The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is asking hunters for a favor this season: scout your sites before applying for a permit.
The IDNR, in a news release, said that some hunting areas were unable to plant sunflowers due to the unusually cool and wet weather conditions this spring. (According to this article from Realtree, the hunting company known for their camouflage, sunflowers are at the top of the list for a good dove hunting field.)
“Unfortunately, this spring’s weather just didn’t cooperate with our typical sunflower planting schedule,” said Ryan Prehn, IDNR Chief of Parks, in a news release. “In fact, only a small percentage of sunflowers were planted on time and, at some hunting areas, park staff were unable to plant sunflowers at all. In many cases, our staff has planted alternative crops instead.”
While dove sites will still be available, Prehn said, there may not be an active crop in the fields.
“When it comes to managing natural areas, weather challenges come with the territory,” said Prehn. “When we encounter those challenges, we do the best we can, but it does mean that concessions have to be made. That’s why we’re asking hunters to scout sites before permit drawings so they know the conditions of the fields.”
The Mackinaw hunting site will not have sunflowers, but a crop of proso millet has been planted in its place.