Host of new laws aimed to aid state’s hunters

Springfield — Water is no longer considered “bait” for deer and turkeys, making life somewhat easier for farmers who hunted property where they also raised livestock.

The somewhat cloudy law was changed earlier this month when Gov. Pat Quinn signed House Bill 1003, which more clearly defines deer and turkey baiting. Previous wording in baiting legislation was sometimes interpreted to include pure water as bait, raising questions as to whether or not farmers who put out water for livestock could legally hunt the same property.

HB 1003 concludes that pure water is not bait.

“If you put out water for livestock and pets, you could have been considered baiting technically under the law, and we were looking to fix that,” DNR Director Marc Miller said during a conference call.
Miller used the call to detail a handful on new laws signed by Quinn that affect hunters in the state.

One piece of legislation, Senate Bill 1620, also known as the “wants and waste bill,” requires hunters to use all edible parts of harvested animals. The new law, effective Jan. 1, 2014, addresses the disposal of carcasses and the meat from game animals and birds.

Before passage of the law, it was not illegal for a hunter to shoot an animal and leave it in the field.

Under the new law, any parts deemed usable meat that are infected or not safe for human consumption are legal to discard. It is unlawful to “place, leave, dump, or abandon a wildlife carcass or parts of it along or upon a public right-of-way or highway or on public or private property, including a waterway or stream, without the permission of the owner or tenant.”

The subject may seem somewhat irrelevant to hunters who appropriately use all parts of the game they harvest, but Miller pointed out that 18 percent of the calls last year to DNR’s TIPS hotline concerned dumped carcasses of deer, turkeys and other animals and birds.

“We wanted to put the law in place so we can get at those folks who are doing that kind of thing,” he said. “It also gives us another tool to fight poaching.”

Other bills signed into law by Quinn:

  • Senate Bill 1170 makes it illegal to possess any animal that was not legally taken in another territory or state. DNR has consistently assisted in investigation of poaching in other states. When it is found that the person illegally took the animal(s) in another state, the hunter would be prosecuted for the illegal taking, but would not be punished for bringing the animal into Illinois. This legislation allows the department to recoup some of its investigative costs by charging the individual with illegal possession. The law is effective Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Senate Bill 50 allows veterans who complete the online portion of Hunter Safety requirements in Illinois to receive a hunter safety card without having to take the field portion of the hunter safety course. To obtain the hunter safety card, the veteran will have to provide the department with the online hunter education certification as well as military verification. The law is effective immediately.
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