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Midwest Outdoors Gets It Wrong

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Warning- this is a very long rant.


I recently learned (from a post on another site) that an article in the latest Midwest Outdoors magazine states (regarding the recent fishing license fee increase):

" Well as this piece is being written the new fees are just being collected, and they are already gone"." Just as i feared, Quinn, strapped for cash in this cash strapped state, has released his proposed 2011 budget, and guess what? DNR funding has taken a $15.1 million dollar hit. While the GRF share of the DNR 2010 budget was $62 million, the contribution for 2011 is projected at $46.9 million. And guess what folks? That $46.9 figure includes your new license fees increases".


Having attended the revamped Conservation Congress, I was appalled to think that such a thing could occur, given everything we learned and were told during this program.


After some searching on the internet and a couple of phone calls, it turns out that most everything stated in the article is absolutely false!


The first call I made was to IDNR Director Marc Miller.

He told me without hesitation that the fees have not been raided for the General Revenue Fund, nor can they be....ever.

The second point was made that fishing license fees are not deposited into the GRF, and then allocated from there.


I feel it's important to point out here that the IDNR and state government in general are not "one and the same". They need to get support for issues and find sponsors to create legislation- just like you and I would need to do for a matter important to us.

The difference with the new administration as opposed to the last one is that WE are a part of the process. Our opinions and voices have been requested in order for them to deliver what is important to our natural resources and rights as sportsmen.

One of the most glaring promises could very well be that of "transparency".


From the Conservation Congress proceedings came this:



Conservation Congress Funding recommendation #2 & #4


ApproveSB1846 to increase hunting,fishing, other fees,with guarantees that fee revenues are used only for purposes intended.


Proactively communicate IDNR plans and programs.

The bill regarding the fees created legislation mandating where they are to be applied.


As for transparency, there is now a link that provides full reporting of the funds, including the license fees discussed in the MWO commentary.


Directly from the IDNR website:


March 2010 Revenue Report



Hunting and Fishing License/Permit Fees


March 09/Actual



March 2010/Actual



% Change



How's that for transparency?


Why make a big deal of this?

Because of my second call that was made. To the writer that penned the falsehoods in a major outdoors publication (causing somebody to read it and then post it on another site as though it is fact).


The writer hadn't spoken with Marc Miller in over a year, and had no knowledge of what Conservation Congress had achieved during that time (which is beyond substantial).

Take the time to read what is written for all to see, and you will become "informed" of the facts as they really are, not as they appear to somebody that isn't a part of the process.






Message from Director Marc Miller


DNR constituents are passionate about their recreational activities and conservation, but the forum for their voice was taken away several years ago. I know the value of this important tradition and the role it plays to provide a voice for conservationists and recreation advocates in the Department.


At this critical point with so many challenges to overcome, the need is great to provide that forum and give DNR advocates their voice back. We have abbreviated the process, reduced its cost, and are engaging stakeholders in new ways, including the internet. But the goal is the same – engage, inform, and activate our constituents and allow a meaningful avenue for their guidance and commitment.


Unlike the previous Conservation Congresses, there is no delegate credentialing or regional caucuses. Constituents work with committees of the Department's Natural Resources Advisory Board to forge a consensus in three focus areas vital to the future of the Department:








These committees are producing recommendations. Each meeting allows public comment and an exchange of ideas. Additionally, this website allows anyone to submit comments to each committee at any time. Notice of meetings is posted on this website, as are copies of presentations, meeting summaries and interim reports.


On October 24th & 25th, 2009, the Conservation Congress will convene to review and consider the committee reports over a two day conference. Participants will propose recommendations to the entire body of constituents and vote on final recommendations, reminiscent of past Congresses.


I encourage you to participate in committee meetings, take our web survey, and register for Conservation Congress on October 24 and 25. We will meet again in 2010 to further the mission of Conservation Congress.


Yours in conservation,

Marc Miller


I was there, many outdoors writers were there, every organization I've ever heard of and many that I haven't were there.

We VOTED on each and every item- 3 of which being most important due to surveys done previous to the weekend event.

ANYONE could vote online as well prior to the event.

"At Conservation Congress, on October 24 and 25 at the IDNR Headquarters in Springfield, about 150 participants reviewed, proposed and prioritized recommendations to elected and appointed Illinois officials on: Youth Recruitment and Retention, Access to Private Lands, and Conservation Funding."


Yet, when I asked the writer why he wouldn't think to fact-check his story before printing it, I was told that he hadn't seen anything "different" had happened since he had last spoken to Marc over a year ago.


Nothing had changed........

Really? REALLY?




What an astonishing excuse for causing the very people that work so hard to make all of this happen to think for even a minute that we'd been duped once again, when in reality it was nothing more than a quick pen.


Distrust in government is one thing, but falsely accusing those that are trying to help you is going to ruin it for everyone in the long run.

Consider the next time the IDNR goes to our legislators for budget help.

Would you like for them to turn around and say "your own constituents don't even trust you. Why should we consider this item?".

That, my friends, is what fear mongering does in the real world.

....and you thought this was going to be much ado about nothing.


Be careful what you read, always consider the source and more importantly- PLEASE take the time to check the facts for yourself before sharing with others.

It means everything.

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Guest Don R

I surely hope that the writer of this piece submits a letter of apology to the State. A follow-up article by the the writer correcting himself is in order. If he is unwilling perhaps you could pen an article for the Midwest Outdoors with the facts.

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Good follow up work. As one who likes to check things on Snopes and other sources, I have been amazed at how much can get passed off as truth especially when it comes to politics. The worst thing is when someone puts these things into e-Mails that get passed on and on to unsuspecting readers.


We can hope that a post on CLF and a retraction By MWO will unravel some of the misinformation mess that has been caused.


Thanks for all your efforts to keep us up to date on the truth.

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Mike L-

Everyone within the IDNR is well aware of the publications.

People will write what they write.

I think they probably decided long ago not to get involved in the social networking sites online.

That in itself would be a full-time job.

Can you imagine trying to respond to everything posted?

I did get a call Monday morning thanking me for my efforts over the weekend.

But I don't answer to anyone- if I see an item that can cause real harm, I'm calling the person on it.

We didn't give our entire weekend and travel to and from Springfield to have an outdoor writer undo our hard work due to sheer laziness and a disregard for fact-checking.


You can see what that leads to.

People read, believe what they see, then spread the fire to everyone else in social media.

Given the history of the writer, it wasn't taken as opinion, it was regarded as fact.

Hey, we've all got the ability to write.

Back in the day, it was letters to the editor.

Today it's the world wide web.

Just because we don't belong to the OWAA or have journalistic awards to our credit doesn't mean we need to take what's being shoveled our way and accept it.

I greatly respect the accomplishments of the writer in question.

...but this was crossing a dangerous line in the sand.

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I agree: Nice work on this Mike.

I applaud the stick-to-itiveness to do the follow-up.


Getting smeared by sloppy or intentionally misleading reporting:

Anyone who supported the health care reform legislation knows what that feels like.



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I think many people continue to mistrust the IDNR. The last administration did a lot to give them a bad reputation which the DNR had no control over. The DNR did what they were told to do. The management and transparency the DNR has now are great ways to show what IS being done now and what progress IS happening. This is the new direction most people are not aware of. Thanks for posting that Mike.

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