Getting Started

FAQ Index


Hunting Opportunities in Illinois

Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that maintains the health and abundance of game species and the balance of our natural resources. Hunters play an important role in managing wildlife and it is their tax dollars paid through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and hunting licenses and fees that pay for the majority of wildlife management by the IDNR. Please visit the Wildlife Management Site for more information.

Your best resource for hunting and trapping information is the most recent Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Who can hunt in Illinois?

Where can I hunt in Illinois?

What can I hunt in Illinois?

  • Deer Hunting
  • Turkey Hunting
  • Waterfowl Hunting
  • Upland Game Hunting
  • Dove Hunting
  • Furbearers
  • Trapping

When can I hunt in Illinois?

Most species have specific hunting and trapping seasons throughout the year. The Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations lists the different hunting and trapping seasons. Many hunters need to plan vacations and hunting trips in advance of the annual distribution of the Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations. For such planning purposes, here are the general rules of thumb used for setting annual season date.

What permits or licenses do I need to hunt in Illinois?

What are legal hunting devices, ammunition restrictions and other Laws?

What am I required to wear?

  • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat and an upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of solid blaze orange or blaze pink material must be worn:

    • To hunt deer during all firearm deer seasons.
    • To track wounded deer with a dog during all firearm deer seasons.
    • By individuals accompanying youth during youth firearm deer hunts.
  • Camouflage blaze orange or camouflage blaze pink material does not meet the requirements. You cannot legally use or occupy a ground blind during any firearm deer season on IDNR-owned or -managed land unless at least 400 square inches of solid, vivid blaze orange or blaze pink material is securely attached to the uppermost portion of the blind and a substantial amount of orange or pink is visible for 360 degrees.

  • Archery Turkey Hunting during a Firearm Season - when and where it is legal to archery turkey hunt during any gun deer season, archery turkey hunters must comply with the same blaze orange or pink requirements as gun deer hunters.

Trapping Opportunities in Illinois

Trapping plays an important role in the ecology and conservation of Illinois' furbearers - mammals that are hunted and trapped primarily for fur.

If you are starting out in trapping, it is recommended that you take the Illinois Trapper Education Course or complete the online course at

Who Must Take the Trapper Education Course?

Where can I trap in Illinois?

  • Some properties owned or managed by IDNR offer trapping opportunities.

  • Trapping can occur on private property if a landowner or tenant grants permission to do so. It is best to keep a signed Land Access Permission Card with you while trapping on private land. Permission must also be obtained from anyone living within 100 yards of where traps are set. This requirement often limits opportunities to trap in residential areas. Trapping along roads or other public right-of-ways is prohibited.

What can I trap in Illinois?

  • Badger, beaver, bobcat, coyote, gray fox, mink, muskrat, opossum, raccoon, red fox, river otter, striped skunk, weasels, and woodchuck.

When can I trap in Illinois?

What do I need to trap in Illinois?

  • In most cases, a trapping license and habitat stamp are required to trap in Illinois. See the Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for exceptions.

  • Consolidation of the majority of IDNR commercial licenses/permits have been changed to one end date (March 31). Due to the change, IDNR will be selling Illinois hunting/trapping/fishing licenses beginning on March 1, instead of selling them beginning in mid-January. The licenses will be valid through March 31, of each year.