Hennepin Canal State Trail

2022-2023 Season

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Location: The Hennepin Canal State Trail Main Complex is located in Bureau County, 4 miles northeast of Sheffield and 1 mile south of I-80, and just west of Route 40.

Description: Spread over a length of about 100 miles, the Hennepin Canal, along with the Feeder Canal, provides 5,348 acres of recreational opportunity. The deer hunting is available at the Main Complex area where the Visitor Center is located. The Main Complex is 400 acres in size, 32 of which are managed for dove hunting. As time and budget allow, this area is targeted for restoration activities and enhancement of wildlife habitat.​ All regulations found in the Illinois Wildlife Code, Federal Regulations, and Administrative Rules will apply unless area regulations are more restrictive.

Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site.

Species Season Hours Bag Limit Special Rules/Permits
Archery Deer Statewide Statewide Statewide – See Archery Deer Site Regulations below Mail in Permit/Free Windshield card
Fall Turkey Only During Archery Deer Statewide Statewide Free Windshield card
Coyote, Raccoon Only During Archery Deer Statewide Statewide Free Windshield card
Dove Sept 1-5 Noon – 5:00 PM Statewide Sign In & Sign Out Box; Non-Toxic Shot Only
Dove Sept 6-30 Sunrise – Sunset Statewide Sign In & Sign Out Box; Non-Toxic Shot Only
Trapping Statewide Statewide Statewide Register at Office

Special Area Regulations:

  1. Hunting is allowed in designated areas only.

  2. All hunters EXCEPT DOVE HUNTERS must obtain and display a windshield card when hunting at the site. These are available online at dnr2.illinois.gov/windshieldcard/. Hunters will be required to return to this website prior to February 15th each year to record harvest information. Failure to submit data/card will result in loss of hunting privileges for the following year. Reporting is required even if you do not hunt. If you need assistance in obtaining the card, report to or contact the Hennepin Canal Office at 815-454-2328.

  3. Doves, turkeys, coyotes, and raccoons may not be cleaned on the site.

  4. Further restrictions may exist. See posted regulations before hunting.

Site Regulations:

Archery Deer:

  1. Hunting periods will be filled through a mail-in permit drawing. Applications are available at the Hennepin Canal office, or use the application link listed above. Applications are limited to Illinois residents only and must be received at the Canal office by 4pm, July 31st to be eligible for the drawing. Successful applicants drawn will be notified by mail before September 1st and will be assigned one of the seasons. Any unissued permits will be filled by the drawing alternate list.

  2. Hunters may hunt from an elevated stand. Only one stand per hunter allowed. Stands and climbing devices must be portable, but do not have to be removed at the end of the day. Stands and ground blinds left in the field must be tagged with the hunter's name and address. All stands must be removed on the last day of each "season", but no later than 15 days after the end of the state archery season. Ground blinds for qualified handicapped hunters are available from the site office.

  3. Preseason scouting before October 1st only.

  4. An antlerless deer must be harvested before any antlered deer is taken.

  5. If it is necessary to track game onto private property, it is the hunter's responsibility to notify the site office and to secure permission from the landowner. All property around the park is in private ownership.

  6. Plastic markers, flagging tape, and reflective tree markers are prohibited.

  7. Hunters must sign in/sign out at the registration box in the Zone B parking area. This is for your safety and regulation. Deer harvested must be reported at sign in/sign out area. This does not mean you have completed your harvest report. You still must report your harvest on-line by February 15 following the close of the season.

  8. Field dressing is permitted at least 50' from any road, trail, or developed area. Any debris or body parts generated by field dressing must remain at least 50' from any road, trail, or developed area. We request that you not drag your game on trails being used by non-hunters.

Fall Turkey:

  1. Fall turkey is open only to permit holders when the site archery deer season is open and is archery only.

  2. Turkey may be harvested (by archery) if you have the appropriate license, stamp and permits in your possession when hunting during your allocated time period.

Coyote, Raccoon

  1. Coyote and raccoon hunting are open only to permit holders when the site archery deer season is open and are archery only.

Dove Hunters

  1. The number of hunters allowed in the field at any one time is restricted to announced hunter quotas.

  2. Hunters shall check in at the area check station.

  3. Daily quotas will be filled by a daily drawing to be held at 11:00 AM.

  4. Hunters will be issued a back patch at the check station which must be displayed at all times while on the area.

  5. Hunting is allowed only from the perimeter of the field within 10 feet of a numbered stake.

  6. Hunters must sign in & out and report harvest at registration box.

  7. Hunting allowed with shotgun only.

  8. Only non-toxic shot (as defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 50 CFR 20), #6 steel shot or #7 bismuth shot or smaller, may be possessed.

  9. Further restrictions may exist. See posted regulations before hunting.


  1. Trappers must register at Hennepin Canal State Trail office.

  2. No floats may be set more than 14 days prior to season and must be removed at the conclusion of the season.

  3. No land sets.

It Shall Be Unlawful:

  • For any person to consume any alcoholic beverage or illegal drugs or to be under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs while on the area for the purpose of hunting.

  • To park other than in designed parking areas. No parking on the roadways.

  • To construct or use any stand or accessory using nails, screws, or any device which pierces, cuts, or otherwise damages the bark of the tree on which it is installed or to trim limbs and / or cut woody vegetation to enhance the stand location.

  • To be in the hunting area during the season if you are not hunting.

  • To be in the dove hunting area during the first 5 days of the season if you are not hunting.

  • To possess an unlocked bow outside of the hunting area.

  • To light or use an open fire within the hunting area.

  • To hunt at the area if the site superintendent or his authorized representative determine and announce that conditions are unsafe and have posted the area accordingly.

Other Facilities / Activities Available:

Hiking, fishing, picnicking, snowmobiling, equestrian trail, bird watching, bicycling, boating, canoeing, cross country skiing, ice skating.

Contact Phone Number: (815) 454-2328. ​​

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.