SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced changes to dove hunting procedures at state sites due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The changes will provide greater protection to both the hunting public and site staff during the season.
The following changes in regulations will apply to all state sites participating in the Free Dove Permit Program, which uses an online application process to distribute permits for each of the first five days of the dove season (Sept. 1-5):
1. No standby drawings will be held during the first five days of the dove season. Hunting will be limited to those individuals who applied for and received a free dove permit via the Springfield-based lottery drawings. In the past, standby drawings were held to fill vacant positions remaining in the dove fields, but these drawings often resulted in crowded conditions at site offices which could potentially violate current crowd restrictions and social distancing guidelines.
2. There will be no drawings for field and stake positions. All Free Dove Permit holders will randomly be assigned to a field (if there are multiple fields) and a stake number in that field. Each permit holder will be mailed his or her field/stake assignment, a map, a harvest reporting card and the drop box location for the site.
3. Hunters should report directly to their assigned field/stake on the day of their hunt; there will be no checking in at the site office. Harvest cards should be placed on top of the vehicle dashboard so they are clearly visible through the windshield.
4. Permittees must begin their hunt at their assigned stake. Beginning at 2:00 p.m., hunters may move to an unoccupied stake within the same field if they wish.
5. Upon completing their hunt, hunters must record their