The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

December 7, 2012

Pass helps senior citizens get into parks for free

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — Senior Citizens — did you know that there is a Senior Pass for national parks within the United States?

My wife and I went on a three-week vacation this summer that put us in four national parks and one national cemetery. Before we went into Grand Canyon National Park, we asked for and purchased a Senior Pass for $10 that is good for life and allows us to go to any national park in the country by simply showing the pass and my driver’s license.

After the Grand Canyon, we went into the Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park four different days each; then went into Mount Rushmore National Park and Custer’s National Battlefield. The total cost was $10. The price for a vehicle per day to enter a national park is $25, we figured we saved close to $300.

The National Park Service does not show the pass at the entrance to the parks and no one seems to mention it but, if you ask for it, you will get it. Seniors need to be aware that this pass is available at all national parks and the pass will save lots of money over the years.

Deer total up from last season

Firearm deer hunters in Illinois took a preliminary total of 99,324 deer during the seven-day firearm deer season on Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced this week. This year’s preliminary firearm season harvest total compares with the 97,820 deer taken during the 2011 firearm season.

The preliminary second-season (Nov. 29-Dec. 2) harvest total was 27,213, compared with the 31,259 deer taken by hunters during the second segment of the 2011 season. This year’s preliminary first-season (Nov. 18-20) deer harvest was 72,111, compared with a first-season harvest of 66,501 in 2011. The preliminary harvest totals include deer taken in all counties in which firearm deer hunting is permitted, as well as at Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County.

“If you enjoy deer hunting in warm, spring-like weather, this was the season for you,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. “One of the benefits of having a split firearm deer season is that we typically avoid getting caught in a single weather pattern that might negatively impact the overall harvest. This year, conditions were much more favorable during the first season and less so during the second, but I think we’re right on track with our harvest in most areas.”

Preliminary harvest reports show the top five county totals for deer taken during the seven-day firearm season were Pike (3,068), Fulton (2,815), Adams (2,534), Jo Daviess (2,534), and Randolph (2,221).

Vermilion County firearm hunters harvested 320 deer during the second segment of the season. Hunters harvested 947 deer this season compared to 960 last year during the firearm hunt.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net