Accomplishments of the 97th General Assembly: The Great Outdoors

IllinoisNatureLegislation expanding the use of crossbows in hunting was signed earlier this week by the governor. House Bill 4819 allows all hunters to use crossbows during the second half of the deer season, which runs from the second Monday after Thanksgiving through the last day of archery season in January.

Previously, crossbow use was limited to people with disabilities and those 62 years of age and older. Illinois joins many states that have recently relaxed restrictions on the use of crossbows. Officials in Kansas recently voted to allow hunters 15 years of age and younger as well as those 55 and over to use crossbows during their big-game hunting season. Indiana will allow hunters to use crossbows the entire hunting season beginning this fall, expanding from previous restrictions that only allowed their use in the late archery season.

Senate Democrats have passed numerous laws ensuring Illinois’ state parks and natural areas remain in top condition for future generations.  

Ensuring safety on public lands

Senate Democrats passed a measure allowing the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to remove anyone committing illegal activities or disorderly acts from DNR lands and establishes penalties for such action.

Maintaining public lands for the future

Senate Democrats assisted in passing legislation creating an adopt-a-park program to help with maintenance in state and local parks.

Protecting River Otters

Senate Democrats took action to protect river otters, setting the season limit at 5 per person per season. Buyers, tanners, manufacturers, and taxidermists are exempt from yearly possession limits.

Boosting Funding for Conservation Police

Senate Democrats passed legislation creating the Conservation Police Operations Assistance Fund, to be financed by defendants convicted of certain conservation violations. The funds in this account will be used for the operation of the Illinois Conservation Police.   

Reducing Waste

Senate Democrats supported legislation allowing the possession of unintentionally killed fur-bearing mammals from the roadway during open season.