Stay up to date on licenses and events with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources briefs for April.
Resident firearm/muzzleloader deer permits: Deer hunters can apply online through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2014 firearm and muzzleloader-only deer season permits. Click on the online services tab on the DNR website, www.dnr.illinois.gov. Application forms in PDF format are available online at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/deer/pages/residentfirearmdeerhunting.aspx. The first lottery drawings are for Illinois residents only. Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries. The firearm deer seasons are Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7. Muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 12-14 and in the second firearm season, Dec. 4-7.
Buy 2014 licenses: The new license year began April 1 for Illinois hunting, fishing or sportsman’s combination licenses. Licenses are available from license and permit vendors, online at www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/pages/default.aspx or by calling (888) 673-7648. The 2014 licenses are valid through March 31, 2015 unless otherwise noted.
Camping reservations: Now is the time to make campsite and shelter reservations for many DNR sites online at www.reserveamerica.com using a Visa or Mastercard. For information check the DNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/camping/camprsvp.htm.
Hunting and boating classes: Hunter and boating safety education courses from the DNR are posted on the DNR website where class schedules are updated frequently. The website for all DNR safety education courses is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety.
Spring safety reminder: Mushroom collectors and other visitors to state parks, fish and wildlife areas and other DNR-managed sites where turkey hunting is allowed are reminded that hunting areas are closed to activities other than spring turkey hunting from one-half hour before sunrise until 1 p.m. during the spring turkey season.
Mushroom collecting: No license is required for mushroom collecting in Illinois, although collectors need landowner permission and on public sites, must adhere to approved collecting regulations and hours. Collection of mushrooms is allowed in many state parks, fish and wildlife and other recreation areas, but it is prohibited in areas designated as dedicated nature preserves. Areas under the jurisdiction of the DNR that offer spring turkey hunting will not be open to mushroom collecting until after 1 p.m. daily to ensure the safety of all hunters. Turkey hunting restrictions will apply until the close of the wild turkey hunting seasons on May 8 in the southern zone and May 15 in the northern zone. 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.
Wingshooting clinics: Wingshooting clinics will be conducted throughout Illinois through early November. Most clinics are conducted on weekends. Wingshooting clinics are held on DNR sites, cooperating gun clubs, hunting preserves and farms. Wingshooting clinics for youth (age 10-15) and women provide instruction on safely firing a shotgun at a moving target with reasonable reliability. Hunter wingshooting clinics are hands-n, and include extensive live fire at a variety of clay target presentations on sporting clays courses specifically designed for teaching typical hunting situations. For this year’s wingshooting clinic schedule and more information, check the DNR website, dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/programs/wingshooting/wingshootinghome.htm.
Becoming an Outdoors Woman: Register today for DNR’s Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop June 6-8 at the Lorado Taft Field campus in Oregon. The workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Class instruction is offered in a fun, non-competitive and hands-on environment. Bow workshops are very popular, so register early. The cost of $220 per person includes housing, meals, classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event and more. Registration information is online at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow.
Free fishing days: Mark your calendars for the 2014 Illinois free fishing days, June 6-9.