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Heartland Outdoors turkey hunt Illinois may 2018


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Heartland Outdoors

Fishing Event at Pere Marquette State Park

Thu, May 17, 2018

GRAFTON, IL – For a day filled with fun and educational activities for the entire family, check out the Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pere Marquette State Park near Grafton, on Illinois Route 100. 

The 28th annual Fishing Fair will include a wide variety of favorite activities from previous years.  Participating children will find a new and improved catch-and-release bluegill pond, where young anglers can have their photograph taken with their catch; the popular One-Cast station, where everyone wins a prize; and, bowfishing stations where children can shoot at moving targets in a pool, or at a 3D target.  Every child who completes at least seven stations will receive a prize and have the chance to catch a trout in the trout pond.

A 4,000-gallon mobile aquarium - Texas Bass Tanks with Brad Campbell - will be featured this year, stocked with many of the fish species found in the Illinois River. Fishing seminars will be presented all day, featuring local experts providing a variety of fishing information.  “Camo the Clown” will be back at the fishing fair this year, and the Lodge Brothers will be returning as part of the event entertainment.  There will be food available for purchase throughout the day.

“We want to get kids to get hooked on fishing, and not on some of the less desirable things that are available for our kids to do,” said Scott Isringhausen, Illinois Department of Natural Resources Urban Fishing Coordinator. “Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are able to continue to offer this free event. We are very fortunate to have the support of the Phillips 66 Wood River Refinery as a Premier Sponsor, along with Farm and Home Supply, Cabela’s of Hazelwood, Walmart, the Jersey County Board, and many others.”

The event is hosted by the United States Army Corps of Engineers, the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center (NGRREC), Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge (administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), and Pere Marquette State Park (administered by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources).

There is no charge to attend the Two Rivers Family Fishing Fair, or to catch a fish, and parking is free. No fishing license or fishing gear are needed to participate in the event. For more information contact: Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge at 618-883-2524 or Pere Marquette State Park at 618-786-3323 ext. 1.


Free Fishing Day at Crab Orchard Refuge

Fri, May 11, 2018

The event is for kids 12 and under but it is one of the more pleasant experiences of the year. Annual Free Fishing Days Kids Derby at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge in southern Illinois.  The event on June 9, 2018 is staffed and sponsored by local merchants, the US Fish & Wildlife Service, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and local volunteers from Take Pride in America and Friends of Crab Orchard Refuge.

The only expense to families in attendance is the cost of gasoline to get to Prairie Creek Recreation Area.  To get there exit Illinois Route 13 at Green Briar Road and go south to Campground Road.  Follow Campground Road 1 ½ miles west to the Prairie Creek Recreation Area.

Participants may bring their own tackle or use the rods and reels provided.  Bait is provided.

Worms are the most popular bait among the young set.  They catch almost any kind of fish.  Worms are not difficult to thread on a hook.  Adult assistance for fishing techniques and in baiting a hook is available if required.

The first 100 children to register at the site receive a free T-shirt.  Other awards are for the biggest fish, smallest fish and most fish in each of the age categories.  Fishing began at 8:00 A.M. and continues until noon when the participants are treated to a free lunch and the awards are announced.

The idea is for the youngsters to have a positive experience.  Then they will want to return.  They might even bring an adult with them.

For more information about this event, contact the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Visitor Center at Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge.  The telephone number is 618-997-3344.  The center is located at 8588 Route 148, Marion, Illinois 62959.

For more information on lodging accommodations as well as outdoor activities in Williamson County, or to receive a free color Fishing Guide, contact VisitSI at 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, IL 62959.  Call 800-GEESE-99 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  Current information is also available online at


Illinois Conservation Foundation Announces Recipient of 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship

Thu, May 10, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Conservation Foundation (ICF) today announced the selection of Preston Launius of Sesser as the recipient of the 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship. The Sesser-Valier High School senior will receive $2,000 to apply to specified college expenses.

“The Illinois Conservation Foundation is pleased to award the 2018 Conservation Achievement Scholarship to Preston Launius for his academic efforts in the classroom, and his community service efforts in and around his hometown of Sesser in southern Illinois,” said Wayne Rosenthal, chairman of the Illinois Conservation Foundation Board of Directors and Director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.  “Thanks to the donors who make the program possible, the Conservation Achievement Scholarships are one way in which the ICF is able to recognize and reward the hard work on conservation stewardship and natural resources protection being done by youth in Illinois.”

Preston Launius is an avid outdoors enthusiast, who enjoys fishing and hunting.  He is also a longtime member of the Sesser-Valier High School Outdoorsmen Club.  One of the club’s primary events each November is joining the Corps of Engineers in hosting a special deer hunt for people with disabilities at Rend Lake.  Club members construct hunting blinds prior to the hunt, and camouflage the blinds by cutting invasive autumn olive, helping control the troublesome plant. Club members then assist participating individuals during the three-day hunt, providing a worthwhile experience for the disabled hunters.  Preston also improves fish and wildlife habitat using discarded natural Christmas trees, and he and other youth hunters target coyotes to help protect and expand populations of rabbits, wild turkeys and deer.

Preston Launius plans to attend Rend Lake College in Ina, Illinois, and hopes to pursue a career as an Illinois Conservation Police officer.

“Congratulations to Preston Launius on being selected as this year’s scholarship recipient, and thank you to all of the donors to the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s scholarship fund,” said Eric Schenck, ICF Executive Director. “Over the years, the Conservation Achievement Scholarship program has been able to provide more than $100,000 in support to the academic and career endeavors of young conservationists in Illinois.”

Applicants for the ICF Conservation Achievement Scholarship program must be outstanding high school seniors in Illinois who have demonstrated effective, voluntary, long-term dedication to the preservation, protection, enhancement and/or promotion of Illinois’ natural resources. Other criteria also apply. For more information, check the ICF website at

For information on donating to and supporting the Conservation Achievement Scholarships or other ICF programs, contact the foundation at 217-785-2003, or donate online at


Stay Safe this Paddling Season

Wed, April 18, 2018

Paddlers are itching to get out on the water after this year’s long and cold winter. Review these simple safety tips before you head out on the water for your first paddling trip this year.

Check your canoe or kayak for any needed repairs or maintenance after being stored for several months. Look for holes and leaks, make sure all hatch lids fit snug and securely and check your paddle blades for signs of cracking or splitting.

Dust off your life jacket and make sure all buckles and zippers work properly and look for holes and tears. Replace the life jacket if it has damage that cannot be repaired. Wear a life jacket at all times while on the water, regardless of your swimming ability.

Wear a wetsuit or dry suit, along with layers, to help avoid hypothermia or cold water shock. Do not wear cotton. Dress for water immersion, not the air temperature. You can adjust your clothing needs as the water heats up over the next several weeks.

Always bring along a dry bag with a set of extra clothes you can change into if you get wet, a first-aid kit and a protected cell phone or weather radio. Pack plenty of water to stay hydrated. Stretch before you enter your boat to help prevent injuries.

Let a friend or loved one know where you are going and when you are expected to return. It will be easier to find you if you need help.

Be Aware of Changing Conditions
After snowmelt and heavy rains, water levels can rise quickly and produce strong and fast current. “Strainers” are numerous on most rivers, especially after high water events. A “strainer” can be a pile of tree limbs and debris, usually found on the outside of river bends where they continue to collect and pile up. The river’s current can suck you under a deadly “strainer” and hold you underwater with little chance of escape. A “sweeper” is found above the water’s surface and can be a tree that is ready to fall into the river. Hanging tree limbs can knock you out of your boat or grab you by your life jacket or clothing and not let go.

Always be aware of where low head dams are on the river you are paddling. Never go over a low head dam. Watch for warning signs, as well as signs telling you where and when to get off the river. Put back in well downstream of the low head dam. The hydraulics of the dam will not let you escape as the turbulence of the water will be strong enough to keep pulling you and your boat under the water over and over again.

Jet skis, motorboats, water skiers and anglers will be out on the water when the weather is nice. Give everyone plenty of room. If a “wake” is approaching your boat, point the front of your boat into the wave to prevent your boat from tipping when the wave strikes.

New Water Trail Maps
Now that you are prepared for water fun, start planning your trip with the new Iowa DNR Water Trail maps. Pocket-sized brochures for a dozen water trails, including the Lower Des Moines, Maquoketa, South Skunk, and all of the Raccoon Rivers can be requested. Download easy-to-print PDF versions formatted to 8.5 x 11 from the Iowa DNR Web site at

Media Contacts: Todd Robertson, Iowa DNR River Programs Outreach Coordinator at 515-243-3714 or John Wenck, Iowa DNR River Programs Water Trails Coordinator at 515-725-8465.


Stocking of 740,000 catchable size trout underway.

Wed, April 11, 2018

MADISON - Stocking trucks are rolling from state fish hatcheries now and will deliver about 740,000 catchable-size trout to more than 400 inland waters in time for opening day of the 2018 regular inland trout season.

Additional fish were raised and are being stocked through cooperative rearing agreements with fishing clubs and 70,000 fish will be stocked in urban fishing waters cooperatively managed with the local municipality and used as a place for fishing clinics and kids fishing.


Youth Hunters harvest around 1,723 birds

Tue, April 10, 2018

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – According to preliminary data from Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC), young turkey hunters harvested 1,723 turkeys during the 2018 spring youth season, April 7-8. Top harvest counties were Franklin with 51 turkeys harvested, Miller with 43, and Maries with 43.

Young hunters checked a little over 4,000 turkeys during last year’s youth weekend.

MDC’s Turkey Biologist, Jason Isabelle, says the drop in harvest can be attributed mostly to unseasonably cold temperatures this weekend and for much of spring thus far.

“Weather was the biggest contributing factor to this year’s low youth turkey season harvest,” Isabelle said. “Temperatures that were well-below average probably made it difficult for young hunters to spend as much time hunting this past weekend as they would have with more seasonal temperatures.”

Isabelle also notes that in addition to cold temperatures this weekend, spring has been slow to get here this year causing turkeys to be a little behind schedule as far as the winter flock break-up.

“When turkeys are still flocked up as they are in much of the state right now, it can make for some very challenging hunting,” he said. “With warmer temperatures in the forecast, hunting conditions should be much more favorable for the upcoming regular spring turkey season.”

For county-specific information on turkey harvest, visit MDC online at

For more information on the upcoming regular spring turkey hunting season, April 16-May 6, get a copy of MDC’s 2018 Spring Turkey Hunting Regulations and Information booklet, available where permits are sold, or online at

Hunters who harvest their first turkey can have the accomplishment recognized through a special certificate from MDC, complete with a photo. Learn more at


Carlyle Lake Pool Update

Tue, April 03, 2018

As of 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 the pool elevation at Carlyle Lake was 450.76 feet, referenced to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum (NGVD). The current release rate is approximately 5,560 cubic feet per second (cfs). The inflow for Monday, April 2, 2018 was approximately 10,910 day second feet (dsf). With current precipitation on the ground, Carlyle Lake is forecasted to crest at 452.0 feet NGVD on Saturday, April 7, 2018. Carlyle Lake Dam is operating as designed, helping reduce flood stages on the Lower Kaskaskia and Mississippi Rivers.
Due to the rising water level, some breakwaters and facilities will be overtopped and caution should be used when boating near these and other submerged structures. Boaters are also reminded to use caution and watch for floating logs and other debris that may be present. Some township roads around the lake will also become inundated, motorists should use caution when driving in low lying areas around the lake.
Boat ramps impacted by the high water conditions include: Allen Branch, Patoka, and Peppenhorst Branch. High water ramps at Dam West, Dam East, Coles Creek, Apache, Tamalco and Boulder will be available for launching.
The Corps of Engineers continues to work closely with their partners, the Carlyle Lake Association, Mid-Kaskaskia River Association and the Okaw River Basin Coalition to monitor the situation. For more information, contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)


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