SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding waterfowl hunters of key dates and other information regarding the 2022-2023 waterfowl seasons.
2022-2023 waterfowl seasons
This is the second year of a five-year waterfowl season plan that was developed in 2020. This fall, Illinois will open the regular duck, Canada goose and snow goose seasons on Oct. 22 in the North Zone, Oct. 29 in the Central Zone, Nov. 12 in the South Central Zone, and Dec. 3 in the South Zone.
White-fronted goose (specklebelly) seasons will open Oct. 24 in the North Zone, Nov. 5 in the Central Zone, and on the same dates as duck season in the South Central (Nov. 12) and South zones (Dec. 3).
The daily limit is six ducks of any species; however, daily limit can consist of no more than the following: four mallards (of which no more than two can be hen mallards), three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasback, two black ducks, one pintail and one mottled duck.
Scaup (bluebills) will have a daily limit of two for the first 45 days of the season in each zone and one for the last 15 days of the season in each zone.
The daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded mergansers. The possession limit for ducks and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit (18 and 15, respectively) by species and sex.
During the regular season, Canada goose daily limits will be three with a possession limit of nine. White-fronted goose daily bag limits will be two with a possession limit of six. The snow goose daily bag limit is 20 birds, with no possession limit, during the fall and winter seasons.
The spring Light Goose Conservation Order will open Jan. 20 in the North Zone and Feb. 1 in the Central, South Central, and South zones, ending April 30 in all zones. There is no daily bag or possession limit on snow, blue, and Ross' geese during the spring conservation order.
Waterfowl seasons currently open
Teal season is underway statewide in all zones Sept. 10-25, with a daily limit of six and possession limit of 18. Rail (Sora and Virginia only) is open statewide in all zones from Sept. 10 through Nov. 18, with a daily limit of 25 and possession limit of 75. Snipe is open statewide in all zones from Sept. 10 through Dec. 25, with a daily limit of eight and possession limit of 24. Canada goose (early season) closes Sept. 15 in all zones.
The third lottery for Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permits opens Sept. 16 and closes Sept. 28. See the following link for further information or to apply: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/waterfowl/Pages/OnlinePermitApplication.aspx
Additional details on waterfowl seasons are included below and in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2022-2023, available on the IDNR website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/Pages/HuntTrapDigest.aspx
The Illinois waterfowl hunting zone maps and anticipated season dates for the 2021-2025 seasons are available on the IDNR website at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/news/Documents/IDNR-Waterfowl-2021-2025.pdf
Note that sunrise and sunset times are not included in the Hunting and Trapping Digest again this year. Hunters should refer to this website for their local sunrise and sunset: https://www.weather.gov/dvn/sunrise-sunset
Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) reminder
In coordination with other state and federal agencies, IDNR continues to monitor for outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of HPAI that was observed in Illinois during spring 2022. Similar mortality events may occur as waterfowl arrive in Illinois from northern breeding grounds during the fall migration.
IDNR reminds waterfowl hunters to take precautions and thoroughly cook game meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid handling sick or dead waterfowl found in the field. Do not allow dogs and other pets to consume waterfowl that died from unknown causes. Further guidance for hunters can be found at the following link: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/animal_health/fsc_hpai_hunters.pdf
If five or more wild birds are found deceased of unknown causes in one location, please contact an IDNR district wildlife biologist at: https://www.wildlifeillinois.org/sidebar/contact-an-idnr-district-wildlife-biologist/