The Illinois Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police are alerting waterfowl hunters to avoid state and federal baiting violations by not hunting from fields damaged by recent field fires in Illinois.

Due to the extremely dry weather conditions in recent weeks, numerous field fires have occurred throughout the state, damaging crops and resulting in large amounts of grain being left exposed on the ground in those fields. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service baiting regulations state:

“The presence of seed or grain in an agricultural area rules out waterfowl hunting unless the seed or grain is scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, normal agricultural harvesting, normal agricultural post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice.”

Though inadvertent, since the recent field fires are not considered a normal agricultural practice, the fires have created areas that will be considered baited for the 2020-21 Illinois waterfowl hunting seasons until all grain left on the ground has been removed. Hunting in or near these areas is prohibited by state and federal law.

Hunters with questions regarding waterfowl hunting and baiting can contact their local IDNR Conservation Police Officer. A directory with CPO contact information can be found on the IDNR website at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/LawEnforcement/Documents/DistrictCPOPhonesAndEmails.pdf.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) recently announced changes to 2020-2021 deer hunting procedures at state sites. The changes, health and safety protocols implemented in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will provide greater protection to both the hunting public and site staff during the season.

Hunters should follow all public health guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, including wearing masks when social distancing cannot be achieved and refraining from congregating in parking lot areas. Through responsible actions, hunters can help ensure that site hunting programs continue to offer Illinoisans healthy outdoor recreation opportunities.

The following changes in regulations will apply to IDNR sites participating in the deer hunting program:

No standby deer hunting will occur on state sites for the 2020-2021 hunting seasons. Deer hunting during the Firearm, Muzzleloading Rifle, CWD, and Late Winter Deer Seasons on state sites where special permits are issued through the regular statewide drawing will be limited to those persons already in possession of a site permit at the beginning of the season. In the past, standby drawings were held to fill unmet quotas or allow additional hunters to go afield once others had harvested deer. These drawings often resulted in crowded conditions at site offices.

I went to the Hoopeston DMV on Tuesday of this week and purchased 3 Life-Time Trailer Plates for my 3 trailers. I got quite a few replies from people that read my last week’s column. Just make sure your truck, trailer and load are under 8,000 pounds.

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

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