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Illinois Law on Deer and Turkey Baiting

In Illinois, it is illegal to feed deer at any time or to take deer by the use or aid of bait. You may notice that deer baits and attractants are easily found and sold in many stores throughout Illinois, but despite their widespread availability, these products are illegal to use in Illinois at any time except in a few limited circumstances. Please take notice that this law does not require that a violation occur at a certain time of the year or that one has any intention of hunting near food or a qualifying substance to violate this law.

Under Illinois law, “bait” means any material, whether liquid or solid, including food, salt, minerals, and other products that can be ingested, placed or scattered in such a manner as to attract or lure white-tailed deer. 520 ILCS 5/2.26. Illinois law defines as “baiting” as the placement or scattering of bait to attract deer. This means that the placement of salt blocks to lure deer or other wildlife is illegal. Even the placement of a natural food, such as apples, would be considered illegal.

Illinois enacted the deer feeding ban in 2002 to mitigate the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) amongst its whitetail deer population. Dense concentration of deer in a single place, such as around a salt block or a mound of corn kernels, makes the disease more transmittable amongst the deer population.

However, Illinois hunters and property owners are legally able to manage their property in many ways that will result in the attraction of white tail deer including:

  • Crops mowed or cut and left as a part of a normal agricultural or soil stabilization practice;
    • Standing crops;
    • Food plots;
    • Incidental feeding of wildlife within active livestock operations;
    • Grain or other feed scattered or distributed solely as a result of normal agricultural, gardening, or soil stabilization practices. 520 ILCS 5/2.26.

    Also, the use of products designed for scent only and not capable of ingestion, solid or liquid, placed or scattered, in such a manner as to attract or lure deer, is permissible under the law. 520 ILCS 5/2.26..This means that you may legally make use of products like deer urine and other similar scent attractants.

    The same limitations to baiting deer are also applicable to baiting turkeys in Illinois. It is illegal to take wild turkeys by the use or aid of bait or baiting of any kind. “Bait” means any material, whether liquid or solid, including food, salt, minerals and other products that can be ingested, placed or scattered in such a manner as to attract or lure wild turkeys. “Baiting” means the placement or scattering of bait to attract wild turkeys.

    Illinois law makes a distinction between simply baiting deer and hunting over bait. Illegal baiting is a petty offense that is punishable by a fine of up to $1,000. (17 Illinois Administrative Code Part 635.50). Hunting over bait is a Class B misdemeanor which punishable by up to 6 months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500, seizure of any items used for the hunt, and loss of hunting privileges. (520 ILCS 5/2.26).

    Please be aware that Illinois law establishes different rules for the use of bait for purposes of taking migratory birds, doves, coyotes, and other animals as well as the use of bait for trapping. For any other questions concerning these issues, please feel free to contact Hauk & Owens.

    By: Ryan Parker

    DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. No attorney-client relationship is created.

    Posted: 12/2/2016

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Your Estate Planning Team: Make Sure Everyone is on the Same Page

The definition of estate planning I always come back to is that a good estate plan will:

  1. Ensure that you are properly taken care of in the event you become disabled;
  2. fficiently transfer your estate exactly as you intend after you pass away; and
  3. Minimize, to the greatest extent allowed under the law, the costs, fees, and taxes associated with administering your estate.
In order to create an estate plan that meets these goals your attorney cannot be the only member of your team. It must be a collaborative effort between the client, the estate planning attorney, and the client’s financial advisor, insurance advisor, and accountant. Every client has a unique family and financial situation that causes us to structure an estate plan in different ways.

One of the most common places an estate plan can get screwed up is by using beneficiary designations. This is where it is so important that all of the advisors are on the same page regarding how the estate plan will be structured.

I’ll use an example. Say I have a client with modest assets and three children. On his instruction I prepare an estate plan that leaves 10% of his estate to his church and the remaining balance in four equal shares to his three children and one grandchild who checks in on him every week. Say this client had a life insurance policy that he purchased ten years ago. At the time he filled out the beneficiary designation for the life insurance policy he named his three children as the remainder beneficiaries. If that life insurance policy is a majority of the client’s assets and the attorney doesn’t coordinate with the insurance advisor, then the client’s estate plan isn’t going to accomplish what he had intended. The church and the grandchild are going to get significantly less than the client wanted.

In most situations, I recommend to my clients that we update their beneficiary designations to name their revocable living trust as the beneficiary (after a surviving spouse). For a variety of reasons, I don’t recommend this strategy for any tax-deferred accounts. This strategy works especially well for clients who have a tendency to change their mind about the final distribution of their estate. The client needs only amend the terms of the trust instead of getting beneficiary designation forms for every investment and policy they own. By working together as a team each of the client’s advisors can provide value to the client. In order to truly serve the client’s needs, each advisor needs to have input into the plan. More importantly, after the plan has been designed, every advisor needs to be a on the same page in the implementation of the plan so that the client’s wishes are actually fulfilled.


By: Andrew Mays
Andrew is a partner at the law firm of Hauk & Owens, LLC in West-Central Illinois who focuses his practice in Estate Administration, Probate, and Estate Planning.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. No attorney-client relationship is created. Posted: 7/6/2016

Posted: 7/6/2016

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Hunter's Retrieval Rights

As hunting season is now well upon us, sportsmen need to be aware of the applicable law regarding the retrieval of wounded game coming to rest on another’s property.

Those who come onto another’s property without consent to retrieve wounded game or even track wounded game may be prosecuted in the state of Illinois for Unlawfully Hunting on Private Property Without Permission From the Landowner. 520 ILCS 5/2.33(t).

In Missouri, retrieval of wildlife from private land without permission of the landowner is punishable by a Class B Misdemeanor. 578.525, RSMo. A conviction of a Missouri Class B Misdemeanor may bring a sentence of up to a $500.00 fine and 6 months in the county jail. Furthermore, the Missouri Conservation Commission will revoke all privileges of the individual to hunt, fish, or trap for at least one year from date of conviction.

If a hunter shoots and wounds a deer or other game on property they have permission to hunt and the game runs onto property where the hunter does not have permission to be, the first thing the hunter should do is contact the neighboring landowner.

The hunter does not have “self-help” rights to cross over onto the adjoining property owners land and retrieve the game without asking for the landowner’s permission first. If the hunter contacts the neighboring landowner and that landowner does not give his or her consent, the hunter is not allowed onto the property to retrieve the game. Even though a hunter may be tracking, blood trailing, or retrieving the game, the activity falls under the scope of "hunting" and thus the hunter can be charged with Hunting Without Permission.

If the hunter who shot the game is not allowed to retrieve the game, the property rights in the animal itself actually eschew back to the state. This means not even the property owner on who’s land the game comes to rest has a right of possession to the animal.

If you have questions regarding the contents of this article, or other similar issues, please contact our office or visit us at http://www.HaukandOwens.com.

By: John Hauk & Ryan Parker

DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. No attorney-client relationship is created.

Posted: 7/1/2016

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The Top 5 Legal Things to Do When a Family Member Passes Away

1. Take a deep breath. Losing a loved one is obviously an emotional time for a family. Don't rush into these things if you aren't ready. It's OK to delegate some of this to other family members or friends who are willing to help.

2. Find any documents related to the family member's last wishes. Did he or she have a pre-planned funeral? If so, contact the funeral director. Were there specific things that were in the Will related to burial or cremation?

(This is also an important reason why you need to make sure your family knows where to find your important legal documents. If you have specific funeral arrangements that you wish to be followed, your family will not be able to follow your wishes if they do not know what your wishes are specifically or where to find them.)

3. Do not make any distributions from the Estate or file any beneficiary paperwork until you talk to an estate administration attorney.

4. Ensure your family member's assets are secure. Is the house locked to ensure burglars don't break in? Are there pets or livestock that need to be cared for? Is there a business that needs someone to manage it?

5. Make an appointment with a competent estate administration attorney. A professional will be able to guide you through the estate administration process. Some estates are relatively simple and can be settled in a matter of weeks. Other estates require court supervision and can take months or years to completely administer.

Please contact our office to schedule a free estate administration review. We will discuss generally the heirship of your family member, assets of the estate, and anticipated liabilities of the estate. Our attorneys will be able to give you a general outline of the administration process for your specific situation and you will be in full understanding of the fees charged after a short meeting. Prior to your free estate administration meeting with our office, you should gather all estate planning documents that you can find (will, trust, powers of attorney, etc.), know the current family situation of the deceased individual, and have a basic understanding of the assets and liabilities of the estate.

By: Andrew Mays
Andrew is a partner at the law firm of Hauk & Owens, LLC in West-Central Illinois who focuses his practice in Estate Administration, Probate, and Estate Planning.

DISCLAIMER: This publication is not intended to be legal advice but is presented for informational and educational purposes only. The facts and circumstances of a specific legal issue are unique and you should seek legal advice for your specific questions or concerns. The choice of a lawyer is an important decision and should not be based solely upon advertisements. No attorney-client relationship is created.

Posted: 1/18/2016

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