Zoeller State Natural Area

2022-2023 Season

Map    Deer Archery Application                         

Introduction: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is responsible for providing outdoor recreational opportunities for the residents of this State. This area is managed by the Department and the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission as a natural area for the protection of the Stemler Cave system. The area is unique to the State and is proposed to be registered as a Land and Water Reserve through the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission. Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site. 

Location: The Nature Preserve is located east of Columbia off Columbia Quarry Road. The entrance is located approximately 1.5 miles north of the intersection of Columbia Quarry Road and State Route 158.

Description: Total acres: 160; Huntable acres: 160
General Habitats: Cropland acres: 62; Grassland/Openland acres: 60; Woodland acres: 38




Special Rules/Permits


Statewide – Archery


Site permit required *


Statewide - Fall Archery


Only available to deer hunters with valid permits


Statewide - Spring


Special permit only

*Site is open during firearm deer season – Bow hunters must comply with blaze orange outer garment and cap requirement.

Deer/Fall Turkey Archery

  1. A drawing will be held to determine the eligible hunters for the 16 weeks that are available. Persons interested in participating in the drawing should contact Frank Holten State Park to request an application or download a copy from the DNR website. Only 1 hunt will be awarded per hunter.
  2. Only archery deer hunters holding a valid permit may hunt archery turkey during the period that they are drawn.
  3. Permits are not transferable. Applications will be accepted through August 31. The drawing will be held the first business Monday in September at 10am. Only successful applicants will be notified by email once the drawing is complete.
  4. Successful applicants will be instructed to download a windshield card by going to the DNR website (dnr2.illinois.gov/Windshieldcard). Hunters will be required to return to this website prior to February 15 to record harvest information. Failure to submit data will result in the loss of hunting privileges for the following year.
  5. Parking is permitted only in the designated parking lot on the site.
  6. Construction or use of any tree stand using nails, screws, wire or any device that pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on which it is installed is unlawful.
  7. Tree stands may be left unattended from September 15 – January 31. Stands must be legibly marked with the owners name, address and phone number.
  8. Hunters are required to wear a blaze orange vest and hat during the firearm seasons (shotgun, muzzleloader and late winter). There is no firearm deer hunting allowed on Zoeller State Natural Area.
  9. Scouting may only be conducted prior to the beginning of season or during the period of your drawn hunt.
  10. Permits should be mailed to Horseshoe Lake State Park: 3321 Highway 111, Granite City, Il 62040

Spring Turkey

  1. Hunters must apply to Springfield Permit Office for permits. Permits are not transferable.
  2. Two permits will be allocated per season.

For more information contact: Horseshoe Lake State Park: (618) 931-0270

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.