Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Illinois Department of Natural Resources to Host Public Meetings for Proposed Archery Deer Restrictions in Five Eastern Illinois Counties

Back in January, the Natural Resources Advisory Board (NRAB) discussed the possibility of archery restrictions in Champaign, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties.  If you archery deer hunt in any of these counties, please consider attending one of the informational meetings.  Your voice deserves to be heard in regards to this issue.

Press Release from DNR:

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) invites deer hunters, landowners, and others interested in deer management to attend public meetings regarding potential changes in archery deer hunting regulations in five eastern Illinois counties. The IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources will host the public open house meetings to provide information about the status of deer populations in the affected counties, and to accept comments on a number of alternative management options intended to boost deer populations in Champaign, Douglas, Macon, Moultrie and Piatt counties. Most of these options would require changes to the archery regulations that have been in effect for the past several years. No formal presentation is planned; attendees can stop by at any time during the open house meetings to view informational materials and talk one-on-one to IDNR biologists.

Two public open house meetings are scheduled: 
June 12, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Forbes Natural History Building (University of Illinois campus) conference room
1816 South Oak Street Champaign, IL 61820

June 14, 2018, 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Rock Springs Nature Center auditorium
3939 Nearing Lake, Decatur 62521

Unless there is significant opposition to growing deer herds to currently-adopted county goals, the IDNR would propose changes to the archery deer regulations for the five counties this summer through the State of Illinois’ administrative rules process. Depending on when any regulation changes are approved by the General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR), they could go into effect for the upcoming 2018 Archery Deer Season, or they may have to wait until the 2019 season.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Illinois 100th General Assembly Spring Session Wrap-up // Hunting and Fishing Legislation

Both the House and Senate have concluded their Spring Session.  Below you will find a breakdown of all bills that have passed both chambers and now move onto the Governor.  Once the Governor receives each piece of legislation, he will have 60 days to take action; either sign or veto each respected piece of legislation.  We will keep you updated as this happens.

Both the House and Senate will return for Veto Session on November 13th.


The FY19 budget (HB 109) and budget implementation bill were passed by both the House and Senate.  In the past years of the Rauner Administration, you may have heard a lot of conversation surrounding the budget on news broadcast and other avenues, however this year was different, as legislators and staff kept much of the proceedings behind closed doors. The process went seemingly smooth as the election draws near.

The following are some of the highlights of the budget related to the DNR:
  • This budget fully funds the Capital Budget which includes but is not limited to infrastructure rehabilitation and other grant programs. 
  • The Department of Natural Resources operating budget stays the same. 
    • Does not appear to be any new funding for Conservation Police
  • According to the bill, unexpended appropriation from FY18 will be reappropriated to the Office of Resource Conservation. 
    • 'The sum of $294,774, or so much thereof as may be necessary and remains unexpended at the close of business on June 30, 2017, from appropriations heretofore made in Article 86, Section 5 of Public Act 99-0524, is reappropriated from the Wildlife and Fish Fund to the  Department of Natural Resources for ordinary and contingent expenses of Resource Conservation.

  • Many have been wondering how the Supplemental Deer Feeding Study will be funded.  Since the Prairie Research Institute is conducting the study, the appropriation will most like come from their budget.  
    • The sum of $14,803,100, or so much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the General Revenue Fund to the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois for costs and expenses related to or in support of the Prairie Research Institute, in accordance with Public Act 95-0728. 
If any of this is confusing please don't worry, the IDNR budget is broken down into dozen of funds and broken down again into other appropriations.  As Capitol Outdoors learns more we will continue to update you.
The following bills are now headed to the Governor:

HB 4231 - Blaze Pink Clothing
  • Authorizes certain hunters to wear solid blaze pink colored clothing (in addition to blaze orange colored clothing).
HB 4783 - Youth Hunt/Trap
  • Amends the Wildlife Code to provide a universal definition of youth to be "under 18" for consistency when it comes to youth hunting programs.
HB 5317 - Poached Deer Restitution Value 
  • Increases the restitution that the DNR will receive when someone illegally takes wildlife.  
    • For example: 
      • Whitetail Deer- increase from $250 to $1000
      • Trumpeter Swan - increase from $250 to $1000
      • Eagle - increase from $500 to $1000
      • Wild Turkey - increase from $250 to $500
HB 5440 - Youth Hunting
  • Provides the the fee for resident and non-resident youth archery deer permit shall be the same. 
    • For example, out of state family under the age of 18 would be able to hunt for the same cost as a resident youth of the State of Illinois. 
HB 5692 - River Otter Limit
  • By deleting the provision that states that the River Otter limit should not exceed five per season, the DNR is able to better manage the population and change the River Otter limit according to the biologists data. 
HB 5693 - Trapping Tags 
  • Currently trappers are required to put their name and address on their traps.  This bill would allow trappers to use their DNR Customer # instead for privacy reasons. 

Capitol Outdoors

SB 2295 - Electronic Fishing Licenses
  • Defines "fishing license" and "combination license" as an electronic or physical copy. 
SB 2493 - Deer Feed
  • This bill provides that the University of Illinois Prairie Research Institute shall, subject to appropriation and in consultation with the Department of Natural Resources and the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine, conduct a study for a period of at least five years on the health and social effects of supplemental deer feeding on the wild deer population outside of any Illinois deer hunting season and whether supplemental deer feeding affects the risk of disease transmission in the deer population.
As always please feel free to reach out to us with any questions. 

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pinckneyville High School wins IHSA Bass Fishing State Championship

Boats manufactured by Crestliner, Bass Tracker, Phoenix, Skeeters and others waited for take off at Carlyle Lake for the 10th Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Bass Fishing Championship. After rain delays Friday and the bitter taste of a goose egg by many schools, anglers were anxious and determined to hit the water and give it another shot.  For the top schools, determination, patience and faith in their plan were fresh in their minds.

IHSA State Finals at Carlyle Lake

First, let me congratulate all those anglers and schools that made it to the state championship. It takes hours of casting, trips to local sporting good stores, and studying of lake maps off the water that led to these great accomplishments for all of you this year. 

"I've learned a lot this year from fishing both on and off the water" said Aidan Kolb from Nazareth Academy.   "You have to know how to cast well and tie knots and get back in the water as fast as possible." he continued.    "It's mental, I think about it a lot and prepare all my stuff." said his teammate Marty McNamara.  I was able to talk to these two as they waited for their other teammates to come in and swap for half the day. 

Throughout the rest of the day, I had the opportunity to chat with several anglers and coaches on the water.  "This is their third year qualifying for state" said boat captain and coach Ron Boyer of Farmington.  It showed as this team worked a stretch of sea wall no longer than 35 yards for nearly 6 hours.  They ended up pulling in five keepers and culling one, which helped them secure second place with a total weight of 15.11 lbs.

Farmington High School took 2nd place at the IHSA State Finals 

"We had to switch from lure to lure and stay dedicated to our plan." said Reece Rother, a member of the St. Charles North #1 team.  Coach Tim Pinks said that, "it was a tough day on the water.  We had boats and other anglers around us all day."  St. Charles North #1 managed to weigh-in a two day total of 15.3 lbs taking third place this year.

Big Bass went to Pierce Knarr of Stillman Valley with a bass weighing in at 4.15 lbs.  When asked what it took to catch that biggin' Pierce stated that, "it took alot of covering water. Casting and reeling, casting and reeling." "I have to thank my couch and my net man, because I couldn't do it without them." he continued.  If you ask Pierce what he caught that fish on all you'll get out of him is that he used a crankbait and when pushed further stated it was a shallow one.

With a two day total of 17.8 lbs the 2018 Champions were the Pinckneyville Panthers. Coach Kreger said that with the weather they needed to keep changing things up.  "They got bit and they put em' in the boat." he said.  Like Farmington, Pinckneyville High School was dedicated to one particular spot.  "We knew the fish we're there we just just had to grind." said Dalton Pyatt of the Pinckneyville Panthers.  "We used the slower baits, so it was a long, long day." he continued.  Teammate Kyle Kreger said, "We knew things were going to be slow, but we stayed in our same spot and it paid off."

Coach Kreger when he realized his team won the State Finals

Over the past ten years many high schools from across the state of Illinois have entered the sport of fishing and it is from those schools anglers have been able to continue their passion for fishing at the college level.  We look forward to seeing the many new anglers that enter the field next year and anticipate another great season.

Pinckneyville High School Bass Fishing

If you are a coach or boat captain for a high school fishing team and would like Capitol Outdoors to come talk with your team, reach out to us.

Check out more results from the state finals here.

Watch the LIVE weigh-in here.

View photos from Day 2 of the State Finals here.