The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

March 14, 2013

Where did the area Whippoorwills go?


DANVILLE — I had a reader put me on a very interesting article this past week. The article was on the decline of whippoorwills throughout this country and especially throughout the Midwest.

I hadn’t given this much thought until I stopped to think when I last heard the call of a whippoorwill. It had been quite some time the more I thought about it. How about you?

Sitting in a boat at night 20 years ago or so was commonplace for me and the sound of those birds at dusk will ever linger in my mind. If you have ever heard one, you will probably never forget it but young people now may never have heard their call.

The population of whippoorwills has greatly declined in part probably to how we live. The author cited a major decline in the moth population possibly due to pesticides as one factor. The other factor cited was the invasion of invasive plant species that are crowding the forests. The whippoorwill requires open forests in which to live and these invasive plants are clogging our wooded areas.

The nighthawk, another moth eating species of bird is also in rapid decline. The author suggested that if a person owned a piece of land, say a back 40, that they do some controlled burning or cutting to open that wooded area up in places to help reestablish the populations of these birds.

Resident permits

I had someone send me an e-mail early in the week about the first day a person could apply for resident permits. I ran this last Friday and, with all the e-mails and phone calls I got on the dams and their removal this week, I may have forgotten to answer this one. Here is what you need to know.

Resident Illinois deer hunters can apply online from now 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 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 (first season) and Dec. 5-8 (second season). The 2013 muzzleloader-only permits may be used Dec. 13-15 (and in the second firearm season, Dec. 5-8).

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