Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2017

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2017
Youth Turkey Record:  Youth turkey hunters harvested a preliminary record total of 1,541 birds during the 2017 Illinois Youth Turkey Season. The dates for this year’s season were March 25-26 and April 1-2. This was the first year two youth turkey hunting weekends were open for the entire state. Previously, there was one weekend dedicated for the South Zone and one for the North Zone. In 2016, a total of 1,058 turkeys were harvested, combining both seasons and zones. The previous youth season record harvest was in 2012, when 1,300 birds were taken. For a list of county harvest totals for the Youth Turkey Season, check the IDNR website:

2017 Licenses:  The new license year in Illinois has begun, as of April 1.  Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses and stamps for 2017 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2017 licenses and stamps are valid through March 31, 2018, unless otherwise noted.

Apply for Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits:  Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2017 Illinois Firearm and Muzzleloader-only Deer Season permits.  Hunters can apply online through the IDNR website at
The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only.  Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries.  The 2017 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 17-19 (first season) and Nov. 30-Dec. 3 (second season). The 2017 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 8-10 (and in the second firearm season, Nov. 30-Dec. 3).

Fishing Information Booklet:  The 2017 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available in PDF format through the IDNR website at this link:
Regulations in the guide are effective through March 31, 2018. 

Free Fishing Days:  Illinois Free Fishing Days for 2017 are June 16-19, during the Father’s Day weekend.

NASP State Tournament:  Champions of the recent National Archery in the Schools Illinois State Tournament were Next Generation School of Champaign (Elementary School Div.), Champaign Jefferson Middle School Team #1 (Middle School Div.), and Champaign Centennial High School (High School Div.).  Topping the individual standings among females was Maria Heller of Champaign Centennial High School.  Spencer Weis of Champaign Centennial High School had the top individual score among males.  The NASP Illinois State Tournament, hosted by IDNR with approximately 1,000 students participating, was held on March 24-25 at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.  Top finishers qualified for the NASP National Tournament on May 11-13 in Louisville, KY. 

Ancient Illinois: “Just Outside Cahokia (There's an Ancient History of Illinois)” is this month’s Paul Mickey Science Series free program at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Wed., April 12 at 7 p.m.  The history of the Mississippian people of Illinois has been dominated by the story of Greater Cahokia - a giant three-part metropolitan area that arose near St. Louis starting around 950 AD.  More attention is now shifting to central Illinois in the time before, during, and after Cahokia.  Dr. Duane Esarey, Assistant Director of the Illinois State Archaeological Survey, will present the program in the Illinois State Museum auditorium, 502 South Spring St., Springfield. 

Kid’s Day at Dickson Mounds:  Dickson Mounds Museum hosts a Kid’s Day event on Sat., April 22 at 2 p.m. featuring a live one-hour magic show by world-class, award winning magician Mitch Williams.  Free tickets will be available in the Museum’s lobby beginning at 1 p.m.  Kids may enjoy crafts to make and take home before and after the show. Admission is free and registration is not required.  This Kid’s Day program is recommended for kids five years old and older with an adult.  The program is co-sponsored by the Lewistown Chamber of Commerce. 
Dickson Mounds is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97. The museum is open free to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. For more information call 309-547-3721.

Hunter and Boating Safety Education Courses:  Check the schedule and register now for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR.  Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations.  The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is

Turkey Hunting Safety Reminder:  Visitors to Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, and other IDNR-managed sites with spring turkey hunting programs in April and May 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 hunting area safety restrictions apply to all visitors, including mushroom collectors.  For turkey season dates, check the IDNR website:

Mushroom Collecting:  No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, but mushroom collectors always need landowner permission.  On public sites, mushroom collectors must adhere to approved regulations and hours.  Collection of mushrooms is allowed in many IDNR state parks, fish and wildlife, and other recreation areas, 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 turkey season to ensure the safety of all site visitors.  Mushroom collectors should call ahead to the IDNR site they intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations.

Boat Registration:  The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires on June 30, 2017.  Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at
Renewal can also be done 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. For details on Illinois watercraft registration requirements and three-year boat registration fees, check the IDNR website at 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 2017 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2017.  Water Usage Stamps are available over-the-counter from IDNR license and permit vendors.  Find a vendor through the IDNR website at

Clinton Lake Cleanup Day April 29:  Volunteers are needed for the annual Clinton Lake Cleanup Day on Sat., April 29.  For more information, phone 217-935-6757 or check this link:

INPC Meeting:  The 226th meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tuesday, May 9 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, IL 61010.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone the INPC at 217-785-8686.

Camping Reservations:  Make your reservations now for campsites and shelters for many IDNR sites.  Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America website at using a Visa or MasterCard.  
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