More Opportunities for Turkey Hunting Through the Illinois Recreational Access Program

Ed Cross
More Opportunities for Turkey Hunting Through the Illinois Recreational Access Program
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) – a program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) – has added adult turkey hunting to its growing list of outdoor recreation activities on private land in Illinois. 

Adult turkey hunting for the 2017 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Season’s third and fourth season segments is available in Christian, Clark, Fayette, Greene, Macoupin, McDonough, Sangamon and Schuyler counties to any registered hunter.  First-time adult turkey hunters (individuals who have not hunted turkey in the past 5 years) can also apply for Brown and Fulton counties in addition to the counties listed above.  

Youth turkey hunters (under the age of 18) can apply to hunt on private property for the 2017 Youth Turkey Season and regular season segments 3 and 4 in at least 35 counties across Illinois.  The 2017 youth turkey season has been expanded to two weekends – March 25-26 and April 1-2 statewide.

To apply for an IRAP spring turkey hunting site, hunters must go to the IRAP’s website and download an application and liability waiver, complete and sign it, and mail it to the IDNR.  Deadlines for applications are February 23, 2017 for youth season and March 10, 2017 for regular season segments 3 and 4.  In order to apply for seasons three and four, the applicant must first apply for a turkey permit through the IDNR spring turkey lottery system.  The deadline to apply for the second lottery drawing is January 11, 2017.

“IRAP is a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with private landowners to provide for much-needed access for hunting and other outdoor activities,” said IDNR Director Wayne Rosenthal. “Landowners allow public access to their property in exchange for a minimal lease payment and a habitat management plan, but just as important, the landowner also receives assistance with habitat restoration of their property. It is an ideal public/private partnership that delivers positive results for everyone.”

Applicants applying for IRAP turkey hunting sites will need to download an application and liability waiver at:

All applications must be returned to IDNR 30 days prior to the hunting season.  Successful applicants will be notified by mail where their hunting site is located, be given a map, and an IRAP site permit allowing them to hunt on their assigned turkey hunting site.  For youth season, hunters will also need to purchase an over-the-counter IDNR youth turkey permit after they have received their IRAP site permit packet. 

Youth and adult hunters applying for an IRAP site for spring turkey seasons 3 or 4 will need to apply online for an IDNR spring turkey permit as soon as possible. The application deadline for the next lottery drawing for an IDNR spring turkey permit is January 11.  Successful applicants receiving his or her turkey tag for their choice county in season 3 or 4 will then need to send in an IRAP turkey application. Sites for seasons 3 and 4 are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

Turkey hunting on IRAP leased property is available during three spring turkey seasons:

Youth Season:  March 25-26 (statewide)   April 1-2 (statewide)
Third Season: April 14-19 (south zone)  April 21-26 (north zone)
Fourth Season:  April 20-26 (south zone)   April 27-May 3 (north zone)

To apply for your turkey permit through the IDNR lottery, visit:

The IRAP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. To date, IRAP has leased nearly 16,000 acres in 38 counties to provide for various public access opportunities, such as:
• Spring youth turkey hunting for youth season and seasons three and four
• First-time adult turkey hunting for seasons three and four
• Pond and riverbank fishing
• Boat access on public waterways
• Hiking, birding and outdoor photography
• Archery deer hunting
• Small game hunting
• Waterfowl hunting.

For more information, visit: or contact Tammy Miller at 217-524-1266 or e-mail
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