A few new laws take effect Jan. 1 that relate to outdoors and natural resources, including one law that addresses wanton waste of game.
“They don’t want people just shooting animals just to shoot them,” said Sgt. Hank Frazier of the Illinois Conservation Police.
Public Act 98-0183 says: “It shall be unlawful for any person having control over harvested game mammals, game birds or migratory game birds for which there is a bag limit to wantonly waste or destroy the usable meat of the game.”
The law defines usable meat as “the breast meat of a game bird or migratory game bird and the hind ham and front shoulders of a game mammal.”
“It shall be unlawful for a person to place, leave, dump or abandon a wildlife carcass or parts of it along or upon a public right-of-way or highway or on public or private property, including a waterway or stream, without the permission of the owner or tenant.”
There are exceptions, such as animals killed under Section 2.37 of the wildlife code. Subject to the Illinois Endangered Species Act, the DNR “may authorize owners and tenants of lands or their agents to remove or destroy any wild bird or wild mammal when the wild bird or wild mammal is known to be destroying property or causing a risk to human health or safety upon his or her land.”
The other exception is under Section 3.22, which allows the DNR to permit the capture, banding or collecting of wildlife and to salvage dead or crippled wildlife for scientific purposes.
Here are three other new laws that take effect Jan. 1:
Mini Lacey Act — Public Act 98-0119 prohibits possession of wildlife or parts of wildlife that were taken in a manner that is illegal in the territory where the animal was taken. “It shall be unlawful to possess any species of wildlife or wildlife parts taken unlawfully in Illinois, any other state, or any other country, whether or not the wildlife or wildlife parts are indigenous to Illinois.” The statute of limitations for unlawful possession of wildlife or parts is 2 years.
Frazier said this amendment provides a kind of “mini” Lacey Act, which is a federal law that prohibits transporting illegally-taken game across state lines.
For example, the federal Lacey Act prohibits transporting an animal to Illinois that was killed or taken illegally in another state. The new state law also prohibits possession of that animal in Illinois, Frazier said.
Drunken boating — Public Act 98-0103 mandates chemical testing of a driver following a boating accident that results in personal injury or death. It authorizes suspension of a person's driver's license for operating a watercraft under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicating compounds. It provides that any person operating a watercraft involved in an accident shall be deemed to have given consent to the chemical testing of their blood, breath. An operator that refuses testing, or submits to testing that indicates a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or other drugs or intoxicating compounds, can have their driver's license suspended.
Commercial fishing licenses — Public Act 98-0336 provides that a commercial fisherman shall obtain a sport fishing license in addition to a commercial fishing license, and an individual assisting a licensed commercial fisherman also must obtain a sport fishing license. This law also provides that licensed commercial fishermen who wish to use their watercraft as a primary collection device for commercial fishes must first obtain a commercial watercraft device tag, and all watercraft used as a primary collection device must be legally licensed by the state and be in compliance with all Coast Guard boating regulations. An exemption is any person who takes Asian carp by the aid of a boat for non-commercial purposes.