Archery Deer Hunt Planned at Illinois Beach State Park
Illinois Beach State Park (IBSP) stretches more than 6.5 miles along the western shore of Lake Michigan, and contains unique dune and swale topography with emergent marshes, sedge meadows, wet-mesic prairies and black oak savannas. The North and South Units of IBSP encompass more than 3,000 acres, and contain two dedicated Illinois Nature Preserves.
IBSP contains habitats and plant communities unique to Illinois, and supports more than 500 species of plants, including 51 Illinois threatened or endangered species, three federally-threatened species and one federally-endangered species. The site also supports a large variety of wildlife, especially insects and birds.
Primary roles of Illinois state parks are to preserve native plant communities, to protect threatened and endangered species, and to provide quality outdoor recreational opportunities for the citizens of Illinois. For more than 20 years, the IDNR has expended considerable effort and resources to restore and protect the unique natural habitats at IBSP, especially prairie, wetlands and oak savannas. However, a 2014 study suggested that the deer browse (feeding on leaves, needles, twigs and buds) is severely impacting vegetation, including Illinois endangered and threatened plants, and the quality of wildlife habitats.
An archery deer program will be initiated in the IBSP North Unit ( approximately 900 acres) between November 1, 2015 and January 17, 2016 in order to reduce the negative impacts of the deer population on vegetation and habitats. Archery deer hunting at IBSP supports the site’s habitat management efforts and provides another recreational opportunity for Illinois residents.
The IDNR routinely operates safe archery deer hunting programs throughout Illinois, including urban and suburban areas.
The success of the deer management program at IBSP will be evaluated by long-term monitoring of the deer browse upon native plants, annual hunter success, and periodic surveys of deer hunters and park visitors. The deer hunting program will be adapted as necessary based on the plant monitoring programs and surveys.
For additional details about the hunt, see www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/FactSheets/.