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The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps

New Style Stamps Issued


Tickets such as those shown in Figure 29 were used in place of stamps on the public hunting grounds at Rice Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Union County and several pheasant areas from 1973 through 1976 (Musser, 1994). During this four-year period the License and Permit Section repeatedly informed collectors that the daily usage stamps had been discontinued and that the IDOC had no plans to use them in the future (see Figures 27 and 28). After Vanderford’s check list was published in January of 1977, collectors ceased inquiring about the stamps. As luck would have it, the IDOC returned to a stamp format later that same year (Musser, 1994).

Starting in 1977, three kinds of daily usage stamps were used. The stamps featured the new IDOC insignia in the background: a small letter “i” with a tree centered at the bottom. The insignia is printed in black ink on all the new style stamps. Going up the left side and continuing across the top of the stamps is the inscription, “Illinois Department of Conservation.” Serial numbers are printed in red ink across the bottom of the stamps.

Those used at Rice Lake have “DUCK DAILY USAGE STAMP” printed over the top of the insignia and they are on light blue paper. Those used at Horseshoe Lake and Union County have “GOOSE DAILY USAGE STAMP” printed over the top of the insignia and they are on manila paper. Those used at the pheasant areas have “PHEASANT DAILY USAGE STAMP” printed over the top of the insignia and they are on light green paper.

The first new style stamps were issued in booklet panes of 25 (5×5) with tabs at the left, similar to the old style stamps except that they were rouletted instead of perforated. Twenty panes were stapled together to form a book (Kaburick, 1992). Only two examples of the booklet type duck stamp have been recorded. They were discovered by Richard Hauer, an Illinois waterfowl stamp collector, in the late 1970s and made known to me after this article was originally published. The serial numbers are 4.5 mm tall. (see Figure 32). When I was writing this article in 1993, I was given a full pane of the goose stamp by the IDOC to picture in the article. The first pane they sent got lost in the mail. As it was getting close to publication, they sent me another pane. Three months later, the first pane showed up. Therefore, two complete panes of the goose stamp are in collector’s hands (see Figure 33). 



Figure 32. Two stamps from the first printing of new style duck stamps have been recorded.



Figure 33. The pane of goose stamps given to me has shorter serial numbers and is likely not from the first printing.



The serial numbers on the booklet type goose stamps sent to me are notably shorter, measuring 3 mm. Therefore, I now believe they are from a subsequent printing (perhaps several printings removed) and that the first printing of booklet type goose stamps would have been printed with taller serial numbers like the duck stamps. To my knowledge, no first printing goose stamps have been recorded. I expect the initial printing of pheasant stamps would also have been printed in booklet panes, but once again no examples have been recorded. At some point between the late 1970s and 1992, the format for printing the duck stamps and pheasant stamps was changed from booklets to coil rolls of 500 (see Figure 34).



Figure 34. By 1992, the duck and pheasant daily usage stamps were issued in a coil format.



From 1980 through 1993, a fourth kind of daily usage stamp was used on controlled quail and pheasant areas. Distinct from regular pheasant areas, the IDOC raised and released quail on such areas from 1980 through 1990. In 1991 budget restrictions put an end to the quail release program (Musser, 1994). The stamps used at these areas have “CONTROLLED QUAIL & PHEASANT DAILY USAGE STAMP” printed over the top of the insignia and they are on orange-brown paper (see Figure 35). The new style stamps are virtually the same size as their predecessors, measuring approximately 32 x 38 mm. Whereas the old style stamps are perforated, the new style stamps are rouletted.



Figure 35. A stamp for controlled quail and pheasant areas was used from 1980 through 1993.



The new style stamps are not dated. Stamps from a particular printing are used year after year until they are exhausted. Numerous printings over the years have resulted in several detectable differences. (At this time the author does not have enough data to assign specific types to these stamps.) First, the shade of paper often differs slightly. Second, both the typestyle and the size of type has varied slightly. Third, the style and size of the serial numbers has varied greatly (see Figures 36). 



Figures 36. The style and size of the serial numbers has varied greatly from printing to printing.



The new style stamps have no face value printed on them. The daily usage fee at Rice Lake remained at $3.00 and the fees at Horseshoe Lake, Union County and the pheasant areas remained at $5.00 through 1978 (see Figure 37). In 1979 the IDOC raised the daily usage fee on all public hunting grounds (duck, goose and pheasant) to $10.00 (Musser, 1994).



Figure 37. Applications for the three kinds of public hunting areas operated in 1978. Each specifies that daily usage stamps must be purchased at the areas.



In 1980 the fee charged to hunters at Rice Lake (only) was lowered. According to John Ball, Assistant Site Manager for the Rice Lake Wildlife Area, the recession which hit the country at this time forced the closing of the International Harvester plant in nearby Canton. This event seriously impaired the Fulton County economy. A group of local residents subsequently made an appeal to the IDOC to reduce the financial burden on sportsmen wishing to hunt at Rice Lake — much as the sportsmen of Lassen County appealed to the California Fish and Game Commission in 1956 (Torre, 1994). The IDOC agreed to reduce the daily usage fee at Rice Lake fro $10.00 to $6.00 and it remained at that level through 1991 (see Figure 38). In 1992 it was raised back to $10.00.



Figure 38. Front (above) and reverse of Rice Lake Daily permit issued in 1991. Note regulation number 9.



The fee charged to hunters on the controlled quail and pheasant areas started out at $5.00 in 1980. During the mid-1980s it was raised to the same level as the regular pheasant areas ($10.00). When this article was orininaly published in 1994, the daily usage fee charged on all public hunting grounds in Illinois was $15.00 (Ball, 1994; Musser, 1994). Duck daily usage stamps were still in use at Rice Lake and goose daily usage stamps were still in use at the Union County Refuge. In addition, the goose stamps were also used at a new public hunting area operated at the Snake Den Hollow Wildlife Area in west-central Illinois (see Figure 39). 



Figure 39. Stand by card used at Union County in 1994. Two hunters occupied blind #20.



As of November, 1995 the booklet type goose stamps were still being used. Shortly thereafter, goose stamps were printed in coil rolls. In 1997, the format for the goose daily usage stamps, which had remained the same for nearly twenty years, changed yet again. The stamps were still issued in coil rolls, but were die cut and printed with a pressure sensitive gum on a peelable backing (see Figure 40).



Figure 40. While goose stamps from booklet panes were still being used as late as November of 1995 (top), they were soon replaced with stamps from coil rolls (middle). In 1997, goose stamps were die cut and printed with pressure sensitive gum on a peelable backing (bottom).



Horseshoe Lake, once boasting the greatest goose hunting in the world, fell on hard times at the end of the twentieth century. According to Bob Williamson, Waterfowl Project Manager for the IDOC, the Horseshoe Lake area once included a lot of open space, a characteristic which Canada geese find desirable. Over the years vegetation in the area matured and the terrain became heavily forested. Due to environmental concerns, the IDOC has been prevented from clearing trees in the area. This has resulted in much of the Horseshoe Lake Canada goose flock locating elsewhere. The total number of hunters using the public hunting area at Horseshoe Lake dropped from 2,191 in 1989 to only 746 in 1992 (Waterfowl Program, 1993). Starting in 1993, the area was no longer operated on a daily permit basis. Free blinds are now allocated to hunters in a daily drawing (1993 Duck and Goose Hunting).

As I was updating this article, I found an interesting item on the internet. According to an article by Jerry Pabst, noted outdoor writer from Illinois, hunters in Illinois are now “reaping limits of ducks from pits once used exclusively for goose hunts” at Horseshoe Lake (see Figure 41). Pabst states that during the 2006-07 season, more ducks (556) than Canada Geese (463) were harvested there (Pabst, 2010).



Figure 41. In recent years, more ducks than geese have been harvested at Horseshoe Lake.




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