Location: 5 miles southwest of Newton, in Jasper county
Description: Prairie Ridge is a unique site in Illinois, dedicated to conserving the rarest members of Illinois’ native tallgrass prairie and marsh communities. It offers one of the most spectacular viewing opportunities for grassland wildlife in Illinois. The number of endangered species is very high and great care is taken to ensure the continued protection and presence of these species. Prairie Ridge has the distinction of having the state’s largest breeding population of northern harriers, short-eared owls as well as the only population of greater prairie chickens - all of which are state endangered species. The National Audubon Society has recognized Prairie Ridge as an “Important Bird Area” for its large populations of nesting grassland birds and spring migrating shorebirds.
Total Acres 2694 Huntable 460 (see map)
Legal Game Species: Deer (Archery only)
Area Regulations: Statewide rules and regulations apply at this site, unless otherwise specified. Selected tracts at this site are open for the Archery Deer Season only. Check map. No other tracts may be hunted. No other game species maybe taken. Archery Deer hunting at this site is closed during the statewide Firearm Deer Seasons, but continues through the Youth, Muzzleloader, and Late Winter Deer Seasons.
- Hunters are required to have a Site Permit, in addition to licenses, stamps, and species permits necessary for the game being hunted. Site Permits are available from the offices listed below. Hunters use regular Archery Deer Hunting permits to tag all animals harvested.
- The Site Permit Parking Card must be displayed on the dashboard of the vehicle used while hunting at the site. Hunters must park in designated areas (see map). No off-road vehicle (including ATVs) use allowed.
- Hunters must maintain accurate records of each hunt on the Harvest Report form provided and return at season’s end.
- Permanent tree stands are prohibited. Portable tree stands are allowed and may be left unattended overnight during the period September 15 through January 31. Only one stand is allowed per hunter. Each stand must be legibly marked with the owner’s name, address, and telephone number when left unattended. No nails, screws, or other devices are allowed to pierce trees. Ground blinds,if used during Youth or Muzzleloader Deer Seasons, must display at least 400 square inches of blaze orange, visible from all directions.
- It is unlawful to drive deer, or participate in a deer drive on all Department of Natural Resources owned or managed properties during all deer seasons.
- Only persons with Prairie Ridge Site Permits are allowed on the site (an exception allows help to drag a harvested deer).
- It is unlawful to use dogs to track wounded deer at Prairie Ridge.
- It is unlawful to hunt within 100 yards of an inhabited dwelling.
For further information, contact Site Manager, Prairie Ridge State Natural Area, 4295 N. 1000th St., Newton, IL 62448, 618/783-2685; or District Wildlife Biologist, 129 N. Kennedy Blvd. - Vandalia, IL 62471, phone: 618-283-3070.