Wednesday, February 8th, 2023
Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Mixed Bag: Outdoor news items from around Illinois

Babylon, Ill. — DNR has been seeking the public’s help after a 36-point non-typical buck was found dead in Fulton County. Photos of the buck’s antlers were posted on DNR’s Facebook page.

According to the website wideopenspaces.com, DNR explained that the buck was found dead near Babylon and DNR law enforcement suspects the deer was poached. Investigators believe someone shot the buck around the third week of October west of the intersection of E. Tater Holler Road and N. Babylon Road.

Two Illinois CPOs examined the buck’s carcass before they suspected someone had taken the deer through unlawful means. CPO Brad Thompson and CPO Jarrod Elliott are currently investigating the case. They ask that anyone with information on this deer contact Thompson at 309-338-1048 or Elliott at 309-210-4321.

Another option is to contact the DNR Tip Line at 1-877-236-7529.

DNR noted that any information provided anonymously on this case would be kept confidential. The post doesn’t specify what weapon the poacher or poachers may have used to kill the buck illegally. Still, the timeline puts the deer’s death during archery season just a few weeks before firearms season began.

Youth Goose Hunt Applications Accepted

Springfield — Youth interested in participating in DNR’s annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt on Jan. 16 can register now.

The youth goose hunt will be held at private waterfowl hunting clubs in the Canton area in Fulton County, and hunters selected to participate will be pre-assigned to hunting locations.

Registration for the hunt will close Dec. 31. To register for a drawing to participate in the hunt, youth hunters must visit the DNR website and look for the rotating images at the top of the page. A lottery drawing involving all youth hunters who register will be conducted, and those who are selected will be notified by email. First-time applicants will be given priority over previous participants in the drawing.

The hunt is open to youngsters ages 10-17 at the time of the hunt.

All applicants must possess a valid Illinois hunting or sportsman’s license, have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration number, and have a 20 gauge or larger shotgun. Youth hunt participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must possess a valid firearm owner’s identification (FOID) card.

CWD Deer Sampling Locations Available

Springfield — DNR is reminding deer hunters about locations where deer can be tested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) free of charge. Hunters can visit participating vendors, including taxidermists and meat processors, or drop deer heads at self-serve drop-off sites.

Hunters in CWD counties are strongly encouraged to have their deer tested. Hunters who plan to have their deer mounted can have a cooperating taxidermist collect the sample; testing procedures will not damage the deer skull. Hunters not using a cooperating taxidermist can bring the caped-out head to an DNR sample drop-off barrel location where available.

Firearm deer hunters in CWD counties can get a voluntary sample taken by a biologist when they bring harvested deer to mandatory physical check stations during the firearm seasons. For a map of check stations, visit https://bit.ly/2022CWDcheckstns.

Hunters in non-CWD counties can use sample drop-off barrels or sampling vendors to have samples taken.

U of I: Cover Cropping is Up to 7.2% in Midwest

Urbana, Ill. — Cover crops, with their ability to reduce erosion and promote soil health while also benefiting wildlife, are being planted across more Midwestern land than ever. That’s according to new University of Illinois research showing cover crop adoption reached 7.2% in 2021, up from just 1.8% a decade prior. The finding is the result of sophisticated satellite-based remote sensing efforts that accurately detected cover crops across 140 million acres of cropland and tracked their expansion over 20 years.

“It’s impossible to do field surveys for the whole Midwest. And so, remote sensing can provide a cost-effective approach for cover crop detection. We can monitor every field from the very beginning to the end of the year, giving us a clear idea of what happened over time,” says Qu Zhou, the study’s lead author and a doctoral student in the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Sciences (NRES) at Illinois. The uptick in cover crop adoption comes against a backdrop of increasing state and federal incentive programs, a statistically significant driver, according to the study.

Illinois Native Bat Added to Endangered List

Champaign, Ill. — The northern long-eared bat has now gained admission to a club no one wants to join: the Endangered Species List. In announcing its ruling, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service pointed to the catastrophic population loss the bat has suffered ever since a deadly fungus was first detected back in 2007.

“White-nose syndrome is decimating cave-dwelling bat species like the northern long-eared bat at unprecedented rates,” said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Martha Williams in a statement.

It’s a decline witnessed first-hand by Tara Hohoff, coordinator of the Illinois Bat Conservation Program, which conducts research, monitoring and outreach.

Since the program’s inception in 2016, the program’s researchers have conducted annual surveys of the state’s bats, using a technique known as mist netting. In all that time, the team has netted just one northern long-eared bat compared with 24 Indiana bats, a species that’s been on the endangered list since the 1960s.

“The northern long-eared bat is definitely very rare on the landscape,” Hohoff said. The little brown bat also is being considered for an endangered listing. Only three have been netted, which is concerning, Hohoff said.

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