Ward's Grove Nature Preserve

2022-2023 Season


Location: Jo Daviess County, about 1.5 miles southeast of Stockton on S. Willow Road.

Description: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is implementing a deer population management program at Ward's Grove Nature Preserve to maintain and restore the natural quality of the woodlands and to protect populations of sensitive plant and animal species. Huntable Acres: approximately 335. The site is composed of upland forest with wooded ridges and ravines. The terrain is rugged which can make walking difficult.

Hunting: There is a private residence near the southern boundary of the nature preserve. Because of the proximity of this residence to our boundary, hunting is not allowed within 100 yards of the residence. Signs have been posted defining this restriction and are shown on the site map. Otherwise, hunting is allowed within the IDNR boundaries in Ward's Grove Nature Preserve. This site is owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Management activities on this site may occur throughout the year, including the hunting seasons.​

Species Seasons Hunting Hrs Bag Limits Special Regulations
Deer (Archery) Statewide Statewide Statewide No Hunter Quota. See #5 and 8 below.
Deer (Youth) Statewide Statewide Statewide Quota of 8 hunters. See #4, 5, and 7 below
Deer (Firearm) First or Second Season Statewide Statewide Quota of 8 hunters per season. See # 4, 5, 6, and 8
Deer (CWD) Statewide Statewide Statewide Quota of 8 hunters per season. See# 4, 5, 6, and 8
Deer (Muzzeloader) 2nd Portion of Muzzleloader Season Statewide Statewide Quota of 8 hunters per season. Muzzleloader Permit Only. Invalid during 2nd portion of firearm deer season. See # 4, 5, 6, and 8 below.

Area Regulations

  1. All Statewide Regulations apply.
  2. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or to consume beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors while hunting on the area.
  3. No ground fires or camping allowed.
  4. Area closed to non-hunters during deer firearm seasons (Youth, Firearm, CWD, and Muzzleloader) and until 1:00pm during turkey firearm seasons (Youth and Spring). Exception: supervising adult during youth season.
  5. Hunters must obtain a Windshield Card online at the IDNR website, dnr2.illinois.gov/Windshieldcard. This permit must be displayed and visible under the vehicle windshield and the pocket portion in possession while hunting at the site. Hunters must report their annual harvest online by February 15th (even is the hunter did not hunt) or they forfeit hunting privileges at the site for the following year.
  6. All firearm deer hunters must obtain a Special Hunt Area permit. Special Hunt Area permits are not valid anywhere else in the county. County permits are not valid for the Special Hunt Area.
  7. For Youth Deer seasons, only Jo Daviess Co. permit holders that contact the site office will be issued a youth season Windshield Card until quotas are reached.
  8. Antlerless deer only. Exception: Youth Deer Season.
  9. It shall be unlawful to construct or to use any tree stand that utilizes nails, screws, wire or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on which it is installed. Any tree stand must be portable and removed from the tree at the end of each day.

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

For further information contact: Apple River Canyon State Park, Apple River, IL 61001; Telephone: (815)745-3302.
For Tourism Information contact: Galena Country Welcome Center, 123 N. Commerce St., Galena, IL 61036 (815)776-9200, galena@visitgalena.org

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.