Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Almost escaped 2022 without another threat to hunting

We were going to slide out of 2022 without further strikes against hunting – then came House Bill 5855, a late-comer to the ongoing game of pro-gun and anti-gun.

Young hunters – the future of our sport and pastime – are at risk if HB 5855 progresses its way to the governor’s desk.

Along with a lot of things that involve crime and criminals, HB 5855 increases the age for most Illinoisans to carry a firearm from 18 to 21. It also requires anyone under the age of 21 going hunting to do so in the presence of someone over 21 who possesses a FOID card (see Page 8 for more details).

Filed in the final week of the fall veto session by state Rep. Bob Morgan,
D-Deerfield, the measure has support, but plenty of opposition.

Fortunately, we hunters have some lawmakers in our corner.

“I am absolutely 100% opposed to it,” State Rep. C.D. Davidsmeyer, R-Jacksonville, told the Journal-Courier. “We
disagree fundamentally on what the U.S. Constitution says. Some think
the Second Amendment was about hunting rights, but they were trying to
get away from a king, a tyrant; that was the original purpose of that
amendment.”

The Illinois State Rifle Association is working against it, too.

But anti-gunners are strongly behind Morgan, who told reporters, “This is
the 102nd General Assembly which ends on Jan. 10, and everything that
I’ve done and everything that I will be doing will be focused on trying
to pass the bill by then.”

OTHERWISE, THE YEAR 2022 WAS PRETTY good to us here in the Illinois outdoors. We got an official State Rock and an official State Snake.

My suggestion that they hold off on the snake until 2023 and name a State
Scissors and a State Paper the same year they select a State Rock went
unheeded, apparently.

Anyway, dolostone got the nod as the rock of choice. Come New Year’s Day, the
eastern milksnake will become the state’s Snake of Record, if that is a
good way to describe it. Those who know such things say our snake can be
found all across Illinois, usually in river bottoms, rocky and hilly
areas and woodlands. The eastern milksnake can reach three feet in
length. You can recognize it by its large blotches and v-shaped marking
on its head. They are not poisonous, even though a poisonous species
seems to make more sense as the Illinois State Snake.

An interesting fact: Our new State Snake is one of many that can be found
on “snake road,” a two-mile stretch of Forest Road in the Shawnee
National Forest that closes for migration.

POACHERS GONNA BE POACHIN’, is what I always say.

Just a couple of issues ago, I used this space to point out that the walleye
tournament cheaters over in Ohio have nothing on the poachers we have
right here in Illinois.

And right on cue, two deer poaching cases came out of nowhere in mid-December.

One involved Danny Cox, who pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals and resides
on our side of the river in Freeburg. Because of his past celebrity
status, his case got much more attention than one in Hamilton County,
where at least 23 deer were hunted illegally.

Court dates are pending for all.

ralph@outdoornews.com

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