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I'm just throwing this out there because of one of the last topic threads led me to post this....

 

What can we do as a club to decrease poaching activity?

 

This was in response to the 40% reduction in funding for the IDNR.

 

I'm not exactly sure why their is a reduction. Generally if there were 2 million people in Illinois who purchased fishing licenses; at $13.50 per person...that equals $13,500,000.

 

If you bought a combo hunting/fishing license and you add in hunting licenses for bow hunting $26.00 each, plus $15.00 for a gun deer tag(that's just one, I also get one for muzzleloader, and January for another $30), plus a trout stamp, plus a habitat stamp, plus a waterfowl stamp, the total is $84.82. Now if you have 500,000 people do the same as I do...that roughly 42,410,000.

 

Add it all up and that equals 55,910,000. That's not including boat stickers, boat trailer plate renewals, out of state hunters and fisherman...

 

You get the idea...My point is, where the heck does 55 million dollars go every year! Now if you look at the last 10 years and add that up...that's 559,100,000. Where the heck did almost 500 million dollars go?

 

Surely CPO officers don't make 6 figures! I'm just estimating but it add up to a ton of money. Where did it go? How can the IDNR be underfunded?

 

Ok, so I could be wrong...lets say Illinois is using the money responsibly (don't laugh...just saying maybe)...

 

What can we do as a club to help out and prevent poaching. ISA is trying to improve habitat and conserve to improve outdoor opportunities...

 

One member suggested a stiffer fine.

 

Anther suggested a stiff fine and confiscate all equipment at the scene which can later be auctioned off to generate $.

 

I suggest some of us get deputized by the IDNR...with the proper training, and given the right circumstances, we can issue fines and attend court dates as witnesses. We are the ones out there the most anyway...shouldn't we have some oversight on our land and waters. Sure we can report offenses...but just think if we had the authority to issue tickets! Power in numbers would make any poacher think twice.

 

I also suggest Forest Preserve User Fees. I went to Georgia last year and they have a daily fee, or you can purchase a yearly fee for access to the parks. The daily fee I paid was 3 dollars. (This would include anyone using the bike trails, waterway, parking lot, ect. Anyone and everyone who uses the park.) After all, why should fishing and hunting fees be used to maintain forest perserves for the enjoyment from picnickers, bikers, and others? Shouldn't they have to pay too?

 

Any other suggestions? Feel free to add on to the list.

 

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The number of fishing licenses sold in Illinois is a lot less than 2 million. In a quick search on the internet I found that the peak number was in 1979 when 769,000 were sold. The latest number I could find was in 2003 when 701,000 were sold. Nationwide, the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold has been on the decline for years. This is one big reason the governor feels he can take away money from the DNR because public is losing interest in these activities.

Although poaching is obviously bad, I don't believe that overall it has much of an impact on the quality of the smallmouth fishery in Illinois. The majority of people who fish for bass in Illinois release most of their catch and the number of poachers here does not seem extraordinarily high.

Poor habitat, and water quality are much more detrimental to smallies than poachers are. I actually believe that catch and release fishermen accidentally kill more smallies that the poachers do. I have no facts to back this up, but there is good reason to believe it's true.

I'd like to see the state spend the limited amount of money they have protecting the woods and waters of our state from future development like the mega-dairies and other industrial developers.

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Guest rich mc

the more members we have watching the rivers enables us to report problems.the yellow cards are a Major push in reporting bad activity. user fees to me are not worth the time and trouble to staff an an entrance to grab money. it will also go into the general fund and only a portion trickles back to the park. programs for youth activities need to address rules and conservation not just learning to cast and what to use. we continue to work toward findings answers, some more ideas are in the works , stay tuned to this website rich

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This may be an unpopular stance but before we went ahead with something like this, I'd like to know the extent that poaching for smallmouth exists, how CPO's approach this and to what level or what areas we could really make a difference (if we can).

 

As far as members helping, I have been fishing rivers going on 15 years and....

 

1. I see very few guys fishing where I fish. I don't fish dams and I try and avoid other fishermen when possible. I enjoy solitude and I would assume most of our river anglers do also. I noticed Paul just got a Kayak and wants to get into some more remote areas. How many poachers do you think he'll see? My point is that more than likely, ISA members don't see very many (if any) poachers.

 

2. True poachers work at night and try to avoid being seen so the odds of us seeing them also seem pretty low.

 

3. The other kinds of law breakers seem to be bank fishermen who have a bucket to fill. Those would seem to be the easiest to report. You can walk up and see what they have and make a call. Of all the things I've heard on people illegally keeping fish, this is the one heard most often.

 

I just don't think this is a kind of problem that we can really make much headway in some of the ways described.

 

There are three ways I think we are making a difference and have been for a while.

 

1. The thousands of yellow cards we've handed out over the years with phone numbers for reporting both poaching and pollution problems.

 

2. The work we've done with the IDNR regarding regs. We've probably put more smallmouth back in rivers with the two and a half month total catch and release reg than anything else we could have done.

 

3. We have purchased poaching tools for the IDNR in the last few years which we have not publicly discussed per IDNR request.

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does the money generated from selling fishing licenses go back to the DNR at all? Or does it go to some giant pool and "x" amount is budgeted back to the DNR?

 

That is the $64,000 question Mark. I would like to see that one answered first since it is my impression that in Illinois license and sticker fees are not earmarked for DNR activity. It all goes into the general fund.

 

Now there are disadvantages and advantages to that. We are aware of the disadvantage that outdoor activities do not get the very funds that they generate. On the other side of the coin, it means that DNR funding is not strictly limited to the dollars it generates. Assuming the 700,000 figure is right, that would be 700,000 voices wispering in the administrations ear if they could be organized. Add those who enjoy the outdoors but do not have to buy a license or register a watercraft, and we might have a million voices. Then if their were enough voices, the DNR might get more than just the funds it generated through fees.

 

Face it. We take the outdoors for granted. When election day comes we vote for the piper who has played up to our conservative or liberal feelings as long as he says he won't raise taxes, or get soft on welfare, or whatever... When the smoke clears after election day, we wonder how come he ain't doing anything for the DNR. Well, he probably never said he would.

 

I got to admit that I do not pay a lot of attention to the candidates' stands on conservation and the environment. Maybe we all should.

 

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174 pages of more than we can digest in a single visit:

2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation

http://www.firstlightnet.com/nat_survey2006_final.pdf

 

The kinds of Illinois fish most often harvested by anglers are: sunfish (32 %), crappie (26 %), catfish (14 %), white bass and yellow bass ( 6 %), and largemouth bass (5 %).

http://www.fullcirclecharters.com/fishinfo.htm

 

Somewhere out there is a website that specifically deals with how much revenue was generated in IL (and all other states) from various outdoors activities, and where it was earmarked.

I have posted it in the past, but can't find it by Googling at the moment.

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The number of fishing licenses sold in Illinois is a lot less than 2 million. In a quick search on the internet I found that the peak number was in 1979 when 769,000 were sold. The latest number I could find was in 2003 when 701,000 were sold. Nationwide, the number of hunting and fishing licenses sold has been on the decline for years. This is one big reason the governor feels he can take away money from the DNR because public is losing interest in these activities.

Although poaching is obviously bad, I don't believe that overall it has much of an impact on the quality of the smallmouth fishery in Illinois. The majority of people who fish for bass in Illinois release most of their catch and the number of poachers here does not seem extraordinarily high.

Poor habitat, and water quality are much more detrimental to smallies than poachers are. I actually believe that catch and release fishermen accidentally kill more smallies that the poachers do. I have no facts to back this up, but there is good reason to believe it's true.

I'd like to see the state spend the limited amount of money they have protecting the woods and waters of our state from future development like the mega-dairies and other industrial developers.

 

I agree, more should be done for conservation, however, the state still has a pretty healthy income from outdoorsman to do a lot better than they've done.

 

I looked up some figures from 2007...So instead of the 42 million...a rough estimate of what the state collects from outdoorsman follows:

 

701,000 fisherman X $13.50 per license = $9,463,500

 

295,000 Deer hunters (2007) Resident hunting licenses X $7.50 = $2,212,500

 

If each resident archer deer hunter buys just one deer tag (many buy multiple tags) 100,000 hunters at $26 each = $2,600,000

 

Plus 195,000 firearm deer hunters (at one tag per person) = $2,925,000

 

In 2007 there were 32,000 non-resident deer hunters X $50.75 per license = $1,624,000

 

If each non-resident deer hunter buys just one tag at $160 each = 32,000 X $160 = $5,120,000

 

327,000 total Deer hunters X $5.50 for a habitat stamp =$1,798,500

 

The Total = 25,743,500

 

This total is just a rough estimate of what the DNR takes in…this total is excluding turkey, small game, water fowl fees, salmon stamps, trout stamps, fur bearer stamps, and other miscellaneous license fees...

 

So how does the state have no money to fund the DNR...26 million dollars isn't enough? Even if you look at the last 10 years with this estimate; that's $260,000,000! How much money does the state need to make sure our waters and woods are protected? I grew up in Illinois and I'm not too impressed with the State's efforts...

 

So if the state's budget is cut 40%...40 percent of 26 million is 10.4 million dollars. Where does the 10 million go to? I think the 10 million should go towards conservation and outdoor programs, since the money came from outdoor revenues but I highly doubt that's where it's going.

 

I think that even if more people kill fish accidently...that's something we don't have control over. However, poaching we do. It's important to control the variables that we can.

 

We as a club are on the right track with our efforts. It seems the state has to step up to do their part.

 

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Great digging, Jim.

I have many of the same questions you have, but the answers are a little harder to come by.

It's like they are right there at our fingertips, just beyond our grasp.

But we will solve the problem somehow, some way.

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Guest rich mc

the idnr is thinking about raising the camping fees at state parks, well not raising them but adding a user fee of $5 to a $20 night stay. it gets better on holiday weekends it will be $10 user fee. rich

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Well I decided to email the Governor with my figures calculated along with the following...

 

"...Illinois is wrong in taking money from the DNR which should go towards conservation and outdoor programs. The money came from outdoor revenues, therefore, it should go back into the outdoors.

 

Some people say state parks should have a daily use fee. Many opponents to this idea point out that the money wouldn’t go where it belongs…I agree.

 

You are not listening to the people of Illinois and doing whatever you want. You are no better than a dictator.

 

The rivers I live near have been polluted since I was a kid. Guess what…30 years later, they are still polluted. It’s sad that my children are exposed to the same ignorance I grew up with. "

 

 

I also sent a hard copy to the governor's office. I doubt I'll get a response but I'll share the results if I get one.

 

Jim

 

 

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The 26 million dollar figure is a little more than 10% of the DNR's annual budget. For 2008, the budget is $213 million. For 2009, it's going to be $223 million. The state spent around $22 million just on land acquisition last year.

Don't forget, the DNR takes care of all the state parks and services a lot more people than just hunters and fishermen.

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As far as poaching goes, I approach each instance differently.

 

If I think it's just a case where a guy isn't aware of the regs, especially if they are site specific, I try a freindly, nonconfrontational,educational approach and ask if they are aware of the local rule. I try to explain the reasoning behind it and how it benefits all anglers.

 

The next approach is a direct, you know that's a violation type tack. If they comply with the rules, I'll talk with them about the rules if they seem receptive to it. If they don't comply. I let them know I'm going to call a CPO and turn them in and do so if they still don't comply.

 

The last way I deal with it is to memorize everything I can about the violator looks and such and call a CPO and turn them in. This is for the situtations where in my personal judgement that it is unsafe to confront the violator.

 

I have always signed a sworn statement for the CPO , id'd them if asked and stood ready to tesify in court in necessary. So far it has not been necessary to go to court for the CPO to get a conviction.

 

It doesn't hurt to take the time to get to know your local CPO's so that they are familar with you when the time comes for you to make the call. If you get to know them well enough they may give you their cell number so you can call them directly. If you are in a IDNR owned site many times the people working there can get in touch with a CPO for you.

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Follow Norm's lead on this.

Somebody that has spent as many hours on the river as he has knows a little something about poaching. I'll often refer to his experiences to get an actual representation of specific stretches of waterway.

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As a club or as an individual build relationships with the IDNR. If they know who you are, respect you and what you stand for and know that over time you have pitched in and helped whenever you could, however you could you are more likely to get a positive response when you go to them with something.

 

If you don't think that the local IDNR folks at your site don't notice what you do or don't do think again. If you are there using the facility with any kind of regularity, they are aware of you. Simple things like picking up trash without making a grand production of it, how you treat others and the resource, how you conduct yourself in regards to the rules all get noticed. Wave as you drive by, take the time to say hello and talk about fishing,stop in and introduce yourself at the office and ask about the site. There is a chance that you may even learn something you didn't know about the place.

 

As a club,if you are doing an event at their site, stop in ahead of time and talk to the folks at the office about it. Coordinate your efforts and ask if they have any requests on proceedures. Talk to the field staff and biologists ask them if there is anyway to assist them. If you are working with them on a project with a different group wearing something with the ISA logo lets them see the club is involved even if you are the only representative of the club there. Being involved with other conservation groups and having a club rep on the board or as an officer also is a way to build relationships with different levels of the IDNR , the COE, EPA and other regulatory agencies as well as other conservation minded groups.

 

I know this is something that some the the old hands and especially long time officers or past officers have already been doing.This is more for those that haven't been involved and wish to know what has helped me build relationships over the years.

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Eric did a lot of work on this along time ago on a fishing website far far away.

 

Untapped resources in the war on poaching are the state, county, and local police. Apparently they have the authority to enforce fish and game laws though, for whatever reason, they seldom do. How can we turn that around?

 

BTW the last conversation I had with a DuPage ranger was on an opening day for catchable trout. He said that he really enjoyed checking stamps and licenses because he spend most of his time chasing gangs and drug dealers out. (Yes, I said DuPage County.) So that is an argument. If rangers do a lot of ordinary law enforcement, police should do some fish and game law enforcement.

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To be honest, I really haven't witness all that much poaching in the last 10 or 15 years. If does occur regularly, the fishing si still damn good for beeing so close to a metropolitan area.

 

Yeah i've seen some illegal fish taken, but I've also seen some legal ones taken that made feel worse.

 

And in a way I'm glad I don't have some cop bugging me everytime I feel like wetting a line. Just itching to give me a ticket to justify his existance.

 

In my opinion, the effort could be better spent elsewhere.

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It's not always the metro areas that see a lot of poaching. In more than a few cases, it's the backwoods residents of Goofy Ridge that run trot lines, and bank poles, that will take whatever is attached to the line....season, or not. They might also run fish traps, and hoop nets. I already got one of them busted, but you would NOT believe the amount of effort it took. If I said the local liquor store was being robbed, someone would have been there in under 3 minutes. The guy I reported took 6 hours to get a response from a CPO. They first tried to refer me to the local law enforcement. THEY told me they had more important things to do than check a guy for a couple fish over the limit! (My response to that was, "They are still breaking the law... Are they not?") So, back to the DNR again. They finally sent someone. The CPO called me back, an hour after I had directed him to the spot. He said the guy showed up not 5 minutes after he arrived at the location of where the fish traps were set. I thanked him, and left it at that.

 

The point is that our DNR is already understaffed, and then they want to cut another 40% of the budget. ??????

Fishing licese sales are on the decline? No kidding? Let the fish populations decline from lack of state funding to improve and protect them, and you will see sales of licenses decline even further! Who wants to buy a license to fish waters that are fished out, or degraded as to the point of no longer sustaining a decent population?

 

People PAY to fly to other states, or countries, to fish. They don't usually come to Illinois for that reason....though they COULD. If only the state would treat certain waters as a serious sport fish mecca. People PAY to hunt deer in Illinois. They PAY to hunt waterfowl, in Illinois. What's wrong with protecting the local waters for the same reason? (Build it, and they will come.) I think they are putting the cart before the horse, on this one.

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I have been reading this thread with interest... while many of you do not know me, I am a member and have been in the investigations and Criminal Justice business for the past 23 years since graduating from college. I deal with bad guys/gals on a daily basis and am going to take this conversation in a slightly different direction. When ISA members witness acts which involve poaching... I think it is imperative that everyone think of their personal safety first.

 

While going up and speaking to someone directly may provide an educational benefit, the flip side is that it does not and someone ends up being killed. Before anyone thinks that's not realistic, how many time have you heard about bad things that have happened when one driver got out of their car to have a "conversation" with someone about their driving habits, or lack thereof? A bunch, and the road rage analogy to this is not really that different. You don't know who you're approaching, you don't know anything about them, you do not know what their circumstances are and you definitely do not know if they are armed or not. I am a big proponent of observe and report. Get as many details as you can and let people who get paid to do this, do their job. They may not get the person at that exact moment but when detailed information gets entered into case databases they have a way of turning into larger investigations which pay off in the long run with criminal convictions.

 

As they used to say at the end of roll call on Hill Street Blues, "Let's be Careful Out There!" We have to be smart about this and pick our spots. Conversation which ends in physcial confrontation will definitely ruin a perfectly good fishing trip!

 

Dan

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The 26 million dollar figure is a little more than 10% of the DNR's annual budget. For 2008, the budget is $213 million. For 2009, it's going to be $223 million. The state spent around $22 million just on land acquisition last year.

Don't forget, the DNR takes care of all the state parks and services a lot more people than just hunters and fishermen.

 

 

 

If $26 million generated from outdoor enthusiasts, is only 10%, where else does DNR money come from?

 

And if the state does give $223 million dollars to budget the DNR, that is a lot of money to fund conservation projects and environmental programs.

 

With that kind of money....why are the same waters I grew up around still polluted (30 years plus)? Why is it that eating fish from Illinois waters is dangerous to your health? Why are invasive species taking over? Why is it people go out of state for quality fishing experiences? Why is it there are too few conservation officers? Why is there a 40% decrease in the DNR budget...after all, the Governor is supposed to be concerned about generating jobs, not eliminating them? Why are fish kills still found in our rivers? And more recently, why should people be worried about a mega dairy being built...shouldn't Illinois look out for the people? It's a joke when the people have to gang up on the government to prevent this from becoming an environmental problem.

 

Maybe poaching isn't a serious threat...there are some good points presented to back this up.

 

However, there are still too many unanswered questions, which shouldn't be questions at all.

 

I became involved with ISA mainly because I have seen some improvement with my catch rate and better quality fish. I believe the improvement is from the work and efforts of small interest groups...not from Illinois environmental projects and efforts.

 

Maybe my expectations of Illinois are too high. However, when the state's budget is $223 million, I shouldn't have to tell my kids they can't take their fish home to eat for dinner because they are unsafe to eat. I shouldn't have to tell them why they can't walk in the water because of health risks. I shouldn't have to tell them why they can't see anything in the water because of debris and pollution. I shouldn't have to worry about them cutting themselves with broken glass or getting injured by garbage found on shore.

 

Is Illinois doing enough?

Is Illinois truly concerned with conservation?

 

My opinion is no! Cook county is a good example. Any one care to take a swim in the Des Plaines river with me? I'll let you go first. ;) Oh, and don't worry if you see any dead fish...they are probably just salmon that died after spawning.

 

 

Ok...I'll get off my soap box...

 

Everyone has offered some good ideas. Norm, your comments were well recieved as well.

 

Jim

 

 

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Jim-

Come down to Kankakee County Fairgrounds in the morning.

I intend to see to it every person knows exactly how to make a profound difference in the quality of our outdoors experiences.

It isn't realistic to expect that one organization or a handful of concerned citizens can make drastic changes.

Every individual working in some fashion, if only a little.....does make a difference.

I'll show you how.

;)

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