May 1, 2024
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Tale of Two Teals
Blue-winged and green-winged are colorful native Illinois ducks with similar and differing behaviors
by Sheryl DeVore

Teal are exciting ducks for bird watchers to observe, and they are among the top five duck species harvested by hunters in Illinois. Like other dabbling ducks, teals begin pair bonding in fall and winter, and their antics can be observed while they’re resting and feeding on shallow bodies of water during migration in Illinois.

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May 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Recreation
Harnessing the Power of Bowfishing: A Conservation Tool for Modern Times
by Gretchen Steele

Few outdoor sports activities evoke the raw thrill of bowfishing. It’s an unique blend of archery prowess and angler finesse, where enthusiasts aim not for trophies mounted on walls but for conservation and ecological balance.

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May 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Recreation
Fishing on a Budget
by Frank Sladek

One of the best aspects about fishing, especially for new anglers, is that it is budget friendly. Despite what outfitters, tackle companies and hardcore anglers might have you believe, functional fishing gear can be purchased for the cost of an oil change or fancy haircut. With proper care, fishing gear including rods, reels and lures, can be used for decades.

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May 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
The Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Division: A Land of Rare and Unusual Animals
by Kathy Andrews Wright

The diverse and unique habitats of southwestern Illinois’ Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Division host rare reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals and fishes. Plan a trip to southwestern Illinois where you will find soggy landscapes reminiscent of swamps of the South that hold a gleam of promise as home to an amazing diversity of plants and animals.

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May 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
The Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Division: A Land of Ecological Diversity and Distinct Habitats
by Kathy Andrews Wright

Today, with our understanding of the diverse and distinctive natural resources present within the Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Natural Division, our impressions far differ from those of Dickens. What he described as a “breeding place of death” we recognize as an expansive swamp, home to a diverse assemblage of plants, fishes, reptiles, amphibians and birds.

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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
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Adventure Awaits in All Corners of the State
by Curtis Twellmann

No matter where you reside in the state, there are adventures to be found on public land nearby. Whether you are a hunter, a wildlife watcher or just someone who appreciates healthy ecosystems, Illinois’ public lands are places you will want to check out. Join us here on a tour of five Illinois public hunting sites that the Illinois Learn to Hunt program visits for workshops or hunting.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Recreation
IDNR Urban Fishing Instruction in the Classroom Expands in 2024 with Bussing Grants
by IDNR ENTICE, Urban Fishing Program Staff

The Urban Fishing Program is gearing up for another season of fun-filled fishing with schools across the state. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is thrilled to announce that grant money is now available to cover the cost of transportation to fishing locations.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Land
  • Recreation
  • Wildlife
Lessons Learned from My Love Affair with the Owls
by Gretchen Steele

In the quiet corners of the grasslands at Pyramid State Recreation Area, where the owls gaze upon the world, I found a subject for my lens and a lifelong companion. My love affair with short-eared owls became a journey of self-discovery, a voyage into the heart of nature, and an odyssey of lessons that continue to unfold each passing season.

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Feb 1, 2024
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Recreation
Recruitment, Retention and Reactivation of Recreational Anglers in Illinois
by North Joffe-Nelson, Carena J. Van Riper

Who is and isn’t fishing? What are the ages and genders of current anglers? Where do Illinois anglers live? Why are fewer people buying fishing licenses over time? Researchers are working to gain insights into recruitment, retention and reactivation of recreational anglers in Illinois to benefit the management of fisheries resources to meet the needs of all Illinoisians.

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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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