Illinois DNR Newsbits - February 2019

Ed Cross
Illinois DNR Newsbits - February 2019
Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic:  Plan to attend the annual National Pheasant Fest and Quail Classic as the event comes to Illinois for the first time at the Schaumburg Convention Center, Feb. 22-24. The event includes programs, seminars, displays and vendors with a focus on wildlife conservation, upland game bird hunting, dog training, and wildlife habitat management and restoration. Staff and volunteers from the IDNR and Illinois Conservation Foundation will be there to answer questions and discuss programs. For more information:

Spring Turkey Applications:  Hunters can apply for the third lottery for 2019 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits by the application deadline of Feb. 11. Go to the IDNR website for more information:

Fall Archery Turkey Harvest:  Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary statewide total of 738 wild turkeys during the 2018-2019 Fall Archery Turkey Season. The total compares with the statewide turkey harvest of 688 in 2017-2018. This past season, 23,146 permits were sold compared to 24,809 for the 2017-2018 season. The season dates were Oct. 1, 2018 – Jan. 20, 2019 and all 102 counties were open for hunting. Harvest consisted of 49.9% toms and 50.1% hens. The top counties for fall archery wild turkey harvest in the 2018-19 season were Jefferson (22), Cass (21), Macoupin (20), Marion (20), and Pike (19). A table that includes the preliminary 2018-2019 county-by-county fall archery turkey harvest results with comparable totals for 2017-2018 can be found at this link:

Wildlife Photography Exhibit Opens at Dickson Mounds: Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown in Fulton Co. welcomes visitors to view a new exhibit “The Wandering Flatlanders: A Photographic Journey for Illinois Wildlife, photography by Dwight Eddington and Kevin Wright.”  Both men are Fulton Co. residents.  The exhibit features a suite of Illinois wildlife photographs, many of which were taken at The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve, located near Dickson Mounds.  For more information, phone the Museum at 309-547-3721.
Pere Marquette Bald Eagle Days:  Enjoy watching bald eagles on the Illinois and Mississippi rivers near Pere Marquette State Park this winter by participating in one of the park’s popular Bald Eagle Days tours.  The informative programs are conducted on select winter dates.  Upcoming programs are on Feb. 7, 8, 14, 15, 22, and 25; and March 4 and 8. The programs are free, but registration is required by calling 618-786-3323.
Lincoln Birthday Event at Mt. Pulaski Courthouse on Feb. 9:  The Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site will host a birthday party for Abraham Lincoln on Sat., Feb. 9 from 12 noon to 4 p.m.  Visitors will be greeted by Abraham Lincoln (portrayed by John Walther) and General Ulysses S. Grant (portrayed by Larry Werline). At 1 p.m., General Grant will discuss his connections to Abraham Lincoln. There will be refreshments available for visitors to enjoy during the Lincoln’s Birthday celebration. Visitors of all ages are invited to the free event at the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse, located at 113 S. Washington St. in Mt. Pulaski.  Attorney Abraham Lincoln regularly argued cases in the second-floor courtroom at the courthouse, which was built in 1848.

Frogs of Southernmost Illinois on Feb. 9 at Giant City:  What frog is that? Join biologist John Palis at the Giant City State Park Visitors Center on Sat., Feb. 9 at 1 p.m. and learn to identify local frogs by sight and sound. John Palis will also share findings of ongoing frog surveying and monitoring projects he is conducting in southern Illinois. Weather permitting, those attending will visit a pond or two in the park after the talk to look for frogs. No registration is required. Call 618-457-4836 for more information.
Lincoln Celebration at Davis Mansion Feb. 9:  The David Davis Mansion State Historic Site will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s 210th birthday on Feb. 9 with a meet and greet with “President Lincoln” (portrayed by Randy Duncan). The free event starts at 9 a.m. with the final tour beginning at 3:30 p.m. Children and their families will get to meet Mr. Lincoln, take pictures with him and enjoy birthday cake at the home of one of Lincoln’s closest friends and political allies, Judge David Davis.  The Davis Mansion is located at 1000 Monroe Drive in Bloomington.

Camping Reservations: It is time to make reservations for campsites and shelters for many Illinois state parks and other IDNR sites for 2019. Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America website at using a Visa or MasterCard.

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

Vandalia Statehouse Celebrates Lincoln’s Birthday Feb. 9:  The Vandalia Statehouse State Historic Site will celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday with a special event on Sat., Feb. 9.
The free party, a tradition at the site since 1973, will be held from 1-3 p.m. Local historian Linda Hanabarger will lead visitors in songs such as “America” and “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Kevin Kaegy from the Bond County Historical Society will deliver a presentation at 1 p.m. on Lincoln and the Black Hawk War. The Vandalia Statehouse is the oldest surviving capitol building in Illinois, located at 315 W. Gallatin St., Vandalia, IL 62471. For more information, call 618-283-1161.

Music at the Museum:  The February concert in the “Music at the Museum” series at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield features The Deep Hollow.  This terrific trio has been described as a "stripped-down, harmony-laden ode to Americana." The Springfield band makes its Museum debut for a Valentine's Day concert on Thurs., Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.  Micah Walk, Liz Eckert, and Dave Littrell combine great harmonies with excellent writing that propelled them to a big win in the American Songwriter Magazine songwriting contest in 2014 and an album that reached #3 on the Folk DJ charts in 2016. Tickets will be available at the door. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.

“We Are Illinoisans” at the Illinois State Museum:  The Illinois State Museum in Springfield will open a new exhibition “We Are Illinoisans” on Feb. 23 exploring the stories of 14 immigrants to Illinois between the 18th century and today, as well as feature a display of more than 100 photos of dozens more submitted by the people of Illinois of their immigrant ancestors. The exhibition will run from Feb. 23 to June 3.  The public is invited to attend a “Museum After Hours: Preview Night” event on Feb. 22 from 5 – 8 p.m. to see this exhibit and two others before they open on Feb. 23. Tickets for Museum After Hours are $10 for members of the Museum Society and $15 for non-members. All tickets include a beverage, with additional beverages and food available for purchase. Tickets will be available at the door or online at

Earth Day in the Parks:  Applications will be accepted through Feb. 28 for 2019 Earth Day in the Parks events from the IDNR in which students and their teacher conduct natural resources stewardship activities, such as planting native wildflowers and grasses, building bird nesting boxes and removing invasive, exotic plants, at participating Illinois state parks. Participants are selected through an application process. The application form is available at
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