Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area - Waterfowl

2022-2023 Season


INTRODUCTION: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing outdoor recreation opportunities for the residents of the State. Of particular concern, is providing adequate safe hunting areas on public lands throughout the State. This Hunter Fact Sheet contains information relating to the waterfowl hunting program at the Des Plaines Conservation Area. Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site.

DIRECTIONS: 8 miles south of I-80 on I-55 to Wilmington Exit # 241, then West 2 miles.

DESCRIPTION: Total Acres - 5400
Huntable Acres - Only from designated blinds within the Waterfowl Management area on the Des Plaines River. All blinds are boat accessible only.


Section A. General Hunting Regulations

All applicable regulations found in the Wildlife Code of 1971 Federal Regulations and Administrative Order 510 shall apply, unless the site regulations are more restrictive.

Section B. Waterfowl Definitions

  1. Blind site - A position within 10 feet of a numbered stake where a blind must be constructed.

  2. Blind builder - Person that has been assigned a blind as result of the random drawing.

  3. Blind partner - Person(s) chosen by the blind builder to assist in the construction and maintenance of the blind and to share in its hunting privileges and responsibilities.

  4. Drawing- Procedure by which blinds are randomly assigned.

  5. Blind registration card- Card issued by the Department and affixed to each blind listing the names and addresses of the blind builders.

  6. Blind Brushing - Material used to conceal framework of blind. Allowable material: Cattails, phragmites (with seed heads removed), native grasses and commercial blind covering. No trees, tree branches, logs or pine bowes will be allowed. The use of unallowable material will result in forfeiture of blind.

  7. Completed blind - A blind with all the framework and siding constructed and in readiness for use as determined by the DWB.

Section C. Blind Construction and Allocation of Blinds

  1. Blind sites shall be determined by the Department and marked by numbers.

  2. All blinds shall be allocated for a one-year period by a public drawing. The time and place for the drawing will be publicly announced by the Department.

  3. Registrants for the drawing must be at least 16 years old and possess a current or preceding year's Illinois hunting license, and a current or preceding year's Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp. Applicants must be present at the time of registration and drawing to be eligible to receive a blind at the drawing.

  4. Blinds must be placed at or within 10 feet of an IDNR marked site, be at least 4' by 8', sturdy enough to withstand daily usage, and must be maintained in good condition by the blind builders throughout the season. Boat hides are required and must be 18' by 6' and shall be sturdy enough to withstand daily use, and must also be maintained in good condition throughout the season. All blinds must be final brushed with the following allowable materials: Cattails, phragmites (with seed heads removed), native grasses and commercial blind covering. No trees, tree branches, logs or pine bowes will be allowed. The use of unallowable materials will result in forfeiture of blind.

  5. Blinds built over water must be of platform construction with the platform constructed above normal water conditions or they may be floating blinds.

  6. Blinds must be completed, including final brushing, 3 weeks in advance of the opening date of the duck season, after which time the Department of Natural Resources will inspect all blinds and blind sties and issue Blind Registration Cards to those which pass inspection. Blind builders must post the Blind Registration Card in the blind prior to the first day of duck season. If adverse water conditions make compliance with this rule difficult, the District Wildlife Biologist may grant exceptions to the schedule. Failure to comply with guidelines may result in loss of blind rights and use.

  7. Sites on which blinds have not been built, as well as sites on which blinds of an unsatisfactory quality have been built, will be reassigned to alternates selected at the drawing. All reassigned blinds and boats hides must be completed, including final brushing, in advance of the opening date of the waterfowl season.

  8. Previous year's blind builders shall have until Feb. 1 to salvage materials from the blind sites, otherwise blind materials on site become property of the Department or the new blind builders.

  9. No more than 3 persons shall be registered for assignment at any one blind site. Blind builders shall submit partner names on a blind registration form as directed by August 31. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of blind. After August 31 no changes will be accepted.

  10. No person shall be allowed to be a blind builder or partner on more than one Waterfowl Management Area in Illinois.

  11. Blind winners will be provided forms of the purpose of maintaining waterfowl harvest records. The forms must be completed and returned by February 15 or the blind builders and partners for that blind will not be allowed to be a blind builder or partner at this site for the following year.

  12. For the 2022 - 2023 season, blind #5, #8, #14, and #21 will be boat blind only. All blind builders rights, rules and regulations apply. Boat blinds must be within 10 feet of the stake.

Section D. Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

  1. Blind builders or partners must occupy their blinds 1/2 hour before opening shooting time each day in order to claim their blind.

  2. Attempts to claim blinds by any manner other than actual occupation shall be considered in violation of this part, and shall be cause for arrest. The insertion of a boat into the boat hide and/or the spreading of decoys before a blind shall not be considered legal occupation of a blind.

  3. A blind not legally occupied by 1/2 hour before opening shooting hour each day may be claimed by anyone on a first come basis.

  4. No person shall fish within 250 yards of an occupied blind within the hunting area.

  5. No person shall hunt, or attempt to hunt, waterfowl and coots except from within a registered blind.

  6. No person under 16 years of age shall hunt, or attempt to hunt, unless accompanied by an adult.

  7. All hunting parties shall hunt with at least 12 decoys. Decoys shall be staked, placed, or floating, be individually visible, be at least 8 inches long, and not be within a boat, blind or container.

  8. No person shall trespass, for any purpose, on areas posted as Refuge or Waterfowl Rest Areas.

  9. Not more than 4 persons shall occupy a blind at one time.

  10. Blinds shall not be locked.

  11. Claiming or attempting to claim a blind which is legally occupied, and/or to harass, in any manner, the occupants of a blind which has been legally occupied is unlawful.

  12. Blinds must include a dog hide that is on the same level as the blind. The dog hide can either be incorporated into the blind by providing a hole at floor level that measures at least 20 inches high by 20 inches wide or by providing a separate compartment that is attached to the blind. Hides attached to the blind should have a minimum floor space that measures 2 feet by 2 feet and should be at least 2.5 feet high with two openings. One opening should be between the blind and the dog hide, should measure at least 20 inches by 20 inches, and should be constructed at the same level at the blind floor. The water access opening should be at least 20 inches wide and 20 inches high. Hides either within the blind or attached should have an enforced ramp to water level that is at least 15 inches wide with cleats every 12 inches. Openings in the blind must be capable of being closed when not in use.

  13. Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the duck season opener - follow statewide regulations.

Section E. Special Seasons

  1. Hunting of teal and Canada geese during the September season is restricted to blind sites. Blinds need not be completed. Rules pertaining to legal blind occupation during the regular waterfowl season shall apply.
  2. Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the North Zone duck opener - follow statewide regulations.

For additional information please contact: Des Plaines State Fish & Wildlife Area, 28163 N. RIVER ROAD, WILMINGTON, IL 60481 PH: 815-423-5326

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.