I was watching the beginning of the Indianapolis 500 race on Sunday before Memorial Day and watched as what appeared to be hundreds of balloons being released before the race. That was quite a celebration to say the least!

The first thought that came to my mind was simply this’ “Just how many wildlife victims will there be from such a liftoff”? I remembered the photo of a dead calf a friend of mine had sent me recently. The calf had evidently bitten at the balloon, it popped in its mouth and what was left of the balloon covered its nose and mouth. What a horrible way to die!

It has long been acknowledged that adversely affects wildlife by doing things like setting off balloons at celebrations, throwing rice at weddings, and dropping pop tabs and bottle caps from boats.

Just how many wildlife deaths could we avoid if we just used some common sense when we celebrate or spend time outdoors?

The IDNR reminds boat owners in Illinois to check their three-year boat registration/decal and renew their registration if it expires in 2019. Renewing watercraft registration can be done online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov or by phone by calling 1-866-867-3542. To renew registration, have available the watercraft’s Illinois registration number, the first six characters of the watercraft’s hull ID number, the first three letters of the registered owner’s last name, and a credit card. New or renewed three-year watercraft registrations will expire on Sept. 30 in the calendar year of expiration. For details on Illinois watercraft registration requirements and fees, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/boating/Pages/default.aspx. Unpowered watercraft, including canoes, kayaks, paddle boats, or paddle boards in Illinois are no longer required to have a Water Usage Stamp.

Illinois Free Fishing Days are June 14-17. For more information on fishing in Illinois: www.ifishillinois.org

Resident and non-resident deer hunters can apply for the second lottery drawing for 2019 Illinois Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader-only Deer permits. The deadline to apply for the second lottery is June 30. For more information on deer hunting, check the website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx

The online lottery application period is open through June 30 for Non-Resident Illinois Archery Combination Deer permits for the 2019-2020 deer season. A link for the online application is available on the IDNR website: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/DeerPermitsFees.aspx

Non-residents may apply for one combination archery permit per season. The upcoming Illinois Archery Deer season is Oct. 1, 2019 - Jan. 19, 2020 (except closed in firearm deer counties on Nov. 22-24 and Dec. 5-8, 2019).

Online applications will be accepted from resident Illinois hunters through June 30 for the first lottery for Illinois Free Dove Hunting Permits for hunting at select state sites. For more information on dove hunting permit areas and free dove permits, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/dove/Pages/OnlinePermitApplication.aspx

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