IL: DNR expands pheasant hunting at three sites
Benton, Ill. - Pheasant hunters in parts of the state where pheasants are hard to come by got a generous New Year's gift from DNR.
The agency extended the controlled pheasant hunting seasons at Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County and Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area in Franklin and Jefferson counties.
A total of five days have been added to seasons at the popular pheasant hunting sites. The added dates are Jan. 11 through the 15th.
According to a news release by DNR, the season extensions are possible because the DNR Wildlife Propagation Centers have had a better than expected pheasant production season in 2011.
Meanwhile, an earlier change in the controlled pheasant hunting program increased the hunter quota at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area. Starting on Dec. 10, the hunter quota went from the standard 55 hunters per day to 70 hunters per day.
The new quota will run through the remainder of the hunting season.
The hunter quota increase is due to very strong interest in controlled pheasant hunting at the site by central Illinois pheasant hunters, DNR explained when making the announcement.
Jim Edgar Panther Creek is in Cass County, 11 miles northwest of Ashland. The Controlled Pheasant Hunting Unit at the Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA consists of 5,500 acres of grassland habitat interspersed with some crop stubble fields and small- to medium-sized woodlots.
For all controlled pheasant hunting programs, hunters are encouraged to use the online reservation system at www.dnr.illinois.gov to secure permits for expanded hunting opportunities, or to check availability of hunting dates.
Standby permits are also available at each site, although standby hunting opportunities may be limited.
To access the reservation system, click on the "Hunting/Trapping" button on the toolbar on the DNR home page, then click on the pheasant icon. Click on "Controlled Pheasant Areas" under the "Quick Links" heading.
The daily permit fee for controlled pheasant hunting is $25 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters. The daily permit fee applies to each hunter. Reserved permits are paid for via credit card during the application process. Completing a permit reservation online can be accomplished as late as 24 hours before an available hunt date and takes less than five minutes.
Standby hunters pay daily permit fees at the site hunter check station on the hunt date. Standby hunters need to be prepared to pay permit fees with cash.