Illinois Hunting: Your Step-by-Step Guide To the Laws, Regulations, Licenses, Seasons ... And More!

Hunting in Illinois consists of small game and regular game animals like rabbit, deer, and turkey. The states also consist of many bird games.

Illinois Hunting Regulations

Illinois hunting is heavily regulated by the state’s Department of Natural Resources. There are regulations, laws, and requirements that hunters must abide by. Some of the most important ones include the following:

Hunting License Regulation

Before you hunt in Illinois, you need to have one of the state’s valid hunting licenses regardless of if you are a resident or non-resident hunter. However, the Illinois Department for Natural Resources may permit the hunting of certain games without a license.

Game Tagging Regulations

Some games require tagging and must be checked by hunting officials after you have taken them. Deer is one of such games. Illinois hunters have the responsibility to understand all tagging requirements for specific games they want to take. Improper tagging could lead to a violation which may result in fines or confiscation of a hunting license.

Game harvesting Requirements

Deer taken in Illinois during muzzleloader, archery, and in special Chronic Waste Disease season must be registered by the hunter. Also, for counties in Illinois that do not have Chronic Waste Disease surveillance, the harvested deer must be registered if taken in a firearm season.

The timeframe for registering hunted deer in Illinois is 10 pm on the very day that the deer was harvested. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also allows deer harvesting registration by calling in via a telephone or via their website.

However, counties with CWD surveillance will require physical registration of the harvested deer in various check stations available. After registering the deer, a tag will be given to the hunter. The tag will contain a confirmation number for the harvest. It is important that the harvested deer remains whole just as it was taken during the hunt.

Hunters Dress Regulations

For some hunting seasons or activities in Illinois, there are dress requirements for hunters to meet. This consists of a blaze orange color together with a pink cap. Hunters must wear this together with an outer garment that has the same color requirements. Colors like camouflage pink and orange are not acceptable.

These dressing requirements are needed to:

  • Take deer in any of the deer firearm seasons of the year.
  • Track injured deer with a hunting dog in any of the deer firearm seasons in a year.
  • Supervise youth and junior hunters during any of the deer firearm seasons.
  • Harvest turkey with archery equipment in any of the firearm seasons.

Bag Limit Regulations

Bag limits are the restriction available for hunters to control the number of game animals they can take in a hunting season. Illinois hunting bag limit can either be daily or seasonal based on the game animal. Daily limits will restrict the amount of that specific game that the hunter can take within a day. A seasonal limit on the other hand will restrict the number of that specific game a hunter can take in one hunting season.

Bag limits are not the same every year. They vary from games and are defined by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources based on the population of the game that is to be taken. It is the responsibility of hunters to know and follow the bag limit for the game they want to take. Violations may lead to fines and even revocation of license.

Illinois Hunting Prohibitions

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources prohibits the following activities while hunting in the state: It is a prohibition to possess a firearm in any of the state Wildlife management areas without the permission of the management of that WMA.

  • It is a prohibition to possess a snare or any device that functions like a snare, pit trap, net, and deadfall to take game animals. Exceptions are made to the regulation for snares that are not power-driven by a spring or any other form of motorized device for the hunting of furbearers games in water bodies, However, half of the snare must remain underwater always.
  • It is a prohibition for any hunter or person to take wildlife and games from its home or den with the aid of mechanized devices, digging devices, the use of smokes, and other gas chemicals to drive them out.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of small mammals like ferrets or hares to drive out wildlife and games from their homes or dens, for the purpose of hunting them.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of hooks, gigs, and spears to hunt games and wildlife that are protected by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of drugs, poisons, or any form of explosive to take games and wildlife that are protected by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt near grasses, brushes, peats, or other substances that are inflammable when they are burning.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of a shotgun that has a gauge larger than 10 when hunting or attempting to hunt games and wildlife in Illinois.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt game birds, migratory birds, waterfowls, etc. with firearms like rifles, air guns, revolvers, and pistols.
  • It is a prohibition to discharge firearms like air guns, rifles, revolvers, and pistols into any of Illinois water bodies. This also includes frozen waters in the state.
  • It is a prohibition to discharge firearms or archery devices across public roads or highways in the name of hunting.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of silencers or any other silencing devices to reduce or completely mute the sound from a firearm while hunting.
  • It is a prohibition to extract fur-bearing games from the traps of a licensed trapper without the permission of the trap owner to do so.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt in private lands of a state if you are not the landowner, or without seeking the permission of the landowner to do so.
  • It is a prohibition to harvest games with shotguns that are loaded with slugs. An exception to this is made for white-tailed deer and fur-bearing games. Also, anyone that has the permission of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources can go against this regulation.

Illinois Hunting Licenses, Permits, and Tags.

There are various types of valid hunting licenses issued in Illinois. Illinois licenses are made available to hunters in the state based on residency.

Types of licenses permits and tags in Illinois include the following:

Illinois Resident Licenses

These licenses are only available for residents of Illinois. For the sake of a resident hunting license in the state, the Illinois department of natural resources defines a resident as someone that has lived in Illinois for a minimum of 30 days. Active military members in the state are also regarded as residents.

Furthermore, it is compulsory for all residents of Illinois to own a hunting license. Hunters that make use of firearms must own a Firearm Owner Identification Card.

Illinois Hunting Licenses are:

Residents Hunting License

Holders of this license can take part in Illinois hunting seasons. Residents can purchase this license online or through vendors. It costs $12.5

Resident Lifetime License

This is a lifetime hunting license issued to residents of Illinois. This license can only be issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and it costs $360.

Residents Sportsman Lifetime License for Fishing and Hunting.

This license is just like the ordinary resident lifetime license, but it gives holders the privilege of hunting and fishing in the state. It costs $765.

Resident Senior Hunting License

This license is only made available for senior residents of Illinois that are 65 years old or more. It can be purchased online and through vendors. It costs $6.5.

Resident Senior Sportsman Lifetime License for Fishing and Hunting.

This license is made available for senior residents to partake in hunting and fishing activities in Illinois. The license is valid for life and costs $13.5.

Residents Sportsmen Hunting and Fishing License

This license is made available for ordinary residents to partake in hunting and fishing activities in Illinois. The license is valid for life and costs $26.25.

Residents Super Senior Hunting License

This license is available for residents of Illinois that fall into the super senior category when they turn 75 years old. It can be purchased online and via vendors in the state. It costs $1.5.

Residents Super Senior Hunting and Fishing License

This license is available for residents of Illinois that fall into the super senior category when they turn 75 years old. It allows them to take part in both hunting and fishing activities. It can be purchased online and via vendors in the state. It costs $2.75.

Residents Veteran Hunting License

Veteran residents of Illinois can purchase this license online or through vendors. However, certification is needed to prove that a person is a veteran before purchasing the license. It costs $6.5.

Residents Veteran Hunting and Fishing License

Veteran residents of Illinois can purchase this license online or through vendors. The license allows them to take part in fishing and hunting. However, certification is needed to prove that a person is a veteran before purchasing the license. It costs $13.5.

Illinois Non Residents License

This is an Illinois out-of-state hunting license for non-residents hunters that want to take part in any game hunting season in Illinois. They are:

Non-Residents Hunting License

This license is available for non-residents to take part in Illinois hunting seasons. It can either be purchased online or via vendors in Illinois. Based on validity, there are two types of non-resident hunting licenses available in Illinois. The annual license costs $57.75, while the one valid for 5 days costs $35.75.

Non-Resident Hunting Preserve License

This is a special type of non-resident license issued for only preserve hunting season in Illinois. The license is used to take released game birds, and the non-resident hunter can only make use of it in Hunting preserve areas. It costs $12.5.

Hunting Licenses for Residents and Non-residents

This hunting license is valid for both residents and non-residents in Illinois. They are:

Hunting Apprentice License

This license is issued to apprentice hunters that will be under the supervision of a licensed hunter. It costs $7.5.

Youth Hunting License

This license is issued to youths that are under the age of 18. It is available online and via vendors in the state, and it costs $7.

Illinois Fishing License, Permits, and Tags

Just like hunting licenses in Illinois, fishing licenses are issued based on residency.

Illinois Residents Fishing Licenses

These licenses are valid for only residents of Illinois. Before you can qualify for the purchase or application of resident fishing licenses in Illinois, you must live in the state for at least a period of 30 days.

Residents licenses in Illinois are:

Resident Sport Fishing License

This is an annual fishing license for residents. It costs $15.

Residents Senior Spot Fishing License

This license is valid for residents of Illinois that are 65 years old or more. It costs $7.75.

Residents Lifetime Sport Fishing License

This license is available for residents of Illinois and will be valid throughout their lifetime. It is issued by the Illinois Department of natural resources, and it costs $765.

Illinois Non-Residents Fishing License

These are licenses available for non-residents that want to fish in Illinois. However, there is an exception for non-residents fishing licenses for anglers that possess licenses from other states that share a border with Illinois, if they are fishing the Illinois side of the water.

These license are:

Non-Residents Sport Fishing License

This license is valid for non-residents to partake in fishing on Illinois water bodies. There are 2 types of this license available in Illinois. The first one is valid for a year and costs $31.5 while the other one is valid for 10 days and it costs $20.

License and stamps available to both residents and non-residents in Illinois include the following:

Residents and Non-Residents Sport Fishing License

This license is available for residents and non-residents, and it is only valid for 24 hours. It costs $5.5

Lake Michigan Salmon Stamp

Holders of this stamp will be able to harvest Salmo in lake Michigan. The stamp is available for only licensed anglers. It costs $6.5.

Inland Trout Stamp

This is another stamp for harvesting trout in all Illinois water bodies with the exception of Lake Michigan. The stamp is only available for licensed anglers. It costs $6.5.

Illinois Hunting Season

Hunting seasons in Illinois vary for games and methods of hunting. The Illinois Department for natural resources is in charge of defining the hunting seasons of a calendar year.

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Illinois includes the following:

Illinois Deer Hunting Seasons

  • Archery Season (1st of October to 17th of January)
  • Muzzleloader Season (11th of December to 13th of December)
  • Firearm Seasons (20th of November to 22nd of November to 3rd of December to 6th of December)
  • Youths Firearm Hunting Season (10th of October to 12th of October)

Illinois Turkey Hunting Season

  • Fall Firearms Season (24th of October to 1st of November)
  • Gall Archery Season (1st of October to 17th of January)

For the safety of hunters in the state, fall archery season will be closed for deer firearm seasons.

Illinois Small Games Hunting Seasons

  • Quail Hunting Season (3rd of November to 15th of January)
  • Partridge Hunting Season (7th of November to 15th of January)
  • Rabbit Hunting Season (7th of November to 15th of February)
  • Fox Squirrel Hunting Season (1st of August of 15th of February and closed firearm deer season)
  • Crow Hunting Season (28th of October to 28th of February)

Hunters should know that the start and end dates for each game and firearm season vary based on Illinois hunting zones. Also, there will be suspension for a lot of small game hunting seasons due to deer firearm seasons, this is to keep hunters safe.

For firearms hunting seasons, it is the responsibility of a hunter to abide by all Illinois hunting gun laws and regulations.

For bag limits, restrictions are defined by the Department of Natural Resources in Illinois based on the animal season. It is the duty of a hunter to get more information before hunting games.

Illinois Wildlife, Games, and Fishes

Some of the most common games and wildlife available for hunting in Illinois include the following:

Illinois Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Illinois is permitted by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on public lands. Hunters that have land permission for private lands can hunt deer on private lands. Deer inhabit the northern part of Illinois; they are mostly along the Illinois River. Deer hunting is very prosperous in the state with hunters in Fulton County harvesting up to 4014 deer in a hunting season.

Illinois Turkey Hunting

Turkey hunting in Illinois is very common with an estimation of about 150,000 of them well dispersed all over the state. The species of turkey found in the state is the eastern wild turkey. They are most common all over the forest preserves in Will County.

Illinois Fox Hunting

Foxes inhabit regions of Illinois like forest edges, grassland areas, farmlands, and even suburban regions. They live above ground but have dens to raise their offspring, especially in harsh weather conditions. Red foxes are common in Illinois.

Illinois Coyote Hunting

Coyote hunting in Illinois is common because of the abundance of predators in the state. Coyotes inhabit rural, urban, and even suburban regions in the state. They can be seen roaming around in daylight, especially in parks, golf courses, and fields.

Illinois Quail Hunting

Quail hunting in Illinois is another fun activity, and the most common species in the state is the bobwhite quail. Central and west-central regions of Illinois currently have the most number of quails in the state. However, they are scarce in southern Illinois due to harsh weather conditions like storms, high levels of rain, snow, and ice.

Illinois Duck Hunting

Duck hunting in Illinois takes place in wetland areas away from human settlement. There are many species of sucks in the state. You can also hunt them in wildlife refuges. They can be found in shallow regions of water bodies like ponds and lakes.

Illinois Dove Hunting

White-winged doves from the southwest of the country are being sighted in Illinois. Also, species like mourning doves are migratory game birds that can be found in the state all through the year.

Illinois Pheasant Hunting

Pheasant hunting is quite common in various Wildlife Management Areas and public lands of Illinois. Also, hunters that have permission to hunt in private lands will be allowed to take pheasants on various private properties in the state.

Illinois Partridge Hunting

Partridges are only found in the northern part of Illinois. The most common species is the gray partridge and its estimated population is about 12,000.

Illinois Goose Hunting

The species of geese that are native to Illinois is the giant Canada geese, and they can be found in the state all through the year. They have a bodyweight of between 9 to 16 pounds, with a wingspan almost as huge as 6 feet. Asides from swans, the Giant Canada geese is the biggest waterfowl game that can be hunted in Illinois.

Illinois Hunting Shooting Ranges

Shooting ranges in Illinois that are open to the general public include the following:

  • 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

Hunting land for sale in Illinois include the following:

  • 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.

Hunting land for lease in Illinois include the following:

  • Deer land for lease in (Crawford County) 40 acres.
  • White-tailed Deer land for lease (Gallatin County) 80 acres.
  • Deer hunting land lease (Crawford Lease) 2000 acres.

 

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