Outdoor Recreation Update: Pheasant Hunting & Conservation World

Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information for 2021-22 Season Available Online

Online application period for controlled pheasant hunting sites is Aug. 2 – Aug. 23

Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 18 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites during the 2021-22 hunting season.  Dates and permit reservation information are now available online.

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

“Controlled pheasant hunting in Illinois is an ideal way for hunters, including young hunters, to have a worthwhile upland hunting experience, and now is the time to make plans for pheasant hunting this fall,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan.

The online permit reservation system for IDNR-operated controlled hunting sites opens Monday, Aug. 2, and permit information, season dates, and other information are now available. Detailed information is also available for the two sites operated by T. Miller, Inc.  Hunters should always review the application instructions, season information and regulations accessible online prior to applying.

On IDNR-operated sites, the daily fee for permits acquired online for controlled pheasant hunting is $30 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters.  The daily permit fee applies to each hunter.  Hunters are required to pay for permits acquired online in advance over a secure system using an American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit card. The credit card account is billed when hunters apply.  A transaction fee of $1.00 for a single hunter or 2.25% of the permit fee for multiple hunters will be assessed for each application, except for applications submitted for the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt.

The controlled pheasant hunting areas operated by T. Miller, Inc. are Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County and Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Kendall County.  Information about controlled pheasant hunting at these sites is available on the concessionaire’s website at www.tmillerinc.com or via a link on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov.

Of the 16 sites operated by the IDNR, six provide only the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt opportunity for young hunters between the ages of 10-17.  Those six 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, Pere Marquette State Park in Jersey County, Sangchris Lake State Park in Christian and Sangamon Counties, and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Randolph County.

Nine sites provide lengthy seasons for hunters, as well as additional special hunting days for young hunters under the age of 18.  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 mid-December.

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 lottery period on IDNR-operated sites will be accepted Aug. 2 until 1:00 p.m. Aug. 9.  Two additional one-week lottery periods are scheduled thereafter.  Hunters should always review the application instructions and season information on the controlled pheasant hunting website prior to applying at https://dnr2.illinois.gov/controlledhunt/

Standby hunting will be limited this year.  Only a few permits may be available daily at each site.  Daily standby drawings will occur immediately at the conclusion of the regular check-in time.  Standby permits will not be issued after that at most sites.  Exact procedures and end of check-in time will be posted at each individual site run by the IDNR and on the website under Hunting Areas Information.  To ensure enough pheasants are released each hunting day, all hunters are strongly encouraged to access IDNR-operated controlled pheasant hunting sites by using the online permit reservation system.  Online permits are available up until 9:00 a.m. the day prior to the hunt.

Special note for the 2021-22 hunting season:  Hunters will continue to be required to use non-toxic shotshells when hunting at the Des Plaines SFWA, Horseshoe Lake SP, Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA, Mackinaw River SFWA, Silver Springs SFWA, Chain O’Lakes SP, Eldon Hazlet SRA, Green River SWA, Johnson Sauk Trail SRA and Wayne Fitzgerrell SRA.  Hunters are reminded when hunting at any of these sites that only non-toxic shotshells may in possession while hunting.

For complete details, check the controlled pheasant hunting website at https://dnr2.illinois.gov/controlledhunt/ or the T. Miller, Inc. website at www.tmillerinc.com.

Outdoors Fun for Everyone at Conservation World at the 2021 Illinois State Fair

From big fish to free lumberjack shows, families are invited to sample the fun and excitement of the outdoors at Conservation World at the 2021 Illinois State Fair in Springfield, open Aug. 13-22 and hosted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).

“We invite families to celebrate ‘One Illinois’ and all the great things Illinois has to offer by visiting Conservation World while they attend the 2021 Illinois State Fair,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “Families are our focus at Conservation World, with free activities and entertainment that will provide a great day at the fair for visitors of all ages.”

Conservation World is a 30-acre park with grass, park benches, ponds, and shade trees located on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Fairgrounds adjacent to the IDNR headquarters building.

Among the free entertainment and attractions at Conservation World:

• The Paul Bunyan Lumberjack Show with performances daily;
• Music at the IDNR Outdoor Amphitheater (Aug. 15, 21 and 22);
• Fishing Clinics for kids five times each day;
• Fly Fishing Clinics for youth and adults (Aug. 13-15 and Aug. 20-22);
• IDNR Fisheries staff will stock the see-through aquarium featuring sport fish popular in Illinois waters;
• IDNR Division of Education will present a focus on snakes in Illinois;
• Illinois State Parks, Illinois State Historic Sites and the Illinois State Museum will join together to host displays on the Prairie State’s natural wonders, recreation, history, and culture;
• IDNR Wildlife staff will have information on habitat enhancement, wildlife conservation, and upcoming hunting seasons;
• IDNR Private Land Programs, Natural Heritage Division, and Mason State Nursery staffs will team up to promote expanding pollinator habitat and present Conservation World’s butterfly house;
• IDNR Forest Resources staff will be available with advice on tree planting, tree care, expanding urban forests, and forest management;
• IDNR Mines and Minerals/Oil and Gas Resource Management staff members will present displays and activities on oil and gas production, safe mining practices, and the popular Mineral and Rock Box;
• IDNR Conservation Police will welcome questions on outdoors laws, regulations, and safety.  The Law Enforcement Tent will also host the IDNR Safety Education Youth BB Gun Range, as well as Illinois fishing and hunting license sales;
• Activities, demonstrations and displays will also be featured from the IDNR Office of Water Resources, Illinois State Water Survey, Illinois Natural History Survey, Illinois State Archaeological Society, Illinois EPA, and more;
• The American Chemical Society Illinois Chapter will host science-made-fun games and exhibits daily.

For more details on times for shows and activities – as well as information on other displays and popular vendors in Conservation World – check the IDNR website Conservation World page.

As part of the 2021 Illinois State Fair, Conservation World will be open Friday, Aug. 13 through Sunday, Aug. 22 from 10:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m. each day. Staff and visitors to Conservation World will be required to observe all current guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health regarding face coverings and social distancing.