Location: 5 miles southwest of Newton, in Jasper County
Description: Prairie Ridge is a unique site in Illinois, dedicated to conserving the rarest members of Illinois' native tall-grass prairie and marsh communities. It offers one of the most spectacular viewing opportunities for grassland wildlife in Illinois. The number of endangered species is very high and great care is taken to ensure the continued protection and presence of these species. Prairie Ridge has the distinction of having the state's largest breeding population of northern harriers, short-eared owls as well as the only population of greater prairie chickens - all of which are state endangered species. The National Audubon Society has recognized Prairie Ridge as an "Important Bird Area" for its large populations of nesting grassland birds and spring migrating shorebirds.
Total Acres: 2694; Huntable: 2614 (see map)
Legal Game Species: Deer (Firearm & Muzzleloader Only)
Area Regulations: A site-specific permit is required for this site. Statewide rules and regulations apply at this site, unless otherwise specified. Selected tracts at this site are open for the Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader Deer Season only. Check map. No other tracts may be hunted. No other game species may be taken.
- Windshield cards are required for this site. These are available online at dnr2.illinois.gov/Windshieldcard. Navigate to hunting/trapping, and then "public hunting areas" to print these permits. Hunters will be required to return to this website prior to February 15th of each year to record harvest information. Failure to submit data will result in loss of hunting privileges for the following year. Permit must be displayed in vehicle window. Vehicles must remain on designated roads and parking areas. No off-road vehicle use allowed.
- Hunters are required to wear a cap and upper outer garment of solid blaze orange of at least 400 square inches.
- Permanent tree stands are prohibited. Portable tree stands are allowed and may be left unattended overnight during the period September 15 through January 31. Only one stand is allowed per hunter. Each stand must be legibly marked with the owner's name, address, and telephone number when left unattended. No nails, screws, or other devices are allowed to pierce trees. Ground blinds, if used during Youth or Muzzleloader Deer Seasons, must display at least 400 square inches of blaze orange, visible from all directions.
- It is unlawful to drive deer, or participate in a deer drive on all Department of Natural Resources owned or managed properties during all deer seasons.
- It is unlawful to use dogs to track wounded deer at Prairie Ridge.
- It is unlawful to hunt within 100 yards of an inhabited dwelling.
- Muzzleloader deer season is closed during the second firearm deer season.
- Youth Deer Hunters must have a valid Youth Firearm Permit. Permits can be purchased "Over The Counter" at a vender with Point of Sale capability.
- Youth deer hunters are encouraged to contact the Site Manager for information regarding the area and hunt program.
For further information, contact Site Manager, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, 4295 N. 1000th St., Newton, IL 62448, 618/783-2685; or District Wildlife Biologist, 1660 W. Polk, Charleston, IL 61920, 217/345-2420.