IDNR Announces State and Federal Sites Open for 2020 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Seasons

Rachel Torbert
IDNR Announces State and Federal Sites Open for 2020 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A number of Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas and recreation areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2020 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt and South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. Federal sites that fall under the IDNR waterfowl administrative rule that will be open for the youth hunts also are listed below.

At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the Youth Hunt. IDNR is taking steps to protect hunters and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Participants in the Youth Hunt are reminded to follow current public health directives, including maintaining social distancing guidelines, bringing with them masks in case social distancing cannot be maintained and hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Hunters should check for changes to site-specific regulations and procedures. During the Youth Hunt, the bag limits are the same as during regular seasons.

As part of the Youth Hunt, hunters age 17 or younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers as long as they are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. The accompanying adult cannot hunt these species but may participate in other open seasons.

Youth hunters must have a Hunting License, Youth Hunting License, or Apprentice Hunting License. The youth hunter or his or her accompanying adult must have a valid FOID card. The supervising adult does not need to have a hunting license if they are not hunting other species. Youth hunters age 15 or younger are not required to have state or federal duck stamps, however youth hunters age 16 and older must have federal duck stamps even if they are using an Illinois Youth License. Hunters are not required to have an Illinois duck stamp unless they are age 18 or older (NOTE: this is a change from previous regulations). Although Illinois Youth Hunting Licenses are available for hunters up to age 18, federal waterfowl hunting regulations do not allow hunters over age 17 to participate in youth hunts.

Special youth hunts taking place through the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Permit or other youth-only hunts at IDNR sites, are open only to youth hunters age 10–17. These special hunts include:
• Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area (Oct. 17, 18)
• Black Crown Marsh (Oct. 10,11)
• Clinton Lake State Recreation Area - Salt Creek and Disabled units (Oct. 17)
• Donnelly/DePue SFWA (Oct. 31)
• Larry D. Closson State Habitat Area (Oct. 17)
• Marshall SFWA – Duck Ranch Unit (Oct. 17, 18)
• Spring Lake SFWA – Spring Lake Bottoms Unit (Nov. 14)
• Southern Illinois youth waterfowl hunt – Union County and Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Dec. 28).

All other youth hunts are open to those ages 17 and younger.

All waterfowl hunters, including those participating in the Youth Hunt, are required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). In order to register with HIP, hunters will need to have their hunting license number available. Hunters should register for HIP at the license vendor when they buy their hunting license or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648) or online through the IDNR website at

The lists of state and federal sites to be open during the Youth Waterfowl Hunts in the North, Central, South Central and South zones are below.

2020 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 10-11) - State and Federal Sites Open
Chain O’Lakes State Park
Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area
Heidecke Lake SFWA
Lake DePue SFWA
Sinnissippi Lake Wildlife Area
Mississippi River Pools (All located in North Zone)
William W. Powers State Recreation Area

2020 Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 17-18) – State, Federal and Private Sites Open
Anderson Lake SFWA
Banner Marsh SFWA
Braidwood Lake SFWA
Clinton Lake SRA
Coffeen Lake SFWA
Freeman Mine
Henderson Creek SFWA
Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County)
Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County) (Gabaret, Mosenthein, Chouteau Island Units)
Kankakee River State Park
Marshall SFWA
Marshall SFWA - Sparland Unit
Marshall SFWA - Duck Ranch Unit
Mazonia SFWA
Meredosia Lake
Mississippi River Area (MRA) - All sites managed by MRA
Mississippi River Pools (All located in Central Zone)
Momence Wetlands State Natural Area
Pekin Lake SFWA
Quincy Bay
Ray Norbut SFWA
Rice Lake SFWA
Sanganois SFWA
Sangchris Lake State Park
Shelbyville SFWA
Spring Lake SFWA
Starved Rock State Park
Weinberg-King State Park - Spunky Bottoms Unit
Woodford SFWA

2020 South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 7-8) - State and Federal Sites Open
Campbell Pond
Carlyle Lake SFWA
Kaskaskia SFWA
Kinkaid Lake SFWA
Mississippi River
Oakwood Bottoms
Pyramid State Recreation Area (Captain, Denmark, Galum, and East Conant Units)
Rend Lake Project Land and Waters
Shawnee National Forest
Ten Mile Creek SFWA

2020 South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 14-15) – State and Federal Sites Open
Bluff Lakes
Cache River SNA
Cape Bend SFWA
Chauncey Marsh SNA
Crab Orchard NWR
Cypress Pond SNA
Deer Pond SNA
Devil’s Island
Dog Island
Embarras River Bottoms SHA
Fort Massac (Kerr Farm Unit)
Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Alexander County)
LaRue Swamp
Mermet Lake SFWA
Mississippi River
Newton Lake SFWA
Saline County SFWA
Sielbeck Forest SNA
Shawnee National Forest
Union County SFWA

For more information on Illinois waterfowl seasons, check the IDNR
Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2020-21, which is available at IDNR offices and online through the IDNR website at: For information on IDNR’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Permit special hunts go to:

For IDNR site-specific information:
Hunter Fact Sheets -
Hunt Illinois –

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