Illinois DNR Newsbits - December 2019

Rachel Torbert
Illinois DNR Newsbits - December 2019
Firearm Deer Season:  The 2019 Illinois Firearm Deer Season concludes Dec. 5-8. A limited number of county permits for firearm deer hunting remain available and can be purchased over-the-counter from DNR Direct license and permit vendors. For more information on Illinois deer hunting, visit

Archery Deer and Fall Turkey Permits:  Illinois Archery Deer and Illinois Archery Fall Turkey seasons are open through Jan. 19, 2020 (archery seasons are closed during the final weekend of Firearm Deer Season, Dec. 5-8, in counties open to firearm deer hunting). Permits are available over-the-counter at DNR Direct license and permit vendors. Find a vendor near you at
Archery, Firearm, Muzzleloader, and Late-Winter/CWD Seasons CWD Sampling: Deer hunters statewide are encouraged to allow samples to be taken from adult deer they harvest for chronic wasting disease (CWD) sampling. Check the IDNR website at this link for locations that are serving as CWD sampling stations, taking samples from entire deer or deer heads through Jan. 19, 2020:

Late-Winter/CWD Season Information:  For details on the upcoming 2019-20 Late-Winter Antlerless-only and Special Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) deer seasons, visit For a map of Late-Winter season and Special CWD season open counties, visit

Holiday Tours at Jarrot Mansion:  Check out a special holiday season treat with a chance to learn the story of St. Nicholas and tour the beautiful Jarrot Mansion in Cahokia. St. Nicholas – or Père Noël, as he became known to the French – will visit the Jarrot Mansion State Historic Site in Cahokia Saturday, Dec. 7 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to greet families and share treats with children amid candlelight and traditional holiday decorations. The Jarrot Mansion, one of the oldest brick homes in Illinois, was built around 1810 by merchant Nicholas Jarrot, one of many French settlers who prospered in early Illinois. It will be open for free tours during the event, with St. Nicholas scheduled to stay from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. The Jarrot Mansion State Historic Site is located at 124 East First Street in Cahokia. For more information, call 618-332-1782.

Davis Mansion Christmas Event:  The 2019 “Christmas At the Mansions” event in Bloomington Saturday, Dec. 7, from 2:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. will feature holiday festivities at two of Illinois’ most beautiful historic homes. The event will include special holiday tours of the historic David Davis Mansion, home of Judge David Davis, his wife Sarah and their family as they celebrate “An Old-Fashioned Christmas.”  Holiday revelers also will be invited to tour the stately Ewing Manor as part of the event in which both homes will be elegantly decorated for Christmas. Tour tickets may be purchased in advance for $15.00 at the David Davis Mansion Visitors Center, Casey’s Garden Center, The Garlic Press, HyVee, or either Schnucks location in Bloomington-Normal. Tickets also may be purchased for $16.00 online at  Tickets purchased the day of the event will be $18.00 and will only be available at the David Davis Mansion.

Old-Fashioned Christmas at Lincoln Log Cabin:  Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site presents an Old-Fashioned Christmas holiday event Saturday, Dec. 7 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., with music and treats for the entire family. The cabin’s historic interpreters will discuss the ever-changing Christmas traditions during Abraham Lincoln’s time and how the Greek bishop St. Nicholas came to be known as Santa Claus. The Visitor’s Center will feature music, snacks and family-friendly activities. Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site is part of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. It re-creates the 19th century home of Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, father and stepmother of the president. The site is eight miles south of Charleston and is open Wednesday through Sunday for free public tours.

Super Saturday at the Illinois State Museum:  Children and their families are invited to learn more about how animals adapt to Illinois’ cold winter months during the Winter Wonderland Super Saturday event at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield Saturday, Dec. 7 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Participants will learn how animals and people alike adapt to the winter cold, create winter crafts that can be given as gifts, and build a snowman. Super Saturday activities are recommended for children ages 5 and up and their caregivers. For more information, contact or call 217-782-6044.

Vandalia Statehouse Christmas Open House:  The oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois is putting on its best holiday duds and throwing its doors open to the public the evening of Saturday, Dec. 14 for candlelight tours as part of the annual Vandalia Statehouse Christmas Open House. The first 100 families to visit will receive free Christmas ornaments. Visitors to the Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site will find the building illuminated by more than 150 candles and trimmed with holiday decorations. Visitors also can bring non-perishable or canned food items that will be donated to the local food pantry. The free festivities are scheduled for 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Vandalia Historical Society will provide cookies and hot apple cider. For more information, call 618-283-1161. 

Youth Goose Hunt:  Youth interested in participating in the annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt, sponsored by the IDNR, may register now for the hunt scheduled for Jan. 19-20, 2020. To register for a drawing to participate in the hunt, youth hunters must phone in to the IDNR at 217-785-8060 by the registration deadline of Friday, Jan. 3, 2020. The youth goose hunt will be held at private waterfowl hunting clubs in the Canton area in Fulton County. A lottery drawing involving all youth who phone in to register will be conducted Jan. 6, 2020, and youth hunters selected will be notified by mail. First-time applicants will be given a priority over previous participants in the drawing. The hunt is open to youth ages 10-17 at the time of the hunt.
Spring Turkey Applications:  Hunters may apply from Dec. 3, 2019 through Jan. 13, 2020 for the second lottery for 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits. Visit for more information.

IRAP Spring Turkey Hunting:  Youth and adult hunters can apply now for 2020 spring turkey hunting sites through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP). IDNR has leased more than 16,000 acres of private land for the upcoming 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season through IRAP, and sites are available free of charge to successful applicants during the spring youth turkey hunt and during the third and fourth segments of the spring turkey season. To participate as a youth hunter (age 17 and under), hunters and their supervisors must fill out an IRAP application and send it in by Feb. 22, 2020 to be eligible for the IRAP youth drawing. A total of 180 sites are available in 38 counties for the two-weekend youth season (March 28-29 and April 4-5, 2020). More IRAP sites are available for spring turkey season segments 3 and 4 to youth and adult turkey hunters. These sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible, a hunter must first apply for his or her spring turkey permit through the IDNR lottery for an IRAP-eligible county (see the map on the IRAP webpage). Once a hunter receives his or her spring turkey permit, he or she may apply for an IRAP turkey site in the county for which he or she received their turkey permit. Preference is given to youth hunters and first-time adult hunters. IDNR spring turkey hunting information can be found at Applications for IRAP Turkey Hunting sites can be found online at

Music at the Museum:  Ted Yoder’s passionate playing style and easy-going personality make him a natural online star, and he brings his talents to Springfield and the Illinois State Museum’s Music at the Museum concert series Thursday, Dec. 12 at 7:00 p.m. Yoder’s talent and showmanship are steeped in an Appalachian musical tradition. He has played the dulcimer for decades, winning the America’s National Hammered Dulcimer Championship in 2010. Tickets will be available at the door. For more information on the featured acts and a full series schedule, visit

Arrival at Winter Camp Event at Lewis and Clark Site: The anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s arrival at their Illinois winter camp will be celebrated during the annual Arrival at Winter Camp River Dubois weekend, scheduled for Dec. 14-15 at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site. Activities will be held both days inside the Interpretive Center and the replica of Camp River Dubois. The event is free and open to the public. The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for free public tours and is located along Illinois Route 3 north of I-270 in Hartford, Ill. 
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