Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area (Waterfowl)

2022-2023 Season


INTRODUCTION: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing outdoor recreation opportunity for the residents of the State. Of particular concern is providing safe hunting areas on public lands throughout the State. This Hunter Fact Sheet contains information relating to the waterfowl hunting program at the Braidwood State Fish and Wildlife Area. Braidwood is characterized by extreme topography, characteristic of strip mining operations. Numerous underwater hazards are found throughout the site. Fog and wind can also be limiting factors on this body of water. Several bodies of water are found on this site, dominated by the main cooling lake. Access is limited to waterfowl hunting only during the fall and winter from designated locations only. Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site.

DIRECTIONS: 3 Miles south of Braidwood just off Rt. 53, and within easy access of I-55 via Reed Road or through Gardner.

A shell limit of 5 shells per goose allowed in the daily bag for the central Canada goose only season has been instituted.  If the limit is 2 you may only bring 10 shells on to the site and so on.   This does not include the regular duck season.


  1. All regulations found in the Illinois Wildlife Code of 1971, Administrative Order 510, and Federal Regulations apply, unless area regulations are more restrictive.
  2. It shall be unlawful:
    a. For any person to possess or consume any alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine, prior to or while on any site for the purpose of hunting;
    b. To hunt on any site with a manned check station without first declaring game killed on a previous hunt and in possession either on the hunter's person or in his vehicle;
    c. To hunt in restrictively posted areas or within100 yards of construction sites, residences, and developed recreation areas;
    d. For unauthorized persons (non-hunters) to use or occupy in any manner designated hunting areas during the hunting season, when authorized hunting is in progress;
    e. To hunt outside designated areas at the site (see attached map);
    f. To use any weapon other than a shotgun;
    g. To hunt in standing crops;
    h. To leave the site before checking out. Check out is required within 60 minutes of completion of a hunt;
    I. To hunt any species of wildlife except waterfowl.
  3. No hunting is allowed on Mondays and Tuesdays, Christmas and New Year's Day.
  4. Blind sites will be allocated by a daily drawing. The daily drawing will be held 1 hour before legal shooting time.
  5. No movement between blinds will be allowed.
  6. Hunters shall register as a party of one to three hunters for the drawing. When a party is drawn, only those names registered in that party will be allowed to hunt from the blind. If any person in the party is under 16 years of age, they must be accompanied by an adult before hunting due to safety factors.
  7. To participate in the daily drawing, hunters must possess and deposit a valid Hunting License, with Waterfowl Stamps. Upon checking out, these items will be returned.
  8. Daily shooting hours will be statewide opening to 1:00 p.m..
  9. Each hunting party is required to hunt over a minimum of 6 decoys. Hunting over decoys means the decoys shall be staked, placed or floating, be individually visible, be at least 8 inches long, and not within a boat, blind or container.
  10. Cutting of natural vegetation for any purpose will be unlawful.
  11. This area is closed to fishing, from 10 days prior the regular central waterfowl opener to and through the end of the central waterfowl season. The area will not be open to waterfowl hunting during the September goose or teal seasons or past the central Canada goose season. The site is open for the youth waterfowl season.
  12. In the event of adverse water and/or weather conditions, such as flooding, high winds, or heavy fog, national or local security; hunting will be prohibited.


  1. To hunt waterfowl in this area, all watercraft has to be at least 16 feet long and 60 inches in beam and have a gasoline powered motor.
  2. All hunting must be from an anchored portable boat blind, within 10 yards of the assigned numbered blind location. Portable boat blinds must have been completed, including final brushing, before entering the area, and removed at the end of each hunting day.
  3. All water areas not posted with blind site numbers shall be refuge and are closed to all boat traffic.
  4. Access to water blind sites will be by boat only and from designated boat launch sites.
  5. The dike is a road, and it is not permitted to shoot on or over a road.
  6. No guns may be carried from water blinds to retrieve waterfowl that fall on land.
  7. Federally approved Non-Toxic Shot Only, for use in waterfowl hunting.
  8. Boat blinds must not be tied off to blind stakes.
  9. Statewide bag limits and dates for the Central Waterfowl Hunting Zones apply.
  10. Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the duck season opener - follow statewide regulations. There is no early teal or Conservation Order snow goose hunting.
  11. All harvested waterfowl must be presented in person to the check station upon check out.


Equal opportunity to participate in programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies is available to all individuals regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the funding source’s civil rights office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, IDNR, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702; (217)785-0067; TTY (217)782-9175.