Mississippi River Pools 17 & 18

2022 - 2023 Season

Pool 17 MAP              Pool 18 MAP               

Location: On the Illinois side of the Mississippi River from the city of Rock Island to just south of Oquawka, in Rock Island, Mercer, and Henderson Counties.

Description: The area is comprised of the navigation pools of the Mississippi River by Dam #17 and Dam #18. Within these pools are timbered islands with sheltered shallow bays, channels, and potholes which provide hunting for puddle ducks. Diving ducks frequent the deeper waters and main channel.

Bottomland forests exist, which provide deer, turkey, furbearer, and squirrel hunting. However, the majority of this habitat is located on islands and shoreline with extremely limited land access. Most access is by boat only.

Although pheasant and quail hunting is allowed, habitat suitable for these species is virtually nonexistent. Pheasant and quail hunting on this area is considered very poor.

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

Available Game Species:



Bag Limits

Special Regulations

Youth Waterfowl


Hunt held on weekend preceding duck season opener.


Boston Bay hours; legal opening to 1 pm

Registered blinds, scull boat hunting permitted, but not within 200 yards from a permanent duck blind or in areas posted as closed to scull hunting, or day blind hunting.

Squirrel, Rabbit, Dove, Crow, Woodcock, Furbearers


No hunting within 100 yards of occupied duck blinds

​Deer (firearm, muzzleloader, archery, youth)


​No hunting within 100 yards of occupied duck blinds

Pheasant, Quail (both very limited)


No hunting within 100 yards of occupied blinds. Hunting is very limited.

Wild Turkey (spring, fall gun, fall archery)


No hunting within 100 yards of occupied duck binds. No youth spring turkey. County boundaries don't correspond with upstream and downstream boundaries of the pool.




Other Facilities: Fishing, boating. (NOTE: No fishing within 250 yards of occupied duck blinds during the waterfowl season).

Area Regulations - General:

  • All hunting is to be with shotgun or bow and arrow only except .22 caliber rimfire rifles may be used for squirrels, raccoon, opossum, coyote, fox, skunk, and groundhog and .25 caliber air rifles may be used for squirrels.
  • It shall be unlawful for any person to construct or use any tree stand using nails, screws, or wire or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree. Any tree stand used must be portable and must be removed from the tree when the hunter is not present. Tree stands and ground blinds may be left unattended from Sept 15 – Jan 31 only if legibly marked with owner’s name, address, and telephone number. Only one tree stand or ground blind allowed per deer permit holder. 
  • It shall be unlawful to possess or consume alcoholic beverage, to include beer and wine, while hunting on the area.
  • Hunters engaged in rabbit, pheasant, quail and Hungarian partridge hunting must wear a cap and upper outer garment of blaze orange of at least 400 square inches. 
  • All falconers are required to wear a cap and outer garment of solid and vivid blaze orange only during the upland game season. 
  • The majority of these areas are accessible by boat only.


  • Blind Site: A position within ten (10) feet of a numbered stake where a blind may be constructed.
  • Blind Builder: A person who has been assigned a blind site in accordance with the following procedures and who builds and maintains the blind and blind site.
  • Blind Partner: Person(s) chosen by the builder to assist in the construction and maintenance of the blind and to share its hunting privileges.
  • Blind registration Card: A card issued (after inspection) by the Department and tacked inside each blind, listing names and addresses of the blind builder and blind partner(s).
  • Completed Blind: A blind with all framework and siding constructed and in readiness for use, including final brushing.
  • Hunting Party: An individual or group of hunters occupying a single boat, blind or hunting site.




  • Pool 17 Area: Located in the Mississippi River immediately above Lock and Dam 17, up the stream to Lock and Dam 16.
  • Pool 18 Area: Located in the Mississippi River immediately above Lock and Dam 18, up the stream to the city of New Boston.
  • Boston Bay Area: Located above the city of New Boston.
  • Oquawka Refuge: Located east of Lock and Dam 18. Entry is not allowed from October 1 to December
  • Vehicle traffic is prohibited year-round.




  • All blind sites will be determined by the Department of Natural Resources and marked by numbered stake, after which, it is the builder's responsibility to see that the blind site has a visible number. Blind sites will be allocated for a 2 year period.
  • The time and place for the public drawing, for the allocation of blind sites, will be publicly announced by the Department of Natural Resources.
  • Registrants for a drawing must be at least 16 years of age by the date of the drawing and possess a current or preceding year's Illinois hunting license or sportsman's license, a current or preceding year's Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp  unless exempted by law, and a valid photo ID. Persons exempted by law from possessing a hunting license or waterfowl stamp must have a valid  photo identification (example: Firearm Owners Identification Card, driver's license). In order to be an eligible applicant for the drawing, the participant must not at the time of the drawing have his/her hunting privileges suspended or revoked by the Department or any other jurisdiction.  Applicants must be present for the registration and drawing to be eligible for allocation of a duck blind site.  Out-of-state residents must have a current or preceding year's non-resident hunting license for Illinois and a current or preceding year's Illinois Waterfowl Stamp. 
  • The first name drawn will have first choice of available sites, second name second choice, etc. until all sites are allocated.
  • Any blind sites that are not taken at the public blind drawing will be given away on a first come, first serve basis by calling the District office the Monday after the blind drawing, at (309) 879-2169, from 8 am to 12 pm.
  • Blinds not completed by 3 weeks before opening day will be allocated to alternates. Alternates will be selected on a first-come, first-served basis by calling the District office 12 days before opening day of duck season, or the next business day if a holiday from 8 am – 12 pm. Phone: (309) 879-2169.
  • Blind builders will have 7 days after the current year's drawing date to salvage materials from the blind sites. After that date, blind materials on the site become the property of the new builder(s).
  • Not more than 3 persons will be registered for one blind.
  • A person may not register as a blind builder, or as a partner, for more than one blind site on all waterfowl management areas managed by the Department of Natural Resources. 


  • Blinds must be constructed within 10 feet of the numbered stakes, must have a minimum outside measurement of 4' X 8', and must be maintained in good condition by the blind builders throughout the season. A boat hide large enough to accommodate and hide an 18' boat must be provided. The boat hide must have a minimum width of 7.5 feet.
  • Blinds built over water must be of platform construction or they may be floating blinds.
  • Blinds must be constructed only on those sites designated as blind sites by Department personnel.
  • Blinds must be completed, including final brushing, 3 weeks before opening day. Blind inspections will occur at this time. The primary blind builder will receive either a blind card or a rejection letter depending on pass/fail determination.  
  • Failure to construct a satisfactory blind will result in loss of the blind site.
  • Blinds must include a dog hide at floor level measuring 20"X 20" or by providing a separate compartment which is 2' X 2' X 2.5' high with two openings 20"X 20". One opening to the blind and one to the water. Hides should have an enforced ramp 15" wide with cleats every 12". Openings must be closed when not in use.


  • Blind builders must occupy their blind site one-half hour before the opening shooting hour each day to claim the blind site for that day. After this time, unoccupied blind sites will be available to anyone.
  • All waterfowl hunting must be done from within the blind.
  • Statewide shooting hours will prevail.


  • No person will buy, sell or commercialize hunting rights either directly or indirectly.
  • No person will hunt, or attempt to hunt, waterfowl except from within a legal blind, except that scull boat hunting is allowed on Pools 17 & 18. Scull boats may not approach closer than 200 yards to a completed blind and areas posted as closed to scull boat hunting.
  • No person under 16 years of age will hunt, or attempt to hunt, on these areas unless accompanied by an adult.
  • No person will perform any weed or brush control around any blind without receiving prior approval from an authorized Department representative.
  • No hunting party will remain in a blind after having taken its daily bag limit of ducks, or more than 15 minutes after close of shooting hours on the area.
  • No person will lock a blind.
  • All hunting parties will hunt over a spread of at least 12 decoys. The decoys will be staked, placed, or floating and be individually visible, at least 8 inches long, and not be within a boat, blind or container.
  • No person will claim, or attempt to claim, a blind which is legally occupied and/or no person will harass, in any manner, the occupants of a blind which has been legally occupied.


  • Regulations shall be the same as the statewide teal, or early/late goose seasons.
  • Hunting will not be restricted to blind sites during the teal, or early/late goose seasons.



  • Hunters may select their own site and construct a temporary blind, except that no blind may be constructed within 200 yards of another blind. In the event that 2 or more blinds are found to be closer than 200 yards, all such blinds will be declared illegal and none may be used until all have met minimum spacing requirements. All blinds must be of a portable nature or constructed with natural vegetation located at a blind site and must be removed or dismantled at the end of the day's hunt.


For more information, contact the District Wildlife Biologist, 1936 State Rt. 167, Victoria, IL 61485

Phone (309) 879 - 2169, fax (309) 879-2704

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.