SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Conservation Police are alerting waterfowl hunters to avoid state and federal baiting violations by not hunting from fields damaged by recent field fires in Illinois.

Due to the extremely dry weather conditions in recent weeks, numerous field fires have occurred throughout the state, damaging crops and resulting in large amounts of grain being left exposed on the ground in those fields. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service baiting regulations state:

“The presence of seed or grain in an agricultural area rules out waterfowl hunting unless the seed or grain is scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, normal agricultural harvesting, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice.”

Though inadvertent, since the recent field fires are not considered a normal agricultural practice, the fires have created areas that will be considered baited for the 2020-21 Illinois waterfowl hunting seasons until all grain left on the ground has been removed. Hunting in or near these areas is prohibited by state and federal law.

Hunters with questions regarding waterfowl hunting and baiting can contact their local IDNR Conservation Police Officer. A directory with CPO contact information can be found on the IDNR website at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/LawEnforcement/Documents/DistrictCPOPhonesAndEmails.pdf.

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