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Cache River

2018 - 2019 Season

MAP    Public Hunting Information Sheet                         

The Cache River State Natural Area consists of 14,960 acres, is state owned and managed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. There are approximately 12,417 huntable acres with 24 hunter/parking accesses.

LOCATION: 3 miles south of Vienna IL; lying roughly between Illinois Route 37 and U.S. Route 45, Johnson County, Illinois.
DESCRIPTION: Approximately 6,873 huntable acres. This area is primarily composed of upland and bottomland timber with permanent sloughs and some brushy areas. There are approximately 900 acres in open areas that have been reforested.

LOCATION: Generally, from Perks, IL to Karnak, IL along the Cache River in Johnson and Pulaski counties.
DESCRIPTION: Approximately 5,544 huntable acres. This area is primarily composed of bottomland timber with permanent ponds, sloughs and some brushy areas. There are approximately 1,145 acres in open areas that have been reforested.

MOST PREVALENT GAME SPECIES: Deer, Dove, Furbearers, Rabbit, Squirrel, Wild Turkey, Waterfowl.


  1. Regulations for all huntable species will coincide with statewide season dates, hunting hours, and limits. Exceptions to the above are as follows:
    1. Trapping by permit only. No snares allowed.  Only Egg Traps, D-P (Dog-Proof) traps, box traps, cage traps and traps of similar design may be used for land sets.
    2. Coyote and striped skunk seasons will coincide with the statewide fox season.
    3. Dove hunters are required to use non-toxic shot only (steel shot #6 or smaller; Bismuth or Tungsten #7-1/2 or smaller is allowed). Non-toxic shot is required for hunting waterfowl and migratory birds.
    4. No camping is permitted on these areas. Camping is available within a 20-mile radius at Ferne Clyffe State Park, Dixon Springs State Park, Fort Massac State Park and Shawnee National Forest campgrounds.
    5. All snakes are protected in these areas. Snakes are beneficial reptiles and part of the natural ecosystem.
    6. Pole and line fishing only.
  2. Hunting is on a first-come, first-served basis. No quotas or drawings, etc.
  3. Hunting is allowed only in Natural Areas. No hunting is allowed in restricted areas and in the three Nature Preserve Areas. You may not enter a Nature Preserve with a weapon in your possession and no weapons are allowed in the restricted area at the Cache River Wetland Center from Rt. 37, east to the Tunnel Hill State Trail, and 3/4 mile north of Section 8 Woods Nature Preserve to private property (see map above).
  4. Hunting areas can be accessed along the Tunnel Hill State Trail by hiking or biking. All weapons must be cased or bow and arrows locked while traveling along the trails right-of-way corridor. Tunnel Hill State Trail is a restricted area closed to hunting, it is unlawful to hunt, trap or discharge a gun or bow or arrow device along, upon or across the right-of-way of the trail.
  5. All motorized vehicles must remain on roads or in access areas. No ATV's (all terrain vehicles), bicycles, horses or mules are
    permitted on State Natural Area. Person-pulled carts can be used to retrieve deer in remote areas.
  6. No permanent blinds or pits may be dug or constructed. All blinds must be portable or established with natural vegetation and
    must be removed or dismantled at the end of each day's hunt. Cutting live vegetation on these areas is illegal.
  7. It is illegal to construct or use any tree stand built with nails, screws or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on
    which it is installed. Tree stands for hunting deer must be legibly marked with the owner's name, address and telephone number
    when left unattended. Tree stands may be left unattended only from September 15 to January 31. Only one tree stand per hunter,
    per area/site is allowed.
  8. Hunters engaged in quail and rabbit hunting must wear a cap and upper outer garment containing at least 400 square inches of
    solid and vivid blaze orange.
  9. All hunters are required to sign in and out at the hunter registration boxes provided at the hunter access areas, and are required to
    report harvest by species each day before leaving the site. There are 10 hunter accesses at the LOWER CACHE RIVER HUNTING AREA: Big Cypress, North
    Main, Flatwoods, East and West Karnak, Porterhouse, Perks Road, Lower Cache River, West Rt. 37, and Rt. 45 South. There are 14 hunter accesses at the LITTLE BLACK SLOUGH HUNTING AREA: Marshall Ridge, North Cypress, North Belknap, Belknap, Forman, East Bluff, North Rt. 45, Cave Creek, Little Black Slough, Northwest Belknap, South Cypress, Glass Hill, and Snakehole.
  10. Any additional area regulations will be posted at the area's hunter parking lots or at the Cache River State Natural Area headquarters.
  11. Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the South Zone duck opener - follow statewide regulations.

For additional information, contact the Site Superintendent, Cache River State Natural Area, 930 Sunflower Lane, Belknap, IL 62908, phone (618)634-9678. For further information on hunting opportunities on other Cache River Wetlands joint venture property, contact the Nature Conservancy at (618) 634-2524 and Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge at (618) 634-2231.

Equal opportunity to participate in programs of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) and those funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies is available to all individuals regardless of race, sex, national origin, disability, age, religion, or other non-merit factors. If you believe you have been discriminated against, contact the funding source’s civil rights office and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer, IDNR, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, IL 62702; (217)785-0067; TTY (217)782-9175.