Firearm Deer Permit Applications: Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2017 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30. For more information, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx
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Mushroom Collecting: No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, but mushroom collectors must have landowner permission and, on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting regulations and hours. Collection of mushrooms is allowed in many IDNR sites, 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 during the spring turkey season 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.
Dickson Mounds Tot Time: Parents with young children are invited to Dickson Mounds Museum near Lewistown on Thurs., May 4 at 9:30 a.m. for the monthly Tot Time program on ‘Wildflowers.’ Tots and their adults may enjoy learning about Illinois wildflowers as they explore the Museum’s grounds. Tots will make and take home a craft that will help them plant their own wildflower seeds. Participants should dress for the outdoors and to “play” in the dirt. Admission is free and registration is not required. Light refreshments will be served. Groups of eight or more should call the Dickson Mounds Museum in advance to ensure the availability of supplies. The program begins promptly at 9:30 a.m. with the program portion lasting approximately 30 minutes, followed by crafts, snacks, and time to explore the Museum. The 2017 Tot Time program series is sponsored by Doug Dennis of Manito, Havana National Bank and G-M Mechanical of Canton. For more information, phone 309-547-3721.
ISM Science Series: Dave Baron will present stories from his book Pembroke: A Rural, Black Community on the Illinois Dunes which chronicles the history of Pembroke Township, 65 miles south of Chicago, at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield on May 10. Baron's book profiles a number of the colorful, longtime residents and considers what has enabled Pembroke to survive, despite a lack of economic opportunities. The free program is part of the Illinois State Museum’s Paul Mickey Science Series on Wed., May 10 at 7:00 p.m. For additional information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 217-782-0061.
Don’t Bother Wildlife: When people come in contact with young wildlife, they may jump to the conclusion that the animal is orphaned and in need of assistance. Young animals are often left alone while their parents are away searching for food. Do not touch or remove the young animal unless you are absolutely sure that it is an orphan or severely injured. Many species return to their young near dusk and dawn. A young animal that looks well-fed with bright eyes and clean fur or feathers is probably not orphaned. If the animal does need help, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice. Find contact information on the Living with Wildlife in Illinois website: http://web.extension.illinois.edu/wildlife/professionals.cfm#rehab
INPC Meeting: The 226th meeting of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission will be held on Tues., May 9 beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Jarrett Prairie Center, 7993 N. River Road, Byron, IL 61010. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone the INPC at 217-785-8686.
Oil and Gas Board Meeting: The Illinois Oil and Gas Advisory Board will meet on Thurs., May 11 at 10:00 a.m. at the Illinois Oil and Gas Association building, 824 E. IL Highway 15, Mt. Vernon, IL. The meeting is open to the public. For more information, phone 217-782-3718.
Camping Reservations: Spring and summer are great times for camping in Illinois. Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website at www.reserveamerica.com.
New Concert Series at ISM: The Illinois State Museum (ISM), in partnership with singer-songwriter/folk musician Chris Vallillo, will be presenting a new concert series titled Music at the Museum. The series will present a wide range of roots and acoustic music that is representative of the rich heritage and culture of the Midwest from folk to blues, original to traditional, and everything in between. TheMusic at the Museum series will take place on the second Thursday of each month in the Illinois State Museum Auditorium in Springfield. The official kickoff event will be on Thurs., May, 11 at 7:00 p.m. with a double-billing featuring Chris Vallillo and the Burr Oak String Band. Concert admission is $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for Illinois State Museum Society members and kids under 12. There will be a variety of desserts and drinks available during the break at each concert. Check the full 2017 concert schedule at www.museumconcerts.com. The Illinois State Museum is located at 502 South Spring St., Springfield, IL 62706. For additional information, call the museum at 217-782-7386.
Bike to Work: May is National Bike Month, and May 15-19 is national Bike to Work Week. A special day is National Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 19. Go riding during May, or anytime, and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycle riding and biking to work. For more info: http://bikeleague.org/bikemonth
Let’s Fly a Kite: Get outdoors for an afternoon of kite flying and fun at Dickson Mounds Museum on Sat., May 20 from 1-4 p.m. Visitors of all ages may enjoy learning how to fly pole kites, wind resistance exploration, and making their own kite craft to take home. Enjoy live square dance music performed by the Bug Trotters. The event will be held outdoors, but may be moved inside in the case of inclement weather. Dickson Mounds is hosting the event with help from the City of Lewistown, the Emiquon Partnership, and the UI Extension Master Naturalists. For more information: http://www.illinoisstatemuseum.org/content/lets-fly-kite
Wear Your Life Jacket: Boat operators and passengers are reminded to wear a life jacket whenever they’re on the water in Illinois. National Safe Boating Week is May 20-26. Life jackets save lives, and Illinois law requires that life jackets or life vests (personal floatation devices, PFDs) be available for each person aboard a boat or other watercraft. State law also requires that anyone under the age of 13 must wear a life jacket while aboard any watercraft under 26 feet in length at all times the boat is underway, unless they are below deck in an enclosed cabin or operating on private property. Illinois law also requires persons of any age to wear a PFD while operating a personal watercraft. For more information, check the National Safe Boating Council’s “Wear It” campaign website atwww.safeboatingcampaign.com.
Check Your Boat Registration: The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires on June 30, 2017. Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/boating/Pages/HowToRegister.aspx 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.
Non-motorized watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, or sail boards 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 2017 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2017. Water Usage Stamps are available over-the-counter from IDNR license and permit vendors. Find a vendor through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx
Record Crappie: The IDNR Division of Fisheries congratulates Ryan Povolish of Carbondale, who caught a new state-record hybrid crappie at Kinkaid Lake in Jackson Co. on March 28. The fish, which weighed 4 pounds, 8.8 ounces, appeared to be a black crappie, but genetic testing by the Illinois Natural History Survey confirmed it to be a hybrid crappie. The previous state-record hybrid crappie, caught in a Jefferson County pond in 2008, weighed 4 pounds, 8.3 ounces.
Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair: Mark your calendars and join the fun at the annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, IL on Sat., June 10 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The free event features fun for children and families. For details, call 618-786-3323.
Free Fishing Days: Illinois Free Fishing Days are scheduled for June 16-19, 2017. For more information on fishing in Illinois: www.ifishillinois.org
Dig with Archaeologists: Dickson Mounds Museum is hosting a new program series titled “Dine and Dig with Archaeologists” on Saturdays this summer. Enjoy lunch with archaeologists, learn about the Morton Village Site excavation, then participate in the dig. Participants will receive hands-on instruction in proper excavation techniques and how to identify, clean, organize, and sort their finds. Registration is required with a deadline of May 24. Call 309-547-3721 to register. Sessions will be held June 10, June 17, June 24, July 1, and July 8 from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. You may register for one, any, or all of the sessions. Participants must be 16 years or older. The programs are free, but donations are appreciated. Dickson Mounds Museum is located between Lewistown and Havana off Illinois Routes 78 and 97.
Museum Volunteers: Interested in volunteering this summer at the Illinois State Museum in Springfield? Volunteers are needed as museum greeters, for the museum’s Summer Film Fest, and in the ISM Play Museum. For more information: http://www.illinoisstatemuseum.org/content/volunteer