Illinois Hunting

Illinois Hunting

Hunting in Illinois offers a diverse and exciting experience for both residents and non-resident hunters. The state’s abundant wildlife includes small game and regular game animals like rabbits, deer, turkey, and various bird species. However, before embarking on a hunting adventure, it is essential to understand the regulations and requirements set forth by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. This article provides an in-depth guide to Illinois hunting regulations, seasons, and the fascinating wildlife that draws hunters to the state.

Illinois Hunting Regulations

Illinois takes its hunting regulations seriously, aiming to preserve wildlife and ensure the safety of hunters and the general public. Some of the key regulations include:

Hunting License Regulation

Before engaging in any hunting activity in Illinois, whether you are a resident or a non-resident, you must possess a valid hunting license issued by the state’s Department of Natural Resources. However, certain games may be exempt from this requirement, but it is crucial to check the specific regulations.

Game Tagging Regulations

For certain games, such as deer, tagging is necessary, and hunters must have their game checked by hunting officials after harvesting. Proper tagging is essential, as improper tagging can lead to violations and potential fines or license confiscation.

Game Harvesting Requirements

Deer taken during muzzleloader, archery, or special Chronic Waste Disease season in Illinois must be registered by the hunter. The registration process can be completed online, via telephone, or at designated check stations in counties with Chronic Waste Disease surveillance.

Hunters Dress Regulations

During specific hunting seasons or activities in Illinois, hunters must adhere to dress requirements. For example, wearing a blaze orange color and a pink cap is mandatory, and camouflage pink and orange are not acceptable. These dress regulations aim to enhance hunter visibility and safety.

Bag Limit Regulations

Bag limits are imposed to control the number of game animals hunters can take during a hunting season. Bag limits can be daily or seasonal, varying depending on the game animal and the population of that specific species.

Illinois Hunting Prohibitions

To protect wildlife and ensure ethical hunting practices, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources strictly prohibits certain activities during hunting. Some of the prohibitions include:

  • Possessing a firearm in state Wildlife management areas without permission.
  • Using snares, pit traps, nets, deadfalls, or other similar devices to take game animals (exceptions are made for certain situations).
  • Using mechanized devices, smoke, gas chemicals, or small mammals like ferrets or hares to drive wildlife out of their homes or dens for hunting purposes.
  • Using hooks, gigs, spears, drugs, poisons, explosives, or shotguns with a gauge larger than 10 for hunting protected games and wildlife.
  • Hunting near inflammable substances, discharging firearms into water bodies or across roads, and using silencers to mute firearm sounds while hunting.
See also  Illinois Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW)

Illinois Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags

To participate in hunting activities in Illinois, hunters need to obtain specific licenses, permits, and tags. The state offers a variety of licenses tailored to residents and non-residents alike. Some of the common types include:

Illinois Resident Licenses

  • Residents Hunting License: Allows residents to participate in hunting seasons and costs $12.5.
  • Resident Lifetime License: A lifetime hunting license issued to residents for $360.
  • Resident Senior Hunting License: Available for senior residents (age 65 or older) for $6.5.

Illinois Non-Residents License

  • Non-Residents Hunting License: Allows non-residents to participate in hunting seasons, with options for an annual license ($57.75) or a 5-day license ($35.75).
  • Non-Resident Hunting Preserve License: For hunting released game birds in hunting preserve areas, costing $12.5.

Hunting Licenses for Residents and Non-Residents

  • Hunting Apprentice License: For apprentice hunters under supervision, costing $7.5.
  • Youth Hunting License: For youths under 18 years old, costing $7.

Illinois Fishing License, Permits, and Tags

For those interested in fishing in Illinois, fishing licenses, permits, and tags are also available based on residency:

Illinois Residents Fishing Licenses

  • Resident Sport Fishing License: An annual fishing license for residents, costing $15.
  • Residents Senior Spot Fishing License: For residents age 65 or older, costing $7.75.
  • Residents Lifetime Sport Fishing License: A lifetime license costing $765.

Illinois Non-Resident Fishing License

  • Non-Residents Sport Fishing License: For non-residents to fish in Illinois, with options for a year-long license ($31.5) or a 10-day license ($20).

Illinois Hunting Season

Illinois offers a wide range of hunting seasons for various wildlife and hunting methods. The Department of Natural Resources defines the hunting seasons for each calendar year. Some of the notable hunting seasons include:

  • Illinois Deer Hunting Seasons: Archery Season, Muzzleloader Season, Firearm Seasons, and Youths Firearm Hunting Season.
  • Illinois Turkey Hunting Season: Fall Firearms Season and Gall Archery Season.
  • Illinois Small Games Hunting Seasons: Quail Hunting Season, Partridge Hunting Season, Rabbit Hunting Season, Fox Squirrel Hunting Season, and Crow Hunting Season.

The start and end dates of each season vary based on the Illinois hunting zones, and hunters need to abide by all Illinois hunting gun laws and regulations for firearms hunting seasons.

See also  Illinois Gun Permit

Illinois Wildlife, Games, and Fishes

Illinois is home to a diverse array of game and wildlife, attracting hunters from far and wide. Some of the most popular games and wildlife available for hunting include:

  • Illinois Deer Hunting: Deer hunting is highly prosperous in the state, with Fulton County being a hotspot for deer hunting.
  • Illinois Turkey Hunting: The eastern wild turkey is prevalent all over the state, providing exciting hunting opportunities.
  • Illinois Fox Hunting: Red foxes are common in various regions of the state, including farmlands and suburban areas.
  • Illinois Coyote Hunting: Coyotes are abundant in rural, urban, and suburban areas, and their hunting is quite popular.
  • Illinois Quail Hunting: Bobwhite quail is common in central and west-central regions of Illinois.
  • Illinois Duck Hunting: Various species of ducks can be found in shallow water bodies like ponds and lakes.
  • Illinois Dove Hunting: Mourning doves are migratory game birds present throughout the year.
  • Illinois Pheasant Hunting: Pheasants are found in wildlife management areas and private lands across the state.
  • Illinois Partridge Hunting: The gray partridge is found in the northern part of Illinois.
  • Illinois Goose Hunting: Giant Canada geese are native to Illinois and provide excellent hunting opportunities.

Illinois Hunting Shooting Ranges

For hunters looking to improve their shooting skills and practice safety, numerous shooting ranges are open to the public in Illinois. Some of these include:

  • Alton Woodriver Sportsmen’s Club
  • Byron-Oregon Sportsman’s Club
  • Centralia Trap Club
  • Clark County Sportsmans Club
  • Darnall’s Gun Works & Ranges
  • Decatur Gun Club
  • Gordon Trap & Skeet Club
  • Gun World Range
  • Highland Pistol and Rifle Club

Illinois Hunting Lands for Sale and Lease

For those interested in owning or leasing hunting lands in Illinois, various properties are available for sale or lease. Some of the listings include:

  • Fithian, Illinois (Vermilion County) 30 acres.
  • Flora, Illinois (Clay County) 166 acres.
  • Ipava, Illinois (Fulton County) 138 acres.
  • Alton, Illinois (Madison County) 102.3 acres.
  • Bradford, Illinois (Stark County) 53.38 acres.
  • Alton, Illinois (Macoupin County) 198 acres.
  • Reevesville, Illinois (Johnson County) 198 acres.
  • Deer land for lease in Crawford County (40 acres).
  • White-tailed Deer land for lease in Gallatin County (80 acres).
  • Deer hunting land lease in Crawford Lease (2000 acres).


Illinois offers a diverse and exciting hunting experience for all enthusiasts. However, it is essential to familiarize oneself with the regulations, obtain the necessary licenses and permits, and practice ethical and responsible hunting to preserve the state’s wildlife for generations to come.

See also  Illinois FOID Card Requirement


Do I need a hunting license to hunt in Illinois?

Yes, regardless of residency, all hunters must have a valid hunting license issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Are there bag limits for hunting in Illinois?

Yes, bag limits restrict the number of game animals hunters can take during a hunting season, and they vary depending on the game species.

Can non-residents hunt in Illinois?

Yes, non-residents can hunt in Illinois by obtaining the appropriate hunting license and permits.

What are the dress requirements for hunters in Illinois?

During specific hunting seasons, hunters are required to wear blaze orange color and a pink cap, with no camouflage pink or orange allowed.

Where can I find shooting ranges in Illinois?

There are various shooting ranges open to the public throughout Illinois, providing opportunities for practice and safety training.

What hunting season is it in Illinois?

The current hunting seasons in Illinois include firearm deer season (Nov 17-19, 2022), fall turkey season (Oct 28 – Nov 5, 2022), and upland game season for certain bird species. Season dates vary annually.

Can you bow hunt during the shotgun season in Illinois?

Yes, archery deer hunting with a bow is permitted during the firearm (shotgun) deer seasons in Illinois. All deer hunters must wear blaze orange during shotgun seasons regardless of weapon type.

How to get a hunting license in Illinois:

Illinois hunting licenses can be purchased online, by phone, or in person at certain retailers. First-time hunters must complete a hunter safety course. Fees range from $17 for a basic hunting license to $510 for a non-resident all-species license.

Can you bow hunt during muzzleloader season in Illinois?

Yes, bowhunting for deer is allowed during both the early and late muzzleloader-only seasons in Illinois. All deer hunters must wear blaze orange clothing during any muzzleloader deer season.

How much is a hunting license in Illinois?

For residents, a basic hunting license costs $17 in Illinois. Additional stamps and permits range from $5.50 to $25 for things like migratory waterfowl, habitat stamps, and deer/turkey permits. Total costs for non-residents are much higher.

When is deer hunting season in Illinois?

Illinois deer hunting seasons include archery (early October through mid-January), firearm (mid-November), muzzleloader (December or January), and certain specialty late seasons depending on location and weapons used.

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