Illinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
RulesIllinois Outdoors at PrairiestateOutdoors.com
Jeff Lampe
Jeff Lampe

Jeff Lampe has been outdoor writer at the Journal Star in Peoria for 12 duck seasons. He lives in Elmwood with his wife Monica, sons Henry, Victor and Walter, and Llewellin setter Hawkeye. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he is an avid fan of the Bills and still has mental scars from four consecutive Super Bowl losses. Outside of hunting and fishing, Lampe's main passion in Illinois was Class A boys basketball (which sadly no longer exists). Former publisher of the Class A Weekly newsletter, Lampe is a co-author of "100 Years of Madness" and "Classical Madness," both books focusing on prep basketball in Illinois.

Illinois Outdoors
 

Scattershooting

A Web log by Jeff Lampe of the Journal Star

Illinois hunting and fishing

DNR honeymoon may end March 18

March 01, 2009 at 01:19 AM

The honeymoon is still blissful for Gov. Pat Quinn and his new Department of Natural Resources director Marc Miller (pictured above at the PrairieStateOutdoors.com booth on Saturday).

But things could change come March 18. That’s when Quinn will lay out his budget address. That’s when Miller will lay out what could be a call for license or permit fee increases. The cost of hunting pen-raised pheasants at Illinois properties is already expected to increase. But I would not be surprised to see costs of other permits increase. And not just non-resident deer permits, either.

Miller did not say that Saturday during his visit to the Prairie State Outdoors booth at the Illinois Deer and Turkey Classic in Bloomington (pictured above). He made a brief stop at several booths prior to heading off to the Illinois Conservation Foundation’s Illinois Outdoor Hall of Fame banquet.

But that’s one conclusion that could be drawn from the state’s present budget deficit and from the fact that DNR programs will not be slashed.

Where to make up the slack? License fees. There are other places, of course. Charging people to use state parks is one possibility. Unfortunately, there is not much support in Quinn’s office for an entry fee to state parks—which is a common practice in many neighboring states. That’s probably understandable right now, since some of those parks have just reopened after their operation was mishandled by the former governor.

But instead of charging a park fee, the costs of DNR management will likely again be passed on to the group of users who already pay the most to enjoy the outdoors in Illinois: hunters and anglers. Understand, I am not complaining loudly about this. I will willingly pay more to hunt and fish if I think the DNR leadership has a clue. For the first time in years, I finally think that’s true.

Even so, it will be interesting to see what reaction will be to any changes that may come March 18.

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