The Illinois Daily Usage Stamps

Controlled Quail and Pheasant Discontinued


The controlled quail and pheasant daily usage stamps were discontinued after 1993. However, the regular pheasant daily usage stamps continued to be used at several area throughout the state after this time.

In the mid 1990s, If a sportsman wished to hunt at a public hunting area operating on a daily permit basis (Rice Lake, Union County, etc.) he still needed to apply for a reservation to be guaranteed a place to hunt on a specific date. A computer at IDOC Headquarters in Springfield drew 25 applications at random for each hunt day of the season. At some areas, including Rice Lake, there was also a standby option.

In the 1980s the IDOC purchased two private duck hunting clubs adjacent to Rice Lake, more than doubling the size of the waterfowl area to 5660 acres. In 1986 the large Duck Island Hunting Club was acquired (see Figure 42).



Figure 42. The body of water at the upper left is Rice Lake. The body of water in the center is Big Lake. Duck Island is right between them.



The following year a smaller club belonging to the Voorhees family was added. These two purchases enlarged the Rice Lake Wildlife Area by approximately 2,500 and 450 acres, respectively. The number of permanent blinds was increased to 25. As each of the blind accommodated a maximum of three persons, the daily hunter capacity at Rice Lake in the mid 1990s was 75 (exclusive of walk-in areas).

Hunting parties were required to show up at the check station between 4:30 and 5:00 a.m. the day of their reservation. At that time their permit card was entered into the drawing for a blind location. When the hunters’ card was drawn, they selected from the locations still available. The number of the blind selected was marked on their permit, each of the hunters payed the daily usage fee and the appropriate number of stamps were affixed to the permit (see Figure 43).



Figure 43. Rice Lake permit with three duck daily usage stamps affixed. The hunters drew blind #1 (written and circled in pen).



If any blinds remained after all the hunters with reservations had drawn, then a second drawing was held. Remaining names were printed on a Hunter Identification Card, commonly referred to as a “standby card,” and it was entered in the drawing. If the hunters’ card was drawn while blinds remain available, the blind number selected was marked on the card. The stand-by hunters then payed the same daily usage fee and the appropriate number of  stamps were affixed to the card (see Figure 44).  



Figure 44. Stand-by card issued at Rice Lake with two duck daily usage stamps affixed. The hunters drew blind #16.



Starting in 1981, walk-in hunting was allowed at Rice Lake on a standby basis. A maximum of 20 hunters were chosen each hunt day in a third drawing. There were no blinds in the walk-in areas. Hunters wore waders and stood in flooded timber throughout the day. They threw out decoys, used duck calls and hid behind trees in wait. From 1981 through 1993, Rice Lake personnel transported hunters to and around the walk-in areas. During this period walk-in hunters paid the regular daily usage fee and a stamp was affixed to their standby card.

Starting in 1994, the IDOC stated it would no longer provide transportation to walk-in hunters. As a result, the walk-in hunters were not required to pay the daily usage fee and stamps were no longer be affixed to their standby cards (Ball, 1993; Douglas, 1993).

All hunters at Rice Lake were still required to leave their state hunting license at the check station in order to ensure the return of their permit or standby card bearing the daily usage stamps. In addition to serving as a control to enforce the daily hunter capacity, validating permits and standby cards for the day’s hunt, the stamps were also a potential auditing device. At the end of each hunt day, Rice Lake personnel filled out a report indicating the total daily usage fees collected. The permits and stamps collected from hunters in the checkout procedure were saved in a box. Following the end of the season, the daily usage stamps could be counted by an auditor to verify the accuracy of the receipts reported (Ball, 1993; Douglas, 1993).

The last time I requested daily usage stamps from the IDOC was in the Spring of 1998. By this time the three types of stamps still in use for ducks, geese and pheasants, were all die cut and printed with pressure sensitive gum on a peelable backing (see figures 45 and 46).



Figure 45. As the twentieth century came to a close, all Illinois daily usage stamps were die cut and printed with pressure sensitive gum on a peelable backing.



Figure 46. The stamps were still printed in long rolls of an unknown size.



As the twentieth century came to an end, daily usage stamps continued to be used at various sites around Illinois. To discuss these stamps would be beyond the scope of this article and they will be covered in a future blog post.

As in California, waterfowl management areas in Illinois proved to be a boon for wildlife and society. For over seventy years Rice Lake has been an important stopover area for migrating ducks. Due in large part to the success of the Horseshoe Lake and Union County Refuges, the Canada geese of the Mississippi Flyway have prospered. In early 1993, the goose population in southern Illinois peaked at 372,000 (Waterfowl Program, 1993).

The public hunting areas operated at locations such as these have allowed thousands of people to enjoy the sport of waterfowl hunting in a well-regulated environment and at a reasonable cost (see Figure 47). Since the early 1950s, the Illinois Daily Usage Stamps have served as an integral part of the daily permit system employed at the most popular public hunting areas in the state.



Figure 47. Duck decoys illuminated by a rising sun at Rice lake.



It is hoped that the information in this article has helped to expand the body of knowledge about fish and game stamps in general and non-pictorial state-issued waterfowl stamps in particular — one of the most rapidly growing areas of stamp collecting today. Many opportunities still exist for research in this field. Collectors are encouraged to publish information about fish and game stamps that are of interest to them. It is likely that others share in your interest and can benefit from your efforts. In this way, everyone is able to learn more about our fascinating hobby.



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