at Illinois State Museum:  Join art enthusiasts at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield for an engaging tour of the exhibition “Gertrude Abercrombie:  Portrait of the Artist as a Landscape” on Wed., May 23 at 7 p.m. The gallery talk and tour will be led by Susan Weininger, the leading scholar and author of multiple comprehensive essays on Gertrude Abercrombie’s art and life. Ms. Weininger will discuss Abercrombie's highly dream-like, symbolic paintings, love of jazz, and involvement in the art world of Chicago in the late 1930s through the 1960s. The tour is free for those who register in advance by contacting Meghan Lindstrom at or 217-782-0979.

Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair:  Mark your calendars and join the fun at the annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, IL on Sat., June 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.  The free event features fun for children and families.  For details, call 618-786-3323.

Free Fishing Days:  Illinois Free Fishing Days are scheduled for June 15-18, 2018.  For more information on fishing in Illinois:
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