Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online

Rachel Torbert
Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 18 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites during the 2019-20 hunting season. Dates and permit reservation information are now available online. 

Sixteen of the sites are operated by the IDNR, while two other sites continue to be operated in a public/private partnership arrangement between the IDNR and concessionaire T. Miller, Inc.

“Controlled pheasant hunting in Illinois is an ideal way for hunters of all ages, and especially young hunters, to have a worthwhile upland hunting experience,” said IDNR Director Colleen Callahan. “Now is the time to plan for some good opportunities for pheasant hunting in Illinois.”

The online permit reservation system for IDNR-operated controlled hunting sites opens on Monday, Aug. 5, and permit information, season dates, and other information are now available. Detailed information and permit reservations are available now for the two sites operated by T. Miller, Inc.  Hunters should always review the application instructions, season information and regulations accessible online prior to applying.

On IDNR-operated sites, the daily fee for permits acquired online for controlled pheasant hunting is $30 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters. The daily permit fee applies to each hunter.  Hunters are required to pay for permits acquired online in advance over a secure system using an American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit card. The credit card account is billed when hunters apply. A transaction fee of $1.00 or 2.25 percent of the permit fee (whichever is higher) will be assessed for each application, except for applications submitted for the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt.

The controlled pheasant hunting areas operated by T. Miller, Inc. are Chain O’Lakes State Park in Lake County and Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Kendall County. Information about controlled pheasant hunting at these sites is available on the concessionaire’s website at or via a link on the IDNR website at

Of the 16 sites operated by the IDNR, six provide the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt opportunity for young hunters between the ages of 10-17. Those six sites are the Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area in Tazewell County, Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in DeWitt County, Edward Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area in Logan County, Pere Marquette State Park in Jersey County, Sangchris Lake State Park in Christian and Sangamon Counties, and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Randolph County.

Nine sites provide lengthy hunting seasons for hunters, as well as additional special hunting days for young hunters under the age of 18: Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area in Henry County, the Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area in Will County, Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee County, the Iroquois County State Wildlife Area, Moraine View State Recreation Area in McLean County, Sand Ridge State Forest in Mason County, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass County, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County, and Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area in Jefferson and Franklin Counties. 

The Green River State Wildlife Area in Lee County provides 15 days of controlled pheasant hunting during a season that extends from early November until mid-December. 

At Des Plaines, Moraine View and Eldon Hazlet, hunting opportunities are available for hunters with disabilities, where special vehicles are provided to assist with the hunt.

Online permit reservations for the first lottery period on IDNR-operated sites will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 5 until 1:00 p.m. on Aug. 12. Two additional one-week lottery periods are scheduled thereafter. Hunters should always review the application instructions and season information on the controlled pheasant hunting website prior to applying. To navigate to the controlled pheasant hunting website once the IDNR website has been accessed, hunters should follow these directions:

• Click on the “Hunt/Trap” button on the toolbar
• Then click on "Upland Game"
• Then click on “Controlled Pheasant Hunting Permits, Hunting Areas, Regs, etc.”

IDNR-operated controlled pheasant hunting sites will continue to have a portion of their hunter quota allocated to standby hunters. Standby hunters acquire permits and pay permit fees at the site hunter check station on the day of the hunt. Standby permits also are available for the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt if the site hunter quota is not filled by young hunters with reserved permits prior to the hunt date. However, to ensure enough pheasants are released each hunting day, all hunters are strongly encouraged to access IDNR-operated controlled pheasant hunting sites by using the online permit reservation system.

Special note for the 2019-2020 hunting season:  Hunters will be required to use non-toxic shotshells when hunting at the Des Plaines SFWA, Horseshoe Lake SP, the Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA, Mackinaw River SFWA and the Silver Springs SFWA. Non-toxic shotshells have been required when hunting at Chain O’Lakes SP, the Eldon Hazlet SRA, the Green River SWA, the Johnson Sauk Trail SRA and the Wayne Fitzgerrell SRA for many years. Hunters are reminded when hunting at any of these sites that only non-toxic shotshells may in possession while hunting.

For complete details, check the controlled pheasant hunting website at or the T. Miller, Inc. website at

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