Firearm Deer Permit Applications: Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2016 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30. For more information on deer hunting, check the website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/
Apply Now for Non-Resident Archery Deer Permits: The online lottery application period is open through June 30 for Non-Resident Illinois Archery Combination Deer permits for the 2016-17 deer season. A link for the online application is available on the IDNR website:
Non-residents may apply for one combination archery permit per season. The upcoming Illinois Archery Deer season is Oct. 1, 2016 – Jan. 15, 2017 (except closed in firearm deer counties on Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4, 2016).
Online Dove Permits: Online applications will be accepted from resident Illinois hunters from June 10-July 1 for the first lottery for Illinois Free Dove Hunting Permits for hunting at select state sites. Applications may be submitted for the second lottery by resident hunters who were unsuccessful in the first lottery, residents who did not apply in the first lottery, and non-resident hunters for the second lottery drawing from July 8-21. After the second lottery permit application deadline on July 21, hunters may apply for remaining free dove permits on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 8 a.m. on July 29-Aug. 25. For more information on dove hunting permit areas and free dove permits, check the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/
Reminder: Illinois Free Fishing Days are June 17-20. For more information on fishing in Illinois: www.ifishillinois.org
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, 2016. Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov 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. For details on Illinois watercraft registration requirements, check the IDNR website. www.dnr.illinois.gov/
Non-motorized watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, or sail boards in Illinois, 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 2016 Illinois Water Usage Stamp is valid through December 31, 2016. 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/
Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair: Join the fun at the 25th annual Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, IL on Sat., June 11 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The free event features fun for children and families. For details, call 618-786-3323.
State Fairgrounds Family Fishing Event: Free Fishing Days in Illinois coincide with Father’s Day Weekend this year (June 17-20). To promote dads, moms and families fishing together and enjoying the outdoors, the IDNR Division of Fisheries will host a free fishing event at Conservation World on the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield on Sat., June 18. Families are invited to enjoy a morning of catch-and-release fishing on June 18 from 7:30 a.m. until 12 noon. The large pond at Conservation World is well stocked, and families will have a great time catching fish. Families and anglers of all ages are invited to bring their own fishing gear and bait, and have fun fishing. (Enter the fairgrounds through Gate 7 and park in Lot 21).
Illinois State Parks Guide: The 2016-17 Illinois State Parks guide is available in print and online. The booklet is a useful guide to an eventful day in a state park picnic area, a weekend at a state park lodge or campground, a hike in a state forest, a ride on a state trail, or hunting and fishing trips to a state fish and wildlife area. The Illinois State Parks guide is posted on the IDNR website in PDF format at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/
Copies of the state parks guide can be ordered through the IDNR online publications page: https://dnr.state.il.us/
Camping Reservations: Summer is a great time for camping in Illinois. Make campsite and shelter reservations for many IDNR sites online through the Reserve America website atwww.reserveamerica.com using a credit card. For more information, check the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/
Fall Turkey Applications: Resident Illinois hunters can apply online for permits for the Illinois Fall Shotgun Turkey season (Oct. 22-30) at www.dnr.illinois.gov. The first lottery application deadline is July 4.
Wingshooting Clinics: Wingshooting clinics will be conducted this spring, summer and fall in Illinois at IDNR sites, cooperating gun clubs and hunting preserves. Most clinics are conducted on weekends. 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-on, 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 IDNR website: http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/
Hike App: Visitors to Starved Rock, Illinois Beach, Giant City, and Pere Marquette State Parks can now take a guided hike on the parks’ most popular trails by downloading a new smartphone app. Download the Prairie State Hike App for 99 cents from iTunes or Google Play. Features of the app include a map, points of interest, audio for each stop, photographs and video. Hikes will be continually updated and new hikes added in the coming months will be available 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.