Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2019

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2019
2019 Licenses Now Available:  Don’t forget to buy 2019 Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman combination licenses now from Illinois DNR license and permit vendors throughout the state, or online through the IDNR website at The new license year has begun, and 2019 licenses will be valid through March 31, 2020.

Spring Trout Season Opens April 6:  The 2019 Illinois Spring Trout Fishing Season opens on Sat., April 6 at 59 lakes and ponds throughout Illinois.  Fishing licenses and Inland Trout Stamps for those interested in fishing for trout are available at Illinois DNR license and permit vendors, and online through the IDNR website.  For a list of locations stocked for the spring trout season and more details:

Apply Now for Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits:  Residents of Illinois can apply now through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2019 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 2019 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 22-24 (first season) and Dec. 5-8 (second season). The 2019 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 13-15 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 5-8).

NASP State Tournament April 5-6 in Springfield:  The IDNR will host the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) Illinois State Tournament on Fri., April 5 and Sat., April 6 at the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. Participation remains strong as nearly 1,000 archers from 36 schools have registered to compete. The first shooting flight begins at 8 a.m. both days, and awards will be presented after the conclusion of the last flight on April 6. Top finishers qualify for the NASP U.S. Eastern Nationals to be held May 9-11 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Mount Pulaski Courthouse History in April:  Visitors are invited to the Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site during the month of April to view a model of the recreation of the Abraham Lincoln hearse that carried President Lincoln to his final resting place at Springfield’s Oak Ridge Cemetery 154 years ago. On Sat., April 6, the Mount Pulaski Courthouse will host a reception with coffee and cookies from 12:00 noon-4:00 p.m.  The creator of the Lincoln hearse model, Mr. Eugene Letterly, will be there to greet visitors during the reception. The Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site is open each Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 noon-4:00 p.m. For more information, call 217-792-3919.

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.

Wildflower Walks at Giant City:  Enjoy the beauty of spring in southern Illinois during upcoming Spring Wildflower Walks at Giant City State Park on Sat., April 6, Sat., April 13 and Thurs., April 18.  Each walk is scheduled from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. Trillium Trail in Giant City is one of the most diverse spring wildflower trails in southern Illinois. Join the park interpreter in meandering through the spring woods and take a closer look at these petite beauties. This program is free and open to the public, but please register in advance by calling 618-457-4836.

Hunter and Boating Safety Education Courses:  Register now for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations:

Be A Hero – Remove, Drain and Dry:  As the busy Illinois boating season begins, remember to “Be a Hero, Transport Zero” to limit the spread of aquatic invaders into Illinois waterways.  Remove plants, animals, and mud from all equipment.  Drain all water from your boat and gear.  Dry everything thoroughly with a towel.

Fishing Information Booklet:  The 2019 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available at many IDNR license and permit vendor locations, and in PDF format online at this link:  Regulations in the guide took effect on April 1, 2019.  A reminder to anglers and would-be anglers that Illinois Free Fishing Days will be during the Father’s Day weekend on June 14-17.

Recycled Play Day April 6 at Illinois State Museum:  Bring the kids to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sat., April 6 for a Recycled Play Day.  The green fun returns as the Museum kicks off Earth Month with engaging activities centered on reducing, reusing, and recycling. Participants will work together to build a giant playhouse out of repurposed cardboard boxes. Children will also enjoy environmental games and recycled art projects. Activities are recommended for children ages 5 and up with an adult. For additional information, call 217-782-6044. Recycled Play Day is sponsored by Bank of Springfield.

Music at the Museum April 11:  Saskatoon native and Ontario transplant Roots and Blues singer Suzie Vinnick has a voice you’ve heard a thousand times and one you’ll never forget. She performs on Thursday, April 11 at 7 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum’s “Music at the Museum” concert in Springfield.  Vinnick’s voice soars from a deep well of emotion. The pure joy she exudes when she picks up a guitar is worth the show. Vinnick is a 10-time winner of the Maple Blues Award for songwriting, female vocalist, acoustic act and more. Tickets will be available at the door.  For more information on the featured acts and a full “Music at the Museum” series schedule, visit

Sandburg Songbag Concert April 14 in Galesburg:  Dan Zahn and Kate Moretti, who flavor their folk music with a love of jazz, will perform April 14 at the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site in Galesburg as part of the Sandburg Songbag Concert Series.  The April 14 Songbag performance by Zahn and Moretti will be in the Sandburg site’s Barn at 313 E. Third Street in Galesburg. The show starts at 4 p.m. and ends at 6 p.m. with a break for refreshments around 5 p.m. A donation of $5 per person is suggested.  Carl Sandburg was a collector and performer of America’s folk songs. The series is named in honor of 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

Museum After Hours April 26:  Remember when Mr. Wizard, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and Beakman’s World made science fun? Relive your childhood love of science with messy experiments, weird collections objects, and science trivia at “Museum After Hours” at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Friday, April 26, 5-8 p.m.  The event, for those 21 and older, includes beverages from Obed and Isaac's Microbrewery and Danenberger Family Vineyards and food available for purchase. Tickets will be available at the door or can be purchased online.  Check the ISM website for more information:

Camping Reservations:  Make your 2019 Illinois state park campsite reservations now.  Just go to the Reserve America website at and be all set for your camping trips in the months ahead.

Wildflower Pilgrimage at Starved Rock: Join the annual Wildflower Pilgrimage hikes at Starved Rock State Park on Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5. Hikes leave the Visitors Center at 9:30 a.m., 11 a.m., and 1 p.m. on both days.  Hiking Options: Starved Rock and French Canyon (3/4-mile hike); Eagle Cliff and Lovers Leap Overlooks (1.4-mile hike) and Wildcat Canyon with overlooks (2-mile hike). Spring is such a beautiful time of year at Starved Rock, with waterfalls, mossy canyons, and spring wildflowers everywhere. Join experienced naturalists for these one-of-a-kind trail experiences to find spring wildflowers and learn about their natural history. 

INPC Meeting:  The 232nd meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tuesday, May 14 beginning at 10 a.m. at the Crystal Lake Park District Rotary Building, 431 N. Walkup Avenue, Crystal Lake, IL 60014. The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone the INPC at 217-785-8686.

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