Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2015

Chris Young
Illinois DNR Newsbits - April 2015
Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Permits:  Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2015 Illinois Firearm and Muzzleloader-only Deer Season permits.  Hunters can apply online through the IDNR website Application forms in PDF format are also available online at this link:

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 2015 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 20-22 (first season) and Dec. 3-6 (second season). The 2015 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 11-13 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 3-6).

Time for 2015 Licenses:  Buy a 2015 Illinois hunting, fishing, or sportsman�s combination license today.  Illinois� new license year began April 1.  Licenses for 2015 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website, or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2015 licenses are valid through Mar. 31, 2016, unless otherwise noted. When buying a license, add a donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support youth hunting and fishing programs.  An additional $5.00 donation to the ICF will help recruit the next generation of outdoors enthusiasts. 

Camping Reservations:  Now�s the time to make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at   For more information, check the IDNR website at

Spring Trout Season Opens April 4:  The 2015 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois will begin at 5 a.m. on Sat., April 4. The catchable trout program is made possible through the sale of inland trout stamps to those anglers who participate. Unless exempt, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp. A list of sites for the spring catchable trout program is available on the IDNR website at this link:

Free Fishing Days for 2015:  Mark your calendars for the 2015 Illinois Free Fishing Days promotion on June 5-8.

Hunter and Boating Safety Education:  Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR are posted on the IDNR website, where class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is

Illinois Boat Owners Reminded to Check Registration:  The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their current three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires on June 30, 2015.  Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at or 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 2015 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2015.  Water Usage Stamps are available over-the-counter from IDNR license and permit vendors.  Find a vendor through the IDNR website at

Neandertals:  The Illinois State Museum Science Series program on April 8 is �There Are Neandertals Among Us!�  Presented by Dr. Fred H. Smith of Illinois State University, the program examines the debate over the role of Neandertals (commonly spelled Neanderthal) in the ancestry of modern people -- the longest running controversy in human evolutionary studies, and one of the oldest in science. Enjoy the free program on Wed., April 8 at 7 p.m. at the Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash in Springfield.  For more information, phone 217-782-0061.

Earth and Me:  Bring the kids to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sat., April 11 for a free Super Saturdays event �The Earth and Me.� The Earth is an incredible planet, and it is our job to protect and preserve it. Visit the Illinois State Museum to celebrate our home planet and learn easy steps to better the environment.  The free event is from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sat., April 11 at the Illinois State Museum, 502 S. Spring St., Springfield in the State Capitol Complex. 

Wingshooting Clinics:  The IDNR and its partners and co-sponsors will be holding wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois through early November this year.  Most clinics are conducted on weekends.  Youth/Women�s Wingshooting Clinics are about learning to safely shoot a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability.  Girls and boys typically in the 10-15 age group � and women of all ages � are eligible to participate. Hunter Wingshooting Clinics are hands-on, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations.  Check the wingshooting clinic schedule online at

Becoming an Outdoors Woman:  Registration is open now for the IDNR �Becoming an Outdoors Woman� Workshop on June 5-7 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon, Illinois. �Becoming an Outdoors Woman� workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Class instruction is offered in a fun, non-competitive, and hands-on environment. BOW workshops are very popular, so register early.  The cost of $225 per person includes lodging, class instruction, use of equipment, transportation during the event, supplies and giveaways. Registration information is online at 

IDNR Site Safety Reminder:  Mushroom collectors and other 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 turkey hunting area restrictions are in place for the safety of site visitors and hunters.

Mushroom Collecting:  No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, but mushroom collectors always need landowner permission and, on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting 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 to ensure the safety of all site visitors.  Mushroom hunters are urged to call ahead to the state site they intend to visit to learn of any site-specific regulations regarding mushroom collecting.

Text Talks:  The next Text Talk gallery discussion at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield features artists of a variety of media with works in the exhibition �Pro-Text:  When Words Enter Visual Art.�  The discussion on Thursday, April 16 at 7 p.m. features artists Stanley Bly, Ruthann Mazrim and Kevin Veara.  ISM Assistant Director of Art and Pro-Text curator Robert Sill will moderate the discussion. The program is free and open to the public.  The Illinois State Museum is at 502 S. Spring St., Springfield.  For more information on the Pro-Text exhibition, check the ISM website at

Bubble Show:  For unique free family entertainment, visit the Dickson Mounds Museum for �Ben�s Bubble Show� on Sunday, April 19 at 1 p.m.  See Ben use his bare hands to create beautiful, humorous, and mindboggling soap bubble sculptures. Admission is free. Seating is limited. Free tickets will be available at noon the day of the show and may be picked up at the Dickson Mounds Museum's lobby on a first-come, first-served basis.  For more information, phone 309-547-3721.  Dickson Mounds Museum is located at 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown.  

INPC Meeting:  The next meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tuesday, May 5 at 9 a.m. at the Winthrop Harbor Yacht Club, 701 North Point Road, Winthrop Harbor, IL 60096.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8686. 

ESPB Meeting:  The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board will meet on Friday, May 15 at 9 a.m. at the Lowell Park Nature Center, 2114 Lowell Park Road, Dixon, IL 61021.  The meeting is open to the public.  For more information, phone 217-785-8687.

Memorial Open Water Swim at Lincoln Trail State Park:  Make plans to participate or attend the annual Geoffrey Keller Memorial Open Water Swim on Sat., June 6 at Lincoln Trail Lake at Lincoln Trail State Park, Marshall, IL.  The event will be held in honor of the late Geoffrey Keller in support of Malignant Hyperthermia awareness.  For more information, contact the Lincoln Trail State Park office at 217-826-2222, or check the website at
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