Four new laws that took effect last month seek to expand hunting opportunities and fishing opportunities while protecting state lands and wildlife.
The laws were signed Aug. 20 by Gov. Bruce Rauner during Conservation Day at the Illinois State Fair.
Senate Bill 2410 expands the youth license program to include trapping. People younger than 18 may apply for a license, and must be accompanied by an adult age 21 or older who also has a valid state trapping license.
House Bill 5788 added catfish to the list of fish that can be taken by bow fishing, or the use of specialized archery equipment to shoot them, and House Bill 4604 allows for permits to take bobwhite quail, chukars and gray partridge on public hunting grounds. Both bills allow the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to create rules setting limits without requiring a state statute.
Under Senate Bill 3003, the department can offer free landowner hunting permits for deer and turkey as long as the landowner has at least 40 acres. The bill also combines the application for deer and turkey into one, and requires the department to hold a youth turkey season for two consecutive weekends instead of the current one weekend.
Department Director Wayne Rosenthal said in a statement that the new laws will “help our conservation efforts and will allow a new generation to develop a love for the great outdoors here in Illinois.”
Rauner, who hunts and fishes, called the youth bill an investment in young hunters and fishers that also promotes stewardship.
“Giving more opportunities to appreciate our resources to these young Illinoisans will ensure conservation of our lands for generations to come,” Rauner said.