Waterfowlers have reason to get in the mood

Havana, Ill. — As biologists hover above waterholes and ponds in Canada – filing positive reports of breeding counts and overall duck populations – hunters here in Illinois are preparing for an annual waterfowling tradition: the July round of public waterfowl blind drawings.

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, a dozen crews took off May 4 from Pierre, South Dakota, to begin the 2014 waterfowl Breeding Population and Habitat Survey. So far, rains and standing waters are “a stark contrast to last year’s dry conditions,” the crews reported two weeks after the launch.

Results of the annual Habitat Survey should be available late next month or in early August.

Meanwhile, DNR has released dates and sites for the second round of random drawings for duck and goose blinds at public hunting areas. Blind allocations for the sites during the upcoming drawing are good for one year. The list of sites includes some of the more prime duck hunting property in the state.

To be eligible for the July 26-27 drawings, hunters must register in person and must be present at the drawing.

Also, participants must not have his or her hunting privileges suspended or revoked by the DNR or any other jurisdiction at the time of the drawing.

The schedule for 2014 blind drawings:

July 26

  • Chain O’ Lakes State Park and Redwing Slough/Deer Lake State Natural Area, Lake County: registration for both sites 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oak Point day-use area, 1⁄5 mile east of the Fox River on the south side of Illinois Route 173. Hunters will be allowed to register for only one of the two sites.
  • Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area, Will County:  registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the site office, two miles northwest of Wilmington off exit 241 on Interstate 55.
  • Kankakee River State Park and Momence Wetlands, Kankakee and Will counties: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for both sites at the Kankakee River State Park office, five miles northwest of Bourbonnais on Illinois Route 102.  Hunters will be allowed to register for only one of the two sites.
  • Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area, Grundy County:  registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the site office just off Illinois Route 53, two miles southeast of Braceville.
  • Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, DeKalb County:  registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the park office.  Directions: go 2½  miles south of Shabbona on Shabbona Road, turn east on Shabbona Grove Road and go ½ mile (office is on left side of the road).
  • Sinnissippi Lake, Whiteside County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Harry Oppold Marina, on Stouffer Road on the east edge of Sterling.
  • William Powers State Recreation Area, Cook County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the boat launch, 126th Street and Ave. 0, Chicago.

July 27

  • Anderson Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Fulton County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the area check station, 13½ miles southwest of Havana on Illinois Route 100.
  • Clear Lake, Mason County:  registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Sand Ridge State Forest Headquarters, 25799E County Road 2300N, Forest City.  Phone 309-597-2212. Follow the signs from Manito or Forest City.
  • Lake DePue State Fish and Wildlife Area, Bureau County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Oak Grove Park, ¾ miles west of DePue on Illinois Route 29.
  • Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area, including the Sparland Unit, Marshall County: registration 10 a.m. to  2 p.m. at the area check station, five miles south of Lacon on Illinois Route 26.
  • Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Fulton County:  registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the area check station, three miles south of Banner on Route 24.
  • Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area, Cass and Mason Counties: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On the east side of the maintenance building, two miles north of Chandlerville on Illinois Route 78 (follow the signs to Sanganois).
  • Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area and Pekin Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Tazewell County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the south park office area, two miles north of Manito on County Rd. 16 (Manito Road) and eight miles west and south on Spring Lake Road.
  • Starved Rock State Park, LaSalle County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Point Shelter day-use area on Illinois Route 71, about four miles east of Illinois Route 178 or 5½ miles west of Illinois Route 23 in South Ottawa.
  • Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area, Woodford County: registration 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the area check station, 5½ miles north of Spring Bay on Illinois Route 26.
  • Mississippi River unclaimed and unregistered blinds
  • Mississippi River Pools 16, 17, and 18 (second year of two-year allocation).

Pool 16: unregistered blinds and blinds not passing inspection may be claimed on a first-come, first-served basis by calling the district wildlife biologist between 8 a.m. and noon at 815-273-2733, two weeks before the opening day of duck season. Pool 17 and 18: use the same procedure, except phone 309-344-2617. 

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