Each spring for the past 34 years, staff from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources use spotlights to count wildlife while driving slowly along 25-mile routes located in about half the state’s counties, and wildlife biologists for DNR will be conducting the census in Clinton and Washington Counties as part of the effort in the next month.
The census helps to track changes in the raccoon population, but deer, opossums, skunks and rabbits are also tallied. The census will take place one evening while driving on public roads from March 28 – April 11 when the weather allows for maximum visibility.
As a precaution, DNR staff will notify the county sheriff about the census on the day it is scheduled. Residents who notice spotlighting activities during the proposed timeframe and are unsure about the validity can contact the sheriff’s department to verify whether they are part of this project.