Illinois Department of Natural Resources Newsbits

Chris McCloud
Stacey Solano
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Newsbits
La Salle Lake SFWA Hours:  A reminder to anglers that the hours of operation at La Salle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area have changed effective July 1.  From July 1 through September 30, La Salle Lake will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.  The site will be open Wednesdays through Sundays from 6 a.m. until sunset through Sept. 30.

Dispose of Fishing Line Properly: The IDNR reminds all anglers that the improper use and disposal of fishing line can have a dramatic impact on wildlife. In addition to being an eyesore along our waterways, many shore birds, migratory birds, waterfowl, and raptors have become entangled in monofilament and died. Shore birds and waterfowl have been entangled in the litter while wading or swimming. Raptors and fish-eating waterfowl have ingested hooks and monofilament from fish that broke the line. Help from anglers is needed to reduce the amount of fishing line in the environment. Properly dispose of unused fishing line and plastic spools in trash containers or collection receptacles. Replacing your fishing line annually can reduce the chance of breaking the line. Help keep Illinois� waterways clean by picking up discarded monofilament and tackle along the shore.

Oregon Trail Days Festival at Lowden State Park:  Visit Oregon, Illinois during the annual Oregon Trail Days Festival at Lowden State Park, July 15-17.  The event helps commemorate the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Lorado Taft�s Eternal Indian statute, an iconic Rock River bluff landmark that was dedicated in July 1911.  For details on the Oregon Trail Days Festival and ways to help support a project to repair and maintain the statue, check the website at  Learn more about the history of the statue at Lowden State Park in the July edition of OutdoorIllinois magazine.

Safety Education:  Now�s the time to begin planning for the upcoming 2011 hunting seasons in Illinois by checking the schedule of IDNR Hunter Safety Education courses.  There are plenty of Hunter Safety classes scheduled in advance of the fall seasons � and summertime is the ideal time to register.  Classes fill up quickly, so check the IDNR website for scheduled classes (more are being added each week).  The web link for IDNR Safety Education courses is

Deer Permits:  The deadline is Aug. 15 to apply for the second lottery drawing for 2011 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting permits.  The remaining non-resident 2011 Illinois combination archery deer hunting permits, resident combination archery deer permits, resident and non-resident antlerless-only archery deer permits, and archery fall turkey hunting permits will be available beginning Aug. 2.  Check the IDNR website to apply or for more information at

IDNR Young Wildlife Reminder:  If you see young wildlife that may appear abandoned or lost, the best advice is to leave those animals alone and to not attempt to remove them from the wild.  While it is legal to transport injured or orphaned wildlife directly to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, it is against Illinois law to keep or maintain such wildlife. The IDNR receives numerous reports each spring from individuals who are concerned about what appear to be abandoned or orphaned fawn deer, baby rabbits and birds.  In most cases, the young animals have not been abandoned by their mothers and are best left alone. As outlined on the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website, young animals are often left alone while their parents are away searching for food.  For more information, and a list of licensed wildlife rehabilitators in Illinois, check the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website at

Bowfishing Championship:  The Bowfishing Association of Illinois, in cooperation with the IDNR, will host the second annual Director�s Shoot Illinois Bowfishing Championship on the Illinois River at Starved Rock State Park on July 16-17. For more information, contact Ed DeVries and 630/886-1672 or by e-mail at

Sportsman�s Raffle:  Tickets are now available for the 2011 Illinois Conservation Foundation Sportsman�s Raffle with a $100,000 first-place prize. Tickets are $100 each. Prizes will be presented at a drawing on Thursday, December 1, 2011.  Additional �early bird� prizes will be awarded for tickets drawn on August 4, September 1, October 6 and November 3, 2011.  Proceeds from the raffle will support youth conservation education and outdoor recreation programs at the ICF�s Torstenson Family Youth Conservation Education Center in Pecatonica, Illinois.  Raffle tickets are available online at and by mail at Illinois Conservation Foundation, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271. 

Visit Conservation World:  Make plans to visit Conservation World during the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 12-21 in Springfield.  Kids can try to catch a fish or practice their skills at the archery and BB gun ranges.  Follow the meandering trails to explore outdoor Illinois � from parks, mining and forests to wildlife, fish and endangered species of plants and animals.  You�ll find plenty of free activities, along with a shady place to sit on a park bench and relax while visiting the state fairgrounds.  Conservation World is open from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. each day of the Illinois State Fair, Aug. 12-21.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop:  The IDNR invites women to register now for the next �Becoming an Outdoors Woman� workshop, Sept. 23-25 at Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton.  BOW workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction in many outdoor related activities. Classes are taught in a non-competitive and non-threatening environment by experienced instructors.  The cost is $150 per person, which includes the workshop, meals, lodging and transportation during the event.  Workshop and registration materials can be found on the IDNR website at

Wingshooting Clinics:  The IDNR and participating partners sponsor wingshooting clinics at sites throughout Illinois to help improve the shooting skills of participants. Youth/Women's clinics are designed to teach participants basic firearm and hunter safety and the fundamentals of wingshooting. Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of hunters and provide sound wingshooting practice techniques. The clinics will be conducted on weekends throughout the summer and early fall.  For a complete schedule, check the webpage at this link:
Upcoming clinics (and information phone numbers) include:
� Aug. 20-21 � Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Raycraft Farm (Piatt Co.), 217/935-6860
� Aug. 20-21 � Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Shabbona Lake SRA (DeKalb Co.), 815/758-2773
� Aug. 27-28 � Hunter Wingshooting Clinic, Raycraft Farm (Piatt Co.), 815/935-6860
� Sept. 10-11 � Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Forbes State Park (Marion Co.), 618/547-3381
� Sept. 17 � Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Johnson Sauk Trail State Park (Henry Co.), 309/853-5589
� Sept. 17-18 � Hunter Wingshooting Clinic, Des Plaines SFWA (Will Co.), 217/785-8129
� Sept. 25 � Youth/Women Wingshooting Clinic, Decatur Gun Club (Macon Co.), 217/855-1027

Field Trip Packs:  The IDNR has developed a new educator resource in time for the 2011-2012 school year. New �Field Trip Packs� for loan to Pre-K to Grade 3 early childhood educators are available at lending locations throughout Illinois. Each pack is a backpack that contains hands-on equipment to encourage young children to engage in nature exploration. Suggestions for educators on how to incorporate natural-resources related topics into the curriculum are also included. To see the list of lending locations and the pack content list, go online to this link:

Whimsical Art:  The next �Super Saturdays� at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield is all about �Whimsical Art� on Sat., July 9 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.   Youth are invited to learn just how fun art can be at the �Urge to Embellish� exhibition at the museum.  The event is free and there will be plenty of hands on activities for kids.  The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring, Springfield.  For more information, phone 217/782-6044 or go online at

Archaeological Conservancy:  The next program in the monthly Illinois State Museum Science Series is �Saving the Past for the Future� featuring Dr. Paul Gardner, Midwest regional director of the Archaeological Conservancy, a national non-profit organization dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of America�s archaeological sites.  The free program is on Wed., July 13 at 7 p.m. at the ISM Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash, Springfield.  For more information, phone 217/782-0061 or go online at

OutdoorIllinois:  For the latest news about Illinois' natural resources, pick up the July 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois, the IDNR monthly magazine. In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the dedication of Lorado Taft�s sculpture at Lowden State Park, the cover of this issue features the iconic monument to Native Americans which is perched high on the riverbank near Oregon, Illinois. The July issue also contains stories on Illinois fisheries biologists� recommendations on the best bass locations, rare Earth metals found at Illinois� ancient volcano-like formation, the hottest day in Prairie State history, color variations in wildlife, the marsh rice rat, and photo tips for sportsmen. OutdoorIllinois is a great tool for learning about Illinois' natural, cultural and recreational resources and a bargain at $15 for a one-year subscription. For a summary of feature magazine articles, listen in on monthly podcasts at  OutdoorIllinois is a great tool for learning about Illinois' natural, cultural and recreational resources and a bargain at only $15 for a one-year, 12-issue magazine subscription that includes an information-packed annual calendar in the December issue. Visit or call 1-800-720-3249 to subscribe. VISA and MasterCard are accepted. For information on advertising in OutdoorIllinois, call 217/785-8610 or e-mail

Give Us Your Best Shot:  Get your camera ready and look through your photo album; it�s time for the annual OutdoorIllinois photo contest. The 2011 contest is our 12th contest, and the February 2012 issue of OutdoorIllinois, where all winning images will be published, will be our 8th annual photographic issue. New this year is a special category celebrating how Illinoisans are returning to the basics and involving the children in their families in nature. The photo contest is open to all Illinois residents and entries are due by 5 p.m. Aug. 5, 2011. Contest guidelines are available in the May 2011 issue of OutdoorIllinois and are posted at

Boating Infrastructure:  Local governments, privately-owned marinas and boatyards have until August 31 to apply for grants available to provide temporary docking facilities for large boats through the federal Boating Infrastructure Grant Program.  Funds for the program come from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels through the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety program, and can provide up to 75 percent of an approved project�s cost.  The program is intended to enhance boating for transient, non-trailerable recreational boats - those 26 feet long or longer. The applicant must provide the other 25 percent of a project�s cost. Eligible facilities must accommodate boats of 26 feet or longer, must be used by transient boaters who do not stay more than 10 consecutive days and must be open to the public. Projects could include boat slips, mooring buoys, navigational aids, safe harbors and initial dredging to provide transient boats with safe channel depths. All proposals must be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the IDNR Federal Aid/Special Funds Section.  For additional information, call 217/782-2602.

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