May 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • People
Meet the New Kid in Class: Fish!
Aquaculture in the classroom helps inspire the next generation of students
by Claire Snyder

When you think of fish in a classroom, you may not be picturing fish tanks the size of hot tubs, complete with recirculating pipes, biofiltration, and chemical management systems, but that’s just what some students across the state get to experience.

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May 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Wildlife
Meet the Staff: Jared Trickey, District Wildlife Biologist
by Kaleigh Gabriel

Jared Trickey is a firm believer in the adage, ‘Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.’ Whether he is helping the public, through his new role as an Illinois District Wildlife Biologist, or helping to train individuals through his volunteer work, Trickey believes that best practices in wildlife resource preservation involve teachable moments.

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May 1, 2024
  • People
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Volunteers are the Heartbeat of Safety Education Programs
by Cody Gray

Hunters born on or after January 1, 1980, and trappers born on or after January 1, 1998, are required by Illinois state law to complete an approved Illinois course to receive their hunt/trap license. Some people opt to enroll in an on-line course and follow up with a required field day of instruction. Others opt to take an in-person course offered by an Illinois Department of Natural Resources safety education volunteer. Check out this article to learn how you can enroll in an approved course.

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May 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Wildlife
Meet the Staff: Matthew Hunsaker, District Wildlife Biologist
by Kaleigh Gabriel

Having accepted the position as an Illinois Department of Natural Resources District Wildlife Biologist, based out of the Des Plaines Game Propagation Center in Wilmington, Matthew Hunsaker will have abundant opportunity to let his ample knowledge of resource conservation practices shine.

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May 1, 2024
  • People
  • Wildlife
Wildlife Illinois Redesigned
by Anderson Wiese

For all these years the Wildlife Illinois website has served well, but it was beginning to get a little long in the tooth. Technology, design, and usability needed a refresh. Read more to discover the usage trends and design choices that informed the look of the newly updated Wildlife Illinois website.

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May 1, 2024
  • People
  • Research
  • Wildlife
Monitoring Illinois Turkey Population is a Public-Private Partnership
by Luke Garver

Over the last 15 years or so, much of the eastern United States has experienced declines in wild turkey populations. To get a better grasp of what is going on at multi-state and regional scales, a standardized form of data collection was developed to compare trends more accurately amongst states. In Illinois, the public is invited to join wildlife professionals to collect wild turkey brood survey data. Learn how to participate here.

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May 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Wildlife
Quail Comeback
by Carla Rich Montez

Almost everywhere you look on Brent Fowler’s McDonough County farm, a restored habitat is visible. But it hasn’t always been that way. Fowler has noticed that his new habitats are also attracting other wildlife. After years of grassland restoration, the property now hosts bobwhite quail, bobcats, eastern whip-poor-wills, bald eagles, rabbits, a variety of pollinators and the state-endangered short-eared owl. Quoting from a popular 1980s movie, Fowler characterizes his habitat restoration efforts this way: “If you build it, they will come.’”

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May 1, 2024
  • People
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
A Case Against a Poacher
by Steven Beltran

Retired Illinois Conservation Police Officer Steve Beltran recounts one particularly notable case he had the privilege of working on. What began with an image depicting a white-tailed deer unlawfully taken during the closed season that was posted on a website required navigating the diverse maze of the internet to build a solid case for the prosecution. As the digital trails were unraveled and fragments of information were pieced together, a case was built against a poacher.

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May 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • People
  • Recreation
How to Earn Bragging Rights for a Record Fish
by Kathy Andrews Wright

Once in a blue moon, the fish at the end of the line of a long-fought battle is a personal best—and just may be a contender for a state record. Remarkably, from 2021 to 2022, 10 Illinois state records were broken, and already in 2024 one record-breaking fish has been certified. Read about some of these record-breaking fish and what it takes to have a fish certified.

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May 1, 2024
  • Land
  • People
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Introducing IRAP’s 2023 Landowner of the Year: Lifelong Bird Hunter and Conservationist, Chuck Martin
by Alex Davis

Chuck Martin isn’t your typical landowner. An avid upland bird hunter, his love of wildlife and time spent outdoors has made him an exceptional advocate of conservation practices. His dedication to conservation doesn’t stop there because as a participant in the Illinois Recreational Program he has implemented habitat management projects on his property and is providing opportunities to countless hunters and anglers in Illinois.

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Welcome to the May 2024 edition of the online magazine OutdoorIllinois Journal, featuring timely, seasonally based stories about the Prairie State’s wildlife resources, with an expansion of content to include a broader range of subjects—including endangered and threatened species and Illinois’ unique, high-quality habitats and the people working to preserve, protect and manage these resources.

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