2020 Deer Season Updates:
In order to adhere to the phase 4 guidelines set forth by the Illinois Department of Public Health the following changes have been made to our lottery for the 2020 season.
*Only permit holders may attend the lottery. No other individuals may attend unless approved by the site staff prior to the meeting.*
The First Season permit holders will meet at 11:30 am. The Second Season permit holders will meet at 1:00 pm.
Please do not attend the meeting if you are not feeling well. All attendants must wear a mask. If you cannot make the meeting please contact the Park Office by Nov. 6th.
Standby opportunities for the Saturday and Sunday of the second season will only be made available if a hunter station becomes vacant prior to the hunt. Please contact the Park Office prior to November 7th if you are interested in standby opportunities. Standby Hunters should not show up to the lottery meetings or check station unless contacted by site staff.
INTRODUCTION: The Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing quality outdoor recreation opportunities for the residents of the state. Of particular concern is providing safe hunting areas on public grounds throughout the State.
LOCATION: Located in the northeast corner of Illinois, the park is 3 miles south of McHenry.
Firearm Deer Hunting Regulations:
- Dates: First and Second Statewide Firearm Deer Seasons.
- Permits: Permits are allocated during the statewide firearm permit lottery. Permits issued will be Either Sex permits. Permits will be valid for the first or second season only. All hunters must check out daily and report harvest at the check station. Back patches must be worn by hunters while in the field.
- Meeting: A mandatory meeting and lottery for specific hunting stations will be conducted at the site on first Saturday of November at 1:00 PM. Standby opportunities are available the Saturday and Sunday of the second season only, participants must also attend the lottery.
- New this year: Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been found in the park. Hunters will need to provide samples to the District Wildlife Biologist. Getting your deer sampled is at no charge to the hunter and is very easy. There are local vendors that take samples and there will be head drop off barrels at Moraine Hills State Park, Volo Bog State Natural Area, and Chain O Lakes State Park. You can find other locations to have your deer sampled online. For more information on CWD you can contact the District Wildlife Biologist (815-675-2386 ext 215) or visit our website.
- Hunting Stations: Hunters are required to hunt from elevated stands (6 feet minimum above ground) and within a 65 yard radius of the hunter station marker. Tree stands and climbing devices must be portable, may not cut or pierce the tree bark, but do not have to be removed at the end of each day. Pruning branches up to 11/2 " is allowed on the stand tree only.
- Scouting: Preseason scouting is allowed in the Nature Preserve after October 1st.
- Parking: You must park in designated parking lots only. No parking is allowed along roadways.
- Firearms: Shotgun with slugs, muzzle loading rifles, or handguns identified by regulation as being legal for statewide use during the firearm deer season. Firearms must be unloaded and fully enclosed in a case, except while the hunter is in an elevated stand or as otherwise authorized by an employee of the IDNR. This requires your firearm to be cased whenever you are on the ground.
- Tracking: If it is necessary to track a deer onto private property, you must first notify the site office and obtain permission from the landowner. All property around the park is privately owned, please respect the rights of others.
- Unlawful: Plastic markers and flagging tape is prohibited. (Spectators are not allowed on the area).
For more information please contact: Site Superintendent, 1510 S. River Rd., McHenry, IL 60051, (815)385-1624