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[SEPT. 25, 2004]  SPRINGFIELD -- News bits from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources:

Pere Marquette owl and nature hikes: Pere Marquette State Park, Grafton, hosted a short hike yesterday evening (Friday) to listen for owls. Participants were invited to stay and roast marshmallows afterward. This morning a four-mile hike was scheduled, beginning at the park visitor center. For information about activities at Pere Marquette State Park, call (618) 786-3323, ext. 1.

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Illinois celebrates National Hunting and Fishing Days Sept. 25-26 with two festival events. The Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days celebration at John A. Logan College in Carterville is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today (Saturday) and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. The Northern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days event at Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area near Yorkville is scheduled for 9 a.m.-5 p.m. both days. Admission and parking for both events are free. For more information, contact the Southern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days committee at (618) 985-8392 and the Northern Illinois National Hunting and Fishing Days committee at (877) 611-7566.

* * *

Seasonal schedule changes have been announced for the LaSalle Lake and Marseilles State Fish and Wildlife Area. At LaSalle, the lake will close for fishing effective Sept. 30. At Marseilles, hunting hours for the fall and winter seasons are 5:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Monday through Thursday until further notice. For more information, contact the site office at Illini State Park at (815) 795-2448.

* * *

A public drawing for the allocation of Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area trapping permits will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 2. Registration will begin at 1 p.m. at the site headquarters. For more information, contact Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA, P.O. Box 646, Ashland, IL 62612; or phone (217) 452-7741.

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Rendezvous at Spoon River: Members of the Mackinaw Valley Long Rifles Association provide a primitive encampment on the grounds of Dickson Mounds Museum during Fulton County's Spoon River Scenic Drive weekends. The encampment features demonstrations of early American crafts such as wooden spoon carving, cooking, fiber arts, hatchet throwing and blanket trading. Artists from the Illinois Artisans program will also be present to display and demonstrate their works. The events are Oct. 2-3 and Oct. 9-10, from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. each day. For more information, contact Dickson Mounds Museum at (309) 547-3721.

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Leaf, bark and seed hikes at Giant City State Park: Each Saturday in October from 10 a.m.-noon, join a hike in the beautiful wooded areas of Giant City State Park, Makanda. Discover why leaves change color in the fall. Learn the ways we identify trees as their leaves disappear. The hikes alternate between moderate one-mile and rugged two-mile walks. Call (618) 457-4836 for more information.

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ISGS field trips: Registration is open for the Illinois State Geological Survey's Geological Science field trips to Ferne Clyffe State Park and the surrounding area in Johnson and Pope counties on Oct. 2 and Oct. 23. Participants will tour the Round Bluff Nature Preserve, Hawks Cave, a waterfall within Ferne Clyffe State Park, Mill Stone Bluff and the Bell Smith Springs Recreation Area within the Shawnee National Forest. There will be good opportunities to collect fossils and unique rock specimens. The trips will acquaint participants with the geologic history of the unglaciated areas of southern Illinois.

Advance registration is required; call (217) 333-4747 or fill out a form online at A registration fee of $5 per person will be collected the day of the trip, but there is no registration fee for children 12 and younger.

The trip begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Round Bluff Nature Preserve shelter in Ferne Clyffe State Park. Wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes and bring along sunblock, insect repellent and a packed lunch. Tours are conducted rain or shine and end at 5 p.m.

The Illinois State Geological Survey, a division of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, has studied and mapped the state's geology and mineral resources since 1905. The agency also collects, archives and distributes great quantities of geologic data for basic and environmental research. For information about Illinois State Geological Survey research and service, field trip details, a list of guidebooks from previous field trips, or educational publications, call (217) 333-4747, (217) 244-2427, TTY (217) 244-6677 or visit

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Boating infrastructure grants: Local governments, privately owned marinas, boatyards and yacht clubs have until Oct. 8 to apply for grants available to provide temporary docking facilities for large boats. Funds for the program come from federal excise taxes on fishing equipment and motorboat fuels through the Sport Fishing and Boating Safety program and can provide up to 75 percent of an approved project's cost. The program is intended to enhance boating for transient, non-trailerable recreational boats -- those 26 feet long or longer. The applicant must provide the other 25 percent of a project's cost.

Eligible facilities must accommodate boats of 26 feet or longer, must be used by transient boaters who do not stay more than 10 consecutive days and must be open to the public. Projects could include boat slips, mooring buoys, navigational aids, safe harbors and initial dredging to provide transient boats with safe channel depths.

All proposals must be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Illinois administering unit is the Federal Aid/Special Funds Section of the Office of Resource Conservation. For additional information, call (217) 782-2602 or TTY (217) 782-9175.


[to top of second column in this article]

A public drawing for the allocation of Sangchris Lake State Park trapping permits will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 9. Registration will begin at noon at the site headquarters, located approximately six miles southeast of Rochester. For more information, contact Sangchris Lake State Park, 9898 Cascade Road, Rochester, IL 62563; or phone (217) 498-9208 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m.

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State sites open for North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt: Four state sites will be open to youth waterfowl hunting on Oct. 9-10 during the North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt. They are

Regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the youth hunt. The daily harvest limit is two Canada geese and six ducks of any species, which may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three scaup, two wood ducks, two redheads and one black duck, one canvasback, and one pintail. As part of the youth hunt, hunters age 15 or younger who are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers. The accompanying adult cannot hunt these species but may participate in other open seasons. All waterfowl hunters, including those participating in the youth hunt, are required to register with the Harvest Information Program. Hunters should register by calling 1 (800) WETLAND [1 (800) 938-5263] or online.

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The Department of Natural Resources hosts wing shooting clinics on Saturday, Oct. 9, and Sunday, Oct. 10, at Randolph County Conservation Area near Chester. Clinics are slated for 8 a.m. to noon and from 1 to 5 p.m. both days and are open to all shooters, from beginner to advanced. The cost is $25 per person. For more information, call (618) 826-2706.

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Proposed changes to Illinois Department of Natural Resources administrative rules are now open for public comment. Details on those changes are posted at

  • 17 Ill. Adm. Code 110, Public Use of State Parks and Other Properties of the Department of Natural Resources.

  • 17 Ill. Adm. Code 510, General Hunting and Trapping on Department-Owned or Managed Sites.

  • 17 Ill. Adm. Code 805, Injurious Species.

The deadline to comment in writing on any or all of the above administrative rules changes is Oct. 25. Please send comments to Jack Price, Legal Counsel, Department of Natural Resources, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702-1271.

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Irv Schirmer, an Illinois trapper from Marengo, has won the Fur Takers of America's prestigious American Heritage Award. The national honor is given annually to an outstanding individual or organization for promoting trapping as an important wildlife conservation activity.  Schirmer was credited for his "tireless work to promote trapping and conservation, particularly with kids who have little knowledge about trapping and its role in our nation's heritage." Schirmer's efforts include teaching Illinois trapper safety and education courses, which are mandatory for first-time trappers under the age of 18; organizing trappers to form a strong Fur Takers of America chapter in Illinois; hosting exhibits at local and regional fairs; and speaking to Illinois legislators about the benefits of trapping to wildlife and society. Schirmer also is a certified animal control operator, licensed to trap nuisance wildlife such as raccoons and beavers for Illinois residents who experience damage to homes and property.

Reminder: During the 2004-2005 deer hunting seasons the use of dogs to track wounded deer will not be allowed at Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas, or other sites owned or managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Tracking dogs will not be allowed on state sites due to hunter density, to maintain quality hunting experiences for other hunters, and to prevent instances in which dogs might flush deer or other wildlife from refuge and restricted areas at state sites.

Reminder: The new Spoon River State Forest in Knox County, listed on the application and formerly known as the Snakeden Hollow - Ives Unit, appeared for the first time this year on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources firearm deer permit application as a special hunt area. As a result, all hunting slots for the site were allocated through the regular permit lottery drawing. Standby permits like those used last year will not be available because the site was included in the regular firearm permit drawing.

[Illinois Department of Natural Resources
news release]

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