Illinois Department of Natural Resources Newsbits

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Chris McGinnis of IDNR instructsHighlighting IDNR programs and upcoming events for the month of June

Free Fishing Days: Anyone interested in fishing is invited to wet a line June 6-9 as part of Illinois Free Fishing Days. During Illinois Free Fishing Days, anyone may fish without the need to have a sport fishing license, inland trout stamp or salmon stamp.

Non-Resident Archery Deer Permits Now Available:  Non-resident archery deer hunting permits for the 2008-09 Illinois Archery Deer season are now available through the DNR Direct online and by phone.  Non-residents can purchase combination archery permits via DNR Direct Online License Sales at (Click on DNR Direct on the home page) or by phone at 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). Non-residents are allowed to purchase one combination archery permit (one either-sex/one antlerless only) at a cost of $400.  There are 25,000 non-resident combination tags available for the 2008-09 archery deer season, which is scheduled for Oct. 1, 2008 through Jan. 15, 2009.  The combination tags will be available through DNR Direct through June 30.  Antlerless only permits for $15.50 will be available throughout the season over the counter at local license agents, as well as through DNR Direct online or by phone.

Camping Fees:  Due to significant increases in utilities and other operating costs, the IDNR has implemented an increase in the utility fee assessed at state-managed campgrounds.  The previous utility fee of $5 per day has been increased to $10 per day for each campsite where electricity is provided.  The base camping rate for all campsites has not changed except for a $10 per day increase in campsite fees for Class AA, Class A, and Class A Premium campsites for the Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day holiday weekends only.   Those campers with reservations for upcoming holiday weekends who do not wish to retain those reservations should contact that campground’s site office for refund information.   Senior citizen, disabled person, former prisoner of war and special armed forces discounts still apply to the base camping rates. 

For more information on all IDNR camping fees, go to the web site at and click on the Camping link on the home page.

Dove Hunter Advisory:  Due to persistent wet and cool weather this spring, hunters are advised of a change in habitat conditions for the upcoming dove season at the IDNR-managed Gabaret Island dove fields, a unit of Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison Co.).  The extremely wet and cool weather conditions have precluded the scheduled planting and maturation of sunflowers.  As a result, the managed dove hunting fields at Gabaret Island will be planted to dove proso millet as soon as conditions allow.   For more information on the dove program and likely habitat conditions at Gabaret Island for the dove season that opens Sept. 1, contact Horseshoe Lake State Park at 618/931-0270.

Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Reservations are still available for the next Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop, July 11-13 at the Lorado Taft Campus in Oregon, Illinois.  The popular Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshops introduce participants to a wide variety of outdoor recreation skills and activities.  The cost of $185 includes all meals, lodging, use of equipment, and course materials.  For more information and registration materials, click on the IDNR website at the following link:

Wingshooting Clinics: The IDNR and partnering organizations are hosting a series of wingshooting clinics for beginning shooters and for more experienced hunters this summer.  Youth/Women’s clinics are free.  Saturday sessions generally provide instruction for girls and boys ages 10 – 15, while Sunday sessions are generally used to provide instruction for girls and women ages 10 and older.  (Youth participants must be at least 4 feet 6 inches tall and weigh at least 75 pounds). Instructors are certified by the National Sporting Clays Association.  Hunter clinics are designed to enhance the wingshooting skills of those ages 16 and older.  Hunters with wingshooting skill levels from beginner to advanced are encouraged to attend. A small fee is assessed each hunter clinic participant to cover the cost of clay targets and refreshments.

Upcoming Youth/Women’s clinics (and contact phone numbers) include:

June 14 – Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area (Cass Co.); phone 217/452-7741

June 28-29 – St. Charles Sportsmen’s Club, Elburn (Kane Co.); phone 630/363-6180

Aug. 16-17 – Shabonna Lake State Park, Shabonna (DeKalb Co.); phone 815/758-2773

Aug. 30-31 – Cender Conservation Camp, Fisher (Champaign Co.); 217/935-6860

Sept. 6-7 – Stephen A. Forbes State Park (Marion Co.); phone 618/547-3381

Sept. 13-14 – Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park (Henry Co.); phone 309/853-5589

Upcoming Hunter Wingshooting Clinics include:

June 7-8 – Briar Knoll Hunting and Fishing Club (Lee Co.); 815/857-2320

June 21-22 – Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA (Cass Co.); phone 217/452-7741

Aug. 23-24 – Cender Conservation Camp, Fisher (Champaign Co.); phone 217/935-6860

Sept. 20-21 – Des Plaines Conservation Area (Will Co.); phone 217/785-8129

For the complete wingshooting clinic schedule, check the IDNR web site at

Help Wildlife, Save Fuel by Delaying Mowing:  Landowners and road maintenance personnel interested in helping wildlife and saving fuel are encouraged to delay all but essential mowing of roadsides and other grassy areas until after the nesting season for grassland wildlife.   Delaying the mowing of grassland areas until after August 1 each year provides benefits to pheasants, quail, rabbits, mallards and songbirds such as meadowlarks, dickcissels and grasshopper sparrows.  Mowing earlier in the summer can destroy nests and young birds and animals, as well as the adults that may be tending the nests.  Delayed mowing also saves on fuel.  The IDNR operates a number of programs to establish and maintain grassland areas for wildlife on rights-of-way and private land. Contact the IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources at 217/782-6384 for more information.

ICF Golf Benefit: Golfers are invited to a great day on the links at the 13th annual Illinois Conservation Foundation Downstate Golf Benefit.  The outing will be held at the Rail Golf Course in Sherman on Fri., June 27 beginning at 1 p.m.  The registration fee is $150 per golfer or $500 for a foursome.  Proceeds benefit ICF youth fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation programs.  To register or for more information, phone 217/782-7181. 

Kids and Fossils:  What is a fossil? How is a fossil made? Youngsters are invited to the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on Sat., June 14 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. to learn more about these rocks that unlock the mysteries of ancient life. Join in a fossil dig, and explore the world of paleontology through fun, hands-on activities.  The program “Fossils – Digging into the Past” is part of the ISM Super Saturdays series, especially recommended for children ages 4-8.  Activities take 30 to 45 minutes to complete, and feature take-home crafts. Parents and families are encouraged to participate. For more information, phone 217/782-6044.  The museum is located at the corner of Spring and Edwards in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield.

ENTICE Workshops:  Registration is open for summer ENTICE workshops from the IDNR Division of Education.  Register at Upcoming workshops include:

Illinois Mussels, Illinois State Museum, Springfield, June 17

Illinois Millipedes and Centipedes, Giant City State Park, Makanda, June 20

Illinois Wetlands, Vermilion County Conservation Area, Danville, June 21

Illinois Prairies, Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie, Wilmington, June 21

Lake Michigan Fishes, Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, June 28

GPS, Hamilton-Jefferson ROE, Mt. Vernon, July 14

Illinois Bats, Fermi Lab, Batavia, July 16

The Basics of Waterfowl Drawing and Photography:  The IDNR, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bass Pro Shops are partnering to offer Illinois teachers an opportunity to enhance their artistic skills in relation to waterfowl.  The experiences can be applied to engaging students in the Federal Junior Duck Stamp Design Contest for 2009. A professional bird photographer will lead the morning session on waterfowl photography. He’ll offer tips on how to get the best images of waterfowl in the wild. The afternoon session will be led by a teacher whose students are consistently winners in the Illinois portion of the contest.  The workshop is part of the ENTICE workshop series from the IDNR and will be held at the Bass Pro Shops store in Bolingbrook on Fri., June 27. Teachers of grades K-12 are eligible and may earn 5.0 Continuing Professional Development Units. To register, visit

OutdoorIllinois:  A White River crawfish, Procambarus acutus, native to Illinois and the eastern U. S. and frequently seen in the bait trade, graces the cover the June issue of the OutdoorIllinois, the IDNR monthly magazine. The “miniature lobsters” of freshwater lakes and streams are a snappy way to experience natural food, and are the subject of the lead story. Featured sites this month are the Des Plaines River Wetlands Demonstration Project and the Mackinaw River’s Franklin Demonstration Farm, both demonstrating research activities to improve the quality of Illinois’ waters. Also covered in this issue are the 50th anniversary of action that preserved North America’s southernmost open-water quaking bog, fish of the Wabash River, and the annual Goby Roundup and Carp Corral. 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 michelle [dot] silver [at] illinois [dot] gov.

ISM Summer Film Festival:  Same great program – new title for the Summer Festival of Films at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield.  The series has been renamed to honor long-time museum staff member Robert (Bob) Steffan, who passed away in April 2007. Contributions in Bob’s name to the Illinois State Museum Society will support the series, which features a 30-minute program followed by a fun cartoon. The program is perfect for day care classes, summer camp groups, and families. For groups of 10 or more, pre-register at 217/782-5993.  The Bob Steffan Summer Film Fest films are shown on Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the months of June and July at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the Thorne Deuel Auditorium in the Illinois State Museum (corner of Spring and Edwards in the State Capitol Complex in Springfield).

Photography Scavenger Hunt:  Beall Woods State Park in Wabash Co. hosts a photography scavenger hunt on Sat., June 14, from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.  If you enjoy taking nature photographs and like a challenge, meet at the Visitor Center for clues and instructions upon arrival. A power point of the photographers’ favorites will be created and viewed by the public at a later date. Digital cameras are required.  Phone 618/298-2442.  Beall Woods State Park is located six miles south of Mt. Carmel on Ill. Rt. 1 near Keensburg.

Nature Lessons:  Youngsters ages 11 to 13 are invited to a couple of morning nature experiences on “What’s Under the Surface” at Beall Woods State Park near Mt. Carmel.  On June 18 and June 25 (9 a.m. until noon both days), participants will investigate organisms located in leaf litter and the lake.  Topics will cover basic identification, collection, aquatic life cycles, and organisms’ significance in the ecosystem.  Registration is required and space is limited.  For more information, phone 618/298-2442. 

Archaeology and Industry:  The Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center’s monthly archaeology lecture in June is “Archaeology and Industry: Collaborative Archaeology at the Pullman Community, Chicago, Illinois.”  The free program begins at 7 p.m. on Wed., June 11.  The Pullman Community on Chicago’s south side is a popular, contemporary tourist attraction that provides one of the best examples of a 19th century company town still in existence. With so much historical documentation and intact architecture, what can historical archaeology contribute? DePaul University is studying various sites across the town’s landscape in order to reconstruct what daily life was like for Pullman residents during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  For more information on the lecture, phone 217/782-0061.  The ISM Research and Collections Center is located at 1011 E. Ash. St., Springfield.

Cache River Wetlands Programs: On Sat., June 14 from 9 -11 a.m., learn about the “Bottomland Birds of the Cache” during a program and wetland hike at the Cache River Wetlands Center, Cypress.  Participants will learn about different songbirds associated with wetland habitats.  On Sat., June 28 from 10 a.m. – noon, learn more about more than 50 species of dragonflies in southern Illinois during “Winged Wonders.”  For more information on programs at the Cache River Wetlands Center, phone 618/657-2064. The Cache River Wetlands Center is located at 8885 State Rt. 37 South, Cypress. 

Dad’s Day Aqua Safari:  Volo Bog State Natural Area invites youngsters to bring their fathers (and mothers) along for a Father’s Day adventure on Sun., June 15 from 12:30 p.m. – 3 p.m.  They will discover what lies under the surface of a pond, coming face-to-face with dragonfly nymphs, diving beetles and water striders – all animals that are a part of the wetland’s diverse web of life.  Make reservations at 815/344-1294. Volo Bog State Natural Area is located in Ingleside on Brandenburg Road west off of U.S. Highway 12 between Ill. Routes 120 and 134.

 Popular Prints:  The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery hosts a program on home decorating in the 19th century.  “Embellish the Home with Popular Prints” will be presented by curator Jennifer Jaskowiak on Sun., June 29 at 2 p.m.  She will discuss the affordable option of decorating a home in the 19th century with inexpensive prints available by subscription from companies such as Chicago Lithographing Co. and Currier and Ives.  The gallery is located at 201 West 10th St., Lockport.  For more information, phone 815/838-7400.

NRAB Meeting June 25: The Natural Resources Advisory Board will meet on Wed., June 25 at 1 p.m. at the Dickson Mounds Museum, 10956 North Dickson Mounds Road, Lewistown (Fulton Co.). The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217/785-0075.