Archery Deer Hunting Program Planned for This Fall

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has scheduled an archery deer hunting program on designated portions of the Sahara Woods State Fish and Wildlife Area in southern Illinois for this fall. Sahara Woods is located five miles west of Harrisburg on Illinois Route 13.

Designated areas at Sahara Woods will be open for archery deer hunting by site permit only during 15 one-week periods from October 1, 2006 through January 11, 2007. This special hunt will be available to both Illinois residents and non-residents. All statewide rules and regulations will apply unless stated otherwise. The site will be closed during the firearm deer season (Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3).

Hunters may apply to participate in the 15 one-week hunting periods through a mail-in drawing. Applications are now available at the Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area near Equality and at the IDNR Regional Office in Benton. Application forms are also available on the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/landmgt/hunter_fact_sheet/r5hfs/shw.htm.

Applications must be received at the IDNR Regional Office in Benton by the close of business on Aug. 31. Successful applicants only will be notified by mail by Sept. 15 and will be assigned one of the 15 one-week hunting seasons.

All hunters will be required to show proof of a current hunting license, state-issued archery permit and site-issued windshield permit.

Hunters will receive a free windshield card which must be displayed in their vehicle windshield when hunting at the Sahara Woods unit. Site permits must be returned to Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area by Feb. 1, 2007. Failure to return the permit will result in a loss of hunting privileges for next season.

A maximum of 30 hunters per week may harvest a maximum of two deer each during their assigned hunting season.

Anyone participating in the special hunt found in violation of any of the applicable rules or regulations will forfeit their right to participate in the hunt for the rest of the program year. Permit holders must remove all deer stands at the end of the day. No nails or screws may be placed in trees. Only deer may be harvested at the Sahara Woods unit during the archery deer season. No fall archery turkey hunting will be allowed.

For additional information and to pick-up applications, contact the IDNR Regional Office, 11731 Illinois Rt. 37, Benton, IL 62812, phone 618/435-8138 or Eric McClusky, Site Superintendent, Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area, Glen O. Jones Road, Equality, IL 62934, phone 618/276-4405.

Except for the planned archery deer hunting program this fall, the Sahara Woods State Fish and Wildlife Area is not yet open to the public. A former coal strip mine, Sahara Woods encompasses more than 4,000 acres. Approximately 1,200 acres will be open to hunters with site permits during the fall archery deer hunting program. Mine reclamation work continues at Sahara Woods and limits public access on other portions of the site. For safety reasons, vehicles of those participating in the archery hunt must remain on two primary access roads. Other areas of the site are restricted areas and are closed to public access.