Turkey hunters gain access to private lands with help from DNR

Illinois News Network

(Photo by Wine Country Inn)

It’s a win-win scenario for turkey hunters and private landowners in the state of Illinois. This spring, the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) is providing a unique opportunity to help boost the local economy and protect the environment.

Wayne Rosenthal, director of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (DNR), says IRAP is working with private landowners to give local hunters access to private land with healthy turkey populations, which helps hunters feed their families.

In exchange for letting hunters on their private property, landowners get assistance removing invasive plant species from their property.

Rosenthal said the local economy benefits in a number of ways as hunters spend locally.

“They utilize gas, convenience store, fuel, stop for breakfast and then of course they got all the hunting gear, the clothes, the shells, the decoys, and the calls, and everything else that goes along with turkey hunting,” Rosenthal said. “The hunters themselves, by buying licenses and permits, have a big impact on our ability to preserve the environment and preserve the hunting tradition.”

Rick Edmonds, a private landowner in Macoupin County, participates in the program.  He said the program helped reduce the cost to remove invasive weeds from his timber.

“We pay a fraction of what it would cost us to get it done, which helps our timber and the habitat inside it. Not only the animal habitat but the plant life too,” Edmonds said.

Rosenthal asserts that IRAP helps introduce more people to the outdoors and will positively impact the economy.

The IDNR said they offer turkey hunting opportunities for youth under the age of 18, new hunters and experienced hunters. Hunters may hunt for turkey starting in Spring. As of now, property owners have opened their land in 8 counties including Christian, Clark, Macoupin, Sangamon and Schuyler counties.




— Turkey hunters gain access to private lands with help from DNR —