Outdoors enthusiasts are reminded that Illinois' new license year begins April 1.
Illinois fishing, hunting and sportsman's combination licenses for 2013 are available from Illinois Department of Natural Resources direct license and permit vendors, online through www.dnr.illinois.gov/online/Pages/default.aspx or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648). The 2013 licenses will be valid through Mar. 31, 2014, unless otherwise noted.
When buying your 2013 Illinois hunting, fishing or sportsman's license, you can add a donation to the Illinois Conservation Foundation to support youth hunting and fishing programs. Your additional $5 donation to the ICF will help recruit the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.
Since 2008, those buying their hunting, fishing, and sportsman's licenses have donated more than $435,000 to support youth hunting and fishing programs. You can donate to the Illinois Conservation Foundation at www.ilcf.org.
Spring turkey applications
Random daily drawings for resident and non-resident hunters for 2013 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey permits begin Monday.
The link to the online permit application can be found on the IDNR website Spring Turkey page: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting.aspxSpring youth wild turkey hunt
Over-the-counter sales of county permits for the Spring Youth Wild Turkey Season began Tuesday. The dates for the 2013 Spring Youth Wild Turkey season are March 30-31 in the Southern Zone and April 6-7 in the Northern Zone. For permit application and other information, check the IDNR website at this link: www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Pages/SpringTurkeyHunting
There is still time to register online for the remaining regional discussions regarding important conservation issues as part of the 2013 Illinois Conservation Congress.
Register at www.dnr.illinois.gov/ConservationCongress. Upcoming regional meetings are scheduled at:
* South Shore Cultural Center in Chicago, March 12-14
* Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, March 21-22
Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply online beginning at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday through April 30 for the first lottery drawings for 2013 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader-only deer season permits through DNR Direct.
Just click on the Online Services tab on the IDNR website home page at www.dnr.illinois.gov. Application forms in PDF format will be available online in April.
The first lottery drawings for firearm and muzzleloader-only deer permits are for Illinois residents only. The deadline to apply for the first lottery drawings for 2013 firearm deer permits and muzzleloader-only deer permits is April 30. Resident hunters can apply in both the firearm and muzzleloader-only lotteries.
The 2013 Illinois firearm deer seasons are Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8. The 2013 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 13-15 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 5-8).
Hunter and boating safety
Check the schedule online and sign up now for 2013 Hunter Safety Education and Boating Safety Education courses from the IDNR.
Classes fill up quickly. Class schedules are updated frequently. The website link for all IDNR Safety Education course information is www.dnr.illinois.gov/safety.
The 2013-2015 Illinois Fishing Information guide is available through the IDNR website at: www.dnr.illinois.gov/fishing. Regulations in the guide are effective April 1, 2013, through March 31, 2015. Illinois Free Fishing Days for 2013 are June 7-10.
Applications are being accepted through 5 p.m. April 1 for the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund grant programs, which are administered through the IDNR Division of Natural Heritage.
These programs are funded through a voluntary check-off designation to the Wildlife Preservation Fund on the state income tax form. Each of the Illinois Wildlife Preservation Fund Grant Program packets for Fiscal Year 2014 includes a program explanation, instructions for completing the application form, and an application form.
The application packet can be found on the IDNR website at http://dnr.state.il.us/grants/index.htm. The packet is also available by request by calling 217-782-2602 or by e-mail at DNR.SPECIALFUNDS@illinois.gov.
Registration opened Wednesday for the IDNR Becoming an Outdoors Woman Workshop on June 7-9 at the Lorado Taft Field Campus in Oregon.
Workshops are designed to provide introductory instruction and experiences in many outdoor-related activities and skills. Examples of classes include canoeing, archery, handguns, nature jewelry, mammal trapping, wild edibles, basic fishing, rifle and outdoor cooking.
The cost of $215 per person includes housing, meals, classes, use of equipment, transportation during the event. Register at www.dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/bow.