Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area

2022-2023 Season


Location: 7 miles west of Jonesboro off Route 146 in Union County

Description: This area is located in the Lower Mississippi River Bottomlands Division of Illinois. The topography is relatively flat, with numerous shallow sloughs and other water areas scattered throughout the area. More prominent water areas include Grassy Lake with 350 acres and Lyerla Lake with 275 acres.

This area is managed primarily for Canada geese and other waterfowl. Approximately 30,000 geese winter here each year. Many other species of waterfowl stop here during the spring and fall migrations. White-tailed deer, bald eagles and many other forms of wildlife are commonly observed by visitors to the area. The Firing Line Unit is open for the hunting of ducks, geese, squirrel, turkey and deer. The Controlled Hunting Area is located at the south end of the Area. Waterfowl hunting is on a permit basis, with $10 permits being issued from the Springfield office upon application by interested hunters. A total of 35 blinds can accommodate 70 hunters per day. This area also has deer, squirrel and dove hunting during specific time periods prior to the duck season. Check at the Area Headquarters or with the local Conservation Police Officer for seasons, bag limits, etc. Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site.

  • Total acres: 6,202
  • Timber Acres: 1,900
  • Water Acres: 1,300
  • Huntable Acres: 2,800
  • Open, Cultivated or Fallow Land Acres: 2,950

Site Specific Regulations:

  1. All hunters must SIGN IN and OUT and report harvest each day at the registration boxes before leaving the site.

  2. Night hunting in this area is prohibited.

  3. Dove hunting is allowed (​Non-toxic #6 or smaller steel shot only) on the Controlled Hunting Area Sept. 1 - October 28. SHOOTING HOURS ARE FROM NOON TO 5:00 PM., Sept. 1-5, and sunrise-sunset from Sept. 6 - Oct. 28.

  4. Squirrel hunting is allowed on the Controlled Hunting Area, Aug. 1-Oct. 31; in the Firing Line Unit, squirrel hunting is allowed during the statewide season. All squirrel hunting is by shotgun, using non-toxic shot or .22 rifle.

  5. Firearm and muzzleloader deer hunting are allowed in the Firing Line Unit during the statewide season. Firearm deer hunting is permitted on the refuge portion of the site during the first Friday and Saturday in November. Hunters must apply online for the site specific permit during the statewide lottery.

  6. Archery deer hunting is allowed on the Controlled Hunting Area Oct. 1 - 31, and on the Firing Line Unit during the statewide season.

  7. Only portable stands are permitted for deer hunting; no permanent stands, screw-in steps, or other devices that pierce the bark of trees. Tree stands must be legibly marked with the owner's name, address, and telephone number when left unattended. Tree stands may only be left unattended from Sept. 15 through January 31. Limit one tree stand per hunter.

  8. Firing Line Unit-Blinds/stakes are allocated in a daily drawing (no fee charged) conducted at the shop building 60 minutes prior to shooting time. No less than 2 hunters and no more than 4 hunters per party. Stake site hunters must hunt within 50 yards of their stake. During regular duck season, hunters may not possess more than 25 shot shells. Hunting hours end at 12:00 p.m. and hunters must be out of the area by 1:00 p.m. The area is closed to hunting on Mondays, Tuesdays and December 24-28/ After the close of duck season, goose hunters must abide by a shell limit of 5 shot shells per Canada goose allowed in the daily bag.

  9. Controlled Hunting Area-blinds are allocated through the permit reservation system and the daily draw. Hunters are required to check in at the check station between 4:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m. A $10 daily usage stamp must be purchased. Hunting hours end at 12:00 p.m. During the regular duck season, hunters may not possess more than 25 shot shells.

  10. Youth Waterfowl - one permit per person shall be issued for the hunt on December 28th. Hunting hours are from legal opening until 12:00 noon. Each youth shall not possess more than 25 shot shells.

  11. All waters that are open to fishing will be closed to fishing from Oct. 16 through the last day of February, both dates inclusive.

  12. This area is closed to goose hunting during any September goose season.

  13. The Controlled Hunting Area and Firing Line is open to any goose hunt that occurs after the regular Canada goose season.

  14. Teal hunting during the early teal season is permitted at the Firing Line Unit only.

  15. Contact the site for additional information regarding special deer hunts and trapping permits.

Other facilities available: Fishing in Grassy and Lyerla Lakes, Sightseeing, and Wildlife Photography.

For further information, contact the Site Superintendent at Union County State Fish & Wildlife Area, 2755 Refuge Road, Jonesboro, IL 62952, Phone (618) 833-5175.

Permit Information: Duck hunting applications are available here.

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.