New License Year Begins April 1: Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman’s combination licenses and stamps for 2017 are available from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2017 licenses and stamps are valid through March 31, 2018, unless otherwise noted.
Two Weekends for Spring Youth Turkey: New for 2017, the Illinois Spring Youth Turkey Season is open two weekends in both the South and North zones – March 25-26 and April 1-2. Spring Youth Turkey Season County Permits will available over-the-counter from IDNR license/permit vendors beginning March 7. For information on spring turkey hunting, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/TurkeyHunting.aspx
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Spring Turkey Applications: Hunters may apply for the fourth lottery for 2017 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season permits online through March 9. Go to the IDNR website for more information at this link: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/TurkeyHunting.aspx
Fishing Information Booklet: The 2017 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available at many IDNR license and permit vendor locations, and in PDF format online at this link:
Regulations in the guide are effective April 1, 2017 through March 31, 2018. A reminder to anglers, and would-be anglers, that Illinois Free Fishing Days for 2017 will again be during the Father’s Day weekend -- June 16-19.
IDNR at Elmwood Show: IDNR will welcome visitors to the annual Elmwood All Outdoors Show at Elmwood High School and Grade School gymnasiums in Elmwood on March 4-5. Stop by the IDNR display booth to buy Illinois hunting, fishing and sportsman’s licenses and talk with IDNR personnel. For more information on the show: www.elmwoodalloutdoors.com
Wonder Women at Illinois State Museum: Illinois State Museum visitors can learn about some of the amazing women from Illinois history through activities, crafts, and displays at the ‘Wonder Women in History’ Super Saturday event for kids and families at the Museum in Springfield on Sat., March 4. Each month, Super Saturday offers free, thematic activities recommended for children ages 5 and up.
Activities take 30-40 minutes to complete and feature crafts and educational games. Parents and families are encouraged to participate. For additional information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 217-782-0061. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield.
Spring Gathering at Dickson Mounds: Dickson Mounds Museum is hosting a traditional Native American Spring Gathering on Sat., Mar. 18. Visitors may enjoy a variety of demonstrations, storytelling, music, and dance. Vendors will be open at 9:30 a.m. Activities will be held from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. with a heritage program at 2:00 p.m. in the Museum’s auditorium. Drum music by the Spirit of the Rainbow Singers and traditional dancing will begin at 3:45 p.m. Admission is free. Dickson Mounds Museum is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97. The museum is open free to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. For more information, call 309-547-3721.
LaSalle Lake Opens March 15: LaSalle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area will open for the 2017 season on March 15 and will be open daily, 6:00 a.m. – Sunset. All fishermen must be off the site by closing time each day. There is a wind warning system at LaSalle Lake. Orange windsocks are located on interior dikes throughout the lake. When the windsocks are erect, wind speeds are 14 mph or above and no boats are to be launched; boats on the lake should find calm water and get off the lake when safe to do so.
Hunter and Boating Safety Education Courses: Register now for Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR. Spring classes are underway. Check the IDNR website for class dates and locations. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Registration is open for the IDNR ‘Becoming an Outdoors Woman’ Workshop on June 9-11 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. The cost per person is $230, which includes meals, lodging, four instructional classes, use of class materials/supplies, transportation during the workshop, and more. Registration materials can be downloaded from the BOW webpage www.dnr.illinois.gov/recreation/BOW. Register soon; there is a limit of 95 participants, and registration filled quickly last year.
Archery Hunting at Beaver Dam and Goode’s Woods: Permit applications may be submitted through March 31 for the special drawings for archery hunting at Beaver Dam State Park and Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve near Carlinville (Macoupin Co.). Prospective applicants can obtain an application either online or from the Beaver Dam park office to apply to archery deer hunt during the 2017-18 season. Online applications can be found on the Hunter Fact Sheets for the sites: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/FactSheets/Pages/WestCentral.aspx
Drawings will be held on April 3. Beaver Dam State Park and Goode’s Woods Nature Preserve regulations require the harvest of an antlerless deer at the site prior to harvesting an antlered deer. For additional information, contact Beaver Dam State Park, 14548 Beaver Dam Lane, Plainview, IL 62685, or phone 217-854-8020.
Spring Trout Season Opens April 1: The 2017 Spring Trout Fishing Season in Illinois opens at 5 a.m. on Sat., April 1. The catchable trout program is made possible through the purchases of inland trout stamps by those anglers who participate. Unless exempt, anglers must have a valid Illinois fishing license and an inland trout stamp to legally possess trout. Catch-and-release fly fishing for trout will open at nine locations on March 18. Go to this link for details on spring trout fishing locations: http://www.ifishillinois.org/programs/trout_stocking.html
Camping Reservations: Make your reservations now for campsites and shelters for many IDNR sites for 2017. Reservations can be made online through the Reserve America website at
www.reserveamerica.com using a Visa or MasterCard. For more information, check the IDNR website: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/Landmgt/Programs/Camping/index.htm
Campground Hosts Needed: The 2017 Illinois state park camping season is getting underway and there are Campground Host positions available at a number of parks. Hosts are needed starting between April 15 and May 1. Positions include free camping and require 35 hours per week (weekends required). Please contact these sites for more information on Campground Host positions:
Pere Marquette State Park - 618-786-3323
White Pines Forest State Park - 815-946-3717
Johnson-Sauk Trial State Recreation Area - 309-853-2425
Illini State Park - 815-795-2448
Mississippi Palisades State Park - 815-273-2731
Lake Le-Aqua-Na State Recreation Area – 815-369-4282
Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area - 618-629-2320
Take a Hike: Enjoy a guided hike this spring at Illinois state parks including Giant City, Illinois Beach, Pere Marquette, Starved Rock and Weldon Springs by downloading the Prairie State Hike App on your smartphone. Download the app for 99 cents from iTunes or Google Play. Features include a map, points of interest, audio for each stop, photographs and video. Hikes will be continually updated and new hikes added at no additional charge. The app was developed by the Prairie State Conservation Coalition, a non-profit organization created to assist conservation land trusts, land owners, and communities in their efforts to protect land and water resources in Illinois. Hikes from other conservation organizations statewide also are available through the app. To find state park trails, open the app and choose ‘Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ from among the conservation organizations listed.