BY SAM VAN CAMP
The Illinois wild turkey season begins Monday and extends through May 16th in the Northern Zone (our zone). The wild turkey season has become a favorite hunt by many hunters throughout the state and gives hunters the opportunity to have a big game hunt long after the deer season is over.
Wild turkeys were abundant in Illinois prior to European settlement. During the 1800’s, unregulated hunting and the extensive clearing of forests were the beginning of the decline of the species.
The state legislature closed the state to wild turkey hunting in 1903, in an effort to preserve the remaining populations. It was too little too late, and by 1910, wild turkeys had been eliminated from Illinois.
Now the wild turkey populations thrive in Illinois after the state reintroduced them in 1959 and each year new turkey hunters enter the woodlands and fields with hope of bagging one of the most prized North American game birds.
Veteran hunters continue to participate in the challenge and tradition of turkey hunting while introducing new hunters to this exciting recreational opportunity.
To legally hunt the wild turkey in Illinois a hunter must have a current hunting license, a Habitat Stamp, and a turkey permit for the season he is hunting.
The turkey hunt is divided into five seasons and hunters are in the woods during the time the mushroom season is at its peak.
State sites are closed to mushroom hunting until 1 p.m. each day because of turkey hunters in the field. The turkey season ends at 1 p.m. each day.
There will a be zero tolerance this season on people found in the turkey hunt areas of state properties before 1 p.m. and it is up to the individual to know where these areas are located.
These areas are posted but signs may be knocked down or missing so individuals should know exactly where they are not to be during the hunting hours.
Our state’s bat population could be in serious trouble according to some data I have read concerning White Nose Syndrome which is a disease in bats which is between 90-100 percent fatal.
Who cares about the bats? You should possibly have a concern especially if you spend time in the outdoors. Bats eat night-flying insects. In fact, a big brown bat may eat between 3,000 and 7,000 of these insects in a single night thus reducing populations of these pesky insects.
There is no cure for this disease at the present time putting our state’s bat populations at risk. Illinois is home to an estimated six million bats which consist of thirteen species; seven of which may be affected by the disease.
The Middle Fork River is closed until further notice to canoeing and kayaking due to the high water levels. With more rain on the way this week, it could be some time before the river is reopened. Be careful around our rivers this season.
There will be a meeting of those persons interested in saving the two dams in Danville on April 22nd at 6 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Danville.
There is a National Fishing Lure Collectors Club (NFLCC) Lure Meet in Effingham, Illinois next Saturday from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 1501 W. Fayette in Effingham. Take Exit 159 off Route 70.
This is a nice show that has been going on for quite a few years and I always try to make it. I hope to see any fishing tackle collectors there. There is also a lot of fishing tackle sold as well as collectibles so come down and check it out.
Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org