Activities at Des Plaines SFWA

Disabled Access

The following programs have access for people with disabilities: hunting, fishing, camping, and picnicking.


A public boat launch with three paved ramps is available on the Kankakee River for boating on the river or its backwaters. Motors are limited to 10 horsepower or less on the backwaters, but no limits exist on the Kankakee River. No boating is allowed on Milliken Lake. Boat ramps are closed seasonally from the end of October for pheasant hunting season thru mid-April (weather depending).

Dog Training

Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area is well known for numerous field trials and dog training events held throughout the year. The plentiful open areas, swampy backwater areas and woodlands provide a perfect spot for all types of training. Whether you are training your animal or just being a spectator, these events can be a great way to spend a day or weekend outdoors.

Equestrian Trail

A 12-mile trail is open from mid-April thru October (weather permitting) from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.


Fishing is popular at Des Plaines SFWA. Several ponds and the river backwaters provide panfish, catfish, and bass fishing. The Kankakee River borders the site on the south with 3 miles of shoreline providing access to boating enthusiasts and excellent walleye and northern pike fishing.


Pheasant hunting is the most popular choice for sportsmen and women at Des Plaines SFWA, and the largest pheasant hunting (by permit only) facility in the state is located at the site. For variety, the site also offers deer, rabbit, dove and coyote hunting. All hunters are required to have permits and check in at the site office. Waterfowl hunting is available at the nearby Will County Waterfowl Management Area, with hunting blinds allocated via drawings.  Check the Hunter Fact Sheets online.

Hand Trap Range

Two hand trap ranges and an archery range are open to the public daily except during pheasant hunting season. Sportsmen and women are welcome to practice and hone their skills.

Range Rules and Regulations

  1. Trap shooting with a shotgun only in designated area.
  2. Lead shot size #6 or steel shot size #4 or smaller.
  3. Clay pigeons thrown from a hand thrower or spring-operated foot trap. No battery-operated throwers.
  4. NO target practice. NO rifles. NO handguns.
  5. Open sunrise to sunset unless otherwise posted. Closed during pheasant season.
  6. Dispose of all litter including spent shells in garbage barrels.
  7. Alcohol prohibited.
 PRACTICE GUN SAFETY AT ALL TIMES! Violators may be fined or banned from the range.

Printable Hand Trap Rules and Regulations

Nature Preserve

Eighty acres of the Des Plaines SFWA are dedicated as a nature preserve which contains many remnants of the Illinois' natural prairie. The preserve is managed to protect and perpetuate this prairie heritage for future generations. Visitors are encouraged to view this area, but are reminded that all plants and animals within the nature preserve are protected and are not to be disturbed in any way.


A restful break from hunting, fishing or hiking can be a special event. Picnickers can choose to lunch along the Kankakee River, with cooling shade trees and picturesque views.

Shooting Sports

In addition to the two hand trap and archery ranges, Des Plaines hosts wingshooting clinics and Hunter Safety Classes annually.  Check the schedules on the IDNR website.