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Illinois Hunting Report: Season opener

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Waiting on the decision on the fourth zone for waterfowl hunting leads the first Illinois Hunting Report of the season, but there's also squirrel hunting, the start to applying for controlled pheasant hunting and waterfowl blind draws.


Just nice to run a photo of picking up decoys last fall.

During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the IHR, which appears most weeks during the hunting season in the outdoors page of the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays.

I am behind by a day, in part because I was waiting to see if the feds had announced their decision on the fourth zone, but mostly because it is just one of those weeks for somebody who works from home.

Obviously, the big news will be if there will be a fourth waterfowl zone in Illinois. That will be a separate post.

If you have suggestions, e-mail me at or post in the comments.


The other big news that could come this week is the possibility that IDNR officials will try an innovative way to draw the line between the central and north zones through Grundy, Will and Cook. We'll see. I like the idea.


Here's the word from the IDNR:

Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online

Online applications for IDNR-managed sites begin Aug. 1

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 19 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites this fall, and the 2011-12 season dates and permit reservation information are now available online.

Fifteen of the sites are operated by the IDNR, while four other sites will continue to be operated in a public/private partnership arrangement between the IDNR and concessionaire T. Miller, Inc.

"The controlled pheasant program provides an upland game hunting experience for thousands of hunters in Illinois each year and is a great opportunity for young hunters to have success," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "We hear frequently about how much the program is appreciated and we are pleased to be able to continue it another year. Now is the time to check the website and make plans for the upcoming season."

The online permit reservation system for the 15 IDNR-operated sites opens on Aug. 1 and permit information, season dates, and other information are now available. Detailed information and permit reservations are now available for the four sites managed by T. Miller, Inc. Hunters need to review the application instructions and season information accessible online prior to submitting an application.

On IDNR-operated sites, controlled pheasant hunting fees will remain the same for the 2011-12 season. The daily permit fee for the controlled pheasant program is $25 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters. The daily permit fee applies to each hunter. Hunters will be required to pay for reserved permits in advance over a secure online system using an American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit card. The credit card account will be billed when hunters submit an application. A transaction fee of $2.50 will be assessed for each application, except for applications submitted for the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt.

The public/private partnership controlled pheasant hunting areas are Chain O'Lakes State Park in Lake County, Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Kendall County, Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area in Fayette County, and Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County. Information about controlled pheasant hunting at these sites is available on the concessionaire's website at or via a link on the IDNR website at

Of the 15 sites operated by the IDNR, five offer only the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt opportunity for young hunters between the ages of 10-15. Those five sites are the Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area in Tazewell County, Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in DeWitt County, Edward Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area in Logan County, Sangchris Lake State Park in Christian and Sangamon Counties and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Randolph County.

Nine sites provide lengthy hunting seasons for hunters as well as special hunting days for young hunters. Those nine sites are Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area in Henry County, Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area in Will County, Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee County, Iroquois County State Wildlife Area, Moraine View State Recreation Area in McLean County, Sand Ridge State Forest in Mason County, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass County, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County, and Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area in Jefferson and Franklin Counties.

Green River State Wildlife Area in Lee County provides 15 days of controlled pheasant hunting during a season that extends from early November until just before Christmas.

At Des Plaines, Moraine View and Eldon Hazlet, hunting opportunities are available for hunters with disabilities where special vehicles are provided to assist with the hunt.

Online permit reservations for the first drawing period on IDNR-operated sites will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 1 through 1:00 p.m. on Aug. 8. Two additional one-week drawing periods are scheduled thereafter. Hunters need to review the application instructions and season information on the controlled pheasant hunting website prior to submitting an application. To navigate to the controlled pheasant hunting website once the IDNR website has been accessed, hunters should follow these directions:

• Click on "Upland Game" from the drop down menu under the "Hunting/Trapping" button on the toolbar
• Then click on "Controlled Pheasant Areas" under the "Quick Links" heading

IDNR-operated controlled pheasant hunting sites will continue to have a portion of their hunter quota allocated to standby hunters. Standby hunters acquire permits and pay permit fees at the site hunter check station on the day of the hunt. For those sites involved in the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt, standby permits are only available at Edward Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area, Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area and Sangchris Lake State Park.

Hunters without computers are encouraged to gain access to the controlled pheasant hunting online reservation system by checking with family or friends with a computer or by using a computer at their local public library. Completing a permit reservation online takes less than five minutes.

For complete details, check the controlled pheasant hunting website at or the T. Miller, Inc. website at


Click here for info on the waterfowl blind draws. The general idea is the northern ones are Saturday, the Illinois River and others are Sunday.


Season is Sept. 3-18.


Season opens, as usual, on Sept. 1.


I know this is early for the traditional BOTW for hunters, by only two months though, but some nice buck photos are starting to arrive BOTW: Unplugged, the weekly celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors.

BOTW runs Wednesdays and BOTW: Unplugged on Sundays on the outdoors page in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.

E-mail nominations to


For IDNR hunting info, click here.

For the Illinois 2011-12 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.

Waiting on the 2011-12 edition of the Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulation.

For the 2009-10 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here. The 2010-11 version should be out shortly.

For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on July 27, 2011 10:29 PM.

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