IDNR Announces State and Federal Sites to be Open for 2017-18 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Seasons

Ed Cross
IDNR Announces State and Federal Sites to be Open for 2017-18 Youth Waterfowl Hunting Seasons
SPRINGFIELD, IL – A number of Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas and recreation areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2017 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 are also listed below.

At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the Youth Hunt (hunters should check for site-specific regulations, including changes in legal shooting hours).  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 state and federal duck stamps, even if they are using an Illinois Youth License. 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 only open to youth hunters age 10–17.  These special hunts include: Banner Marsh SFWA (Oct. 21, 22), Clinton Lake SRA - Salt Creek and Disabled units (Oct. 21), Donnelly/DePue SFWA (Oct. 14, 15 and Nov. 4, 12), Larry D. Closson SHA (Oct. 21), Marshall SFWA – Duck Ranch Unit (Oct. 21, 22), Spring Lake SFWA – Spring Lake Bottoms Unit (Nov. 12), and 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. 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.

2017 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 14-15) - State and Federal Sites Open
Chain O’Lakes State Park
Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area
Lake DePue SFWA
Sinnissippi Lake Wildlife Area
Mississippi River Pools (All located in North Zone)
William W. Powers State Recreation Area

2017 Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 21-22) – State, Federal and Private Sites Open
Anderson Lake SFWA
Banner Marsh SFWA
Braidwood Lake SFWA
Clinton Lake SRA
Coffeen Lake SFWA
Emiquon Preserve (The Nature Conservancy, Fulton County, mail/email drawing Oct. 10)
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

2017 South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 4-5) - 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

2017 South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 11-12) – 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
Devils Island
Dog Island
Embarras River Bottoms SHA
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 Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations 2017 -18, 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 hunter fact sheets online go to

For information on The Nature Conservancy’s hunting program at Emiquon Preserve (registration deadline Oct. 5), go to:

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