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Hunting Opportunities in
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
Who can hunt in
Where can I hunt in
What can I hunt in Illinois?
When can I hunt
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?
- Many of our licenses and
permits can be purchased online. This
is the preferred method. Paper application should be used as a last
- Find your nearest
vendor that sells over-the-counter licenses and permits.
- 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.
- List of all licenses, permits
- List of
licenses and permits by category
- In general, anyone wishing to
hunt in Illinois is required to purchase a hunting license. There are some exceptions to this requirement.
- Anyone born after January 1,
1980, will need to complete a Hunter
Safety Education Course before obtaining a hunting
license. Proof of completion must be available while hunting.
- In most cases, an electronic
state habitat stamp is also required (license ID #970).
- Waterfowl hunters will also
need both the electronic state waterfowl stamp (license
ID #600) and the federal
waterfowl stamp (license ID #900) (federal waterfowl
stamps may be purchased at US Post Offices or selected DNR offices).
- If you are hunting migratory
game birds i.e.: doves, ducks, geese, snipe, woodcock, coots or rails you
will need to register for the HIP (Harvest Information Program).
- In addition to the license and
stamps, species-specific permits might also
- Hunters wishing to use firearms
need to obtain a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID)
from the Illinois State Police.
or damaged permits can be replaced or corrected
What are legal hunting devices, ammunition restrictions and other
What am I required to wear?
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:
hunt deer during all firearm deer seasons.
track wounded deer with a dog during all firearm deer seasons.
individuals accompanying youth during youth firearm deer hunts.
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.
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 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 TrapperEd.com.
Who Must Take the Trapper Education Course?
Where can I trap in Illinois?
properties owned or managed by IDNR offer trapping opportunities.
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
What can I trap in Illinois?
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?
most cases, a trapping
license and habitat stamp are required to trap in
Illinois. See the Digest of
Hunting and Trapping Regulations for exceptions.
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