Archery Deer Hunting

Deer grazing

The Basics

The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) leases deer hunting property from private landowners throughout Illinois and makes them available for archery deer hunting for the public via an online application. IRAP serves as the "middleman" and keeps the hunter's and landowner's identity from one another, thus hunters are not to contact the landowner and landowners are not to contact the hunter.

IRAP accepts archery deer hunting applications from July 1 through 5pm August 10, 2022.

Who: Any legally licensed hunter (Illinois resident or non-resident) who has completed their hunter safety course (if born in 1980 or after) and who complies with all Illinois hunting laws. Preference may be given to youth, first-time hunters and those who are currently or have served in the US military.

When: IRAP has three different hunting periods, allowing the participant 15 or 16 days of hunting access on the site. Each IRAP archery deer period will have a different map showing how many sites are available by county. It's important to check each period's county map to see what is available. IRAP archery deer is available during three periods:

  • Period 1: October 1-15
  • Period 2: October 16-31
  • Period 3: December 16-31

Where: IRAP leases land from private landowners in exchange for specific hunting rights and assistance with improving the property with beneficial habitat projects. Currently, there are 286 archery deer sites in 38 counties throughout Illinois available for hunter access.
See County Maps Below.

  • Period 1 Hunting.png
  • Period 2 Hunting.png
  • Period 3 Hunting.png

A few sites are a "doe only" hunting area. When applying for an IRAP hunting site, hunters must be willing to harvest a doe should they be awarded one of these sites. Less than 20% are "doe only" sites.

  • Adult Archery Deer Application
  • Youth Archery Deer Application

How it works

Applicants applying for an IRAP archery deer site must complete an online application along with the liability waiver and non-hunting adult (if applicable) forms. Only successful applicants will be notified and instructed as to where their hunting site is located within the county they apply for, and given a site-specific permit allowing them to hunt on the private property.

Participants MUST fill out a survey within 15 days after the completion of each hunt. Future hunting privileges are dependent on the return of your survey.

IRAP access is provided through cooperation of private landowners
and the IL Dept. of Natural Resources and funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's USDA Voluntary Public Access Habitat Implementation Program

Participating is this program is a special privilege.

Please be respectful, ethical and safe.

Leave the site as you found it. Take ALL garbage with you.

Park vehicle in the designated parking area.