The proposal to give Illinois more options in establishing zones for waterfowl hunting, namely a fourth zone proposal for the five seasons from 2011-15, took a small step forward at the federal level.
Here is the statement from IDNR director Marc Miller in response:
"The Illinois DNR has been asking the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for more options for duck zones for more than 15 years and the recommendation from the Service Regulations Committee is great news for Illinois duck hunters.
"Wildlife staff from the IDNR have worked with biologists and wildlife chiefs from all other states in the nation to develop a consensus regarding the requests by the Flyway Councils to the Service asking for these two additional options for setting duck zones and splits. In addition, Governor Pat Quinn and I have asked the Service and the Department of the Interior to consider these changes this year for future seasons. We commend the Service Regulations Committee for recommending this change and look forward to working with our duck hunters to determine what configuration Illinois will use for the 2011-2015 seasons."
I will admit, from the beginning I thought this proposal would have no chance winding through the bureaucratic process. But I am beginning to believe.
It makes sense, a lot of sense, considering the wide variety of climiate and winter ice conditions across Illinois.
A fourth zone would greatly add to the options. Even though adding the fourth zone would open another one of those raging battles over drawing zone lines.
It still needs go-ahead approval at the highest levels from the feds.
More to come.