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French Bluff Natural Area

2017-2018 Season


Location: Carroll County, 1.5 miles east of Thomson. 

Description :
Total Acres: 344, predominately timber. Huntable Acres 342.

The area is Mississippi River Bluff topography characterized by steep hillsides, ridge tops and terrace benches. The area is almost entirely forested with Black Walnut, Black Oak. Red Oak, White Oak, Hackberry, Black Cherry and Mixed Elm the dominate tree species. There are several cedar thickets on the west and south sides of the site. The site is bordered on all four sides by private lands with mixed grain farming, and privately managed woodlands the dominate land uses. Johnson Creek drains close to but does not bisect the site

Available Game Species :



Hunting Hours

Bag Limits

Special Regulations





Closed during firearm and muzzleloading deer seasons.

Deer (Archery)




Closed during  firearm and muzzleloading deer seasons.

Turkey (Fall Archery)




Closed during firearm and muzzleloading deer seasons.   

Deer (Firearm)




Quota of 8 hunters per season.

Deer (Muzzleloading)

2nd portion of muzzleloader season.



Quota of 8 hunters.

Turkey (Spring)




Quota of 8 hunters per season.

General Area Regulations:

1. Think safety first! You should be aware that hikers and other non-hunters may be in the area.

​2.  All statewide regulations apply.

3. Hunters must obtain a Windshield Card online at the IDNR website,  This card must displayed and visible under the vehicle windshield and the pocket portion in your possession while hunting at the site.  Hunters must report their Windshield Card annual harvest online by February 15 (even if the hunter did not hunt) or they forfeit their hunting privileges at the site for the following ​year. 

4. In addition to Windshield Card reporting, successful deer and turkey hunters are required to record their harvest as instructed on their permit.  
5. Hunting is restricted to those portions of the area posted as open hunting, which excludes the hunter parking area.    You may not possess an uncased bow or loaded/uncased firearm outside of the posted hunting zones.  

6. Hunters must park in the designated parking lot.  Do not block access to fields or gates. 
7. It shall be unlawful to construct or to use any tree stand that utilizes nails, screws, wire or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on which it is installed.  Only one tree stand is allowed per hunter.  Tree stands may be left unattended from September 15 - January 31 if legibly marked with the owner's name, address, and telephone number.

8. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess or to consume beer, wine, or intoxicating liquors while hunting on the area.  
9. You may not enter a restricted area or trespass on private land for any reason without first notifying the park staff or the appropriate landowner. 
10.   Only permitted hunters are allowed in the area during deer firearm seasons and until 1:00 PM during the turkey firearm seasons.

Spring Turkey Hunting Site Regulations:

1. All spring turkey hunters must obtain a Special Hunt Area permit,  which will be issued through the Permit Office in Springfield.   Permits valid for Carroll Co. will not be valid at French Bluff Natural Area. 

Firearm and Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Site Regulations:

1. All firearm deer hunters must obtain a Special Hunt Area permit, which will be issued through the Permit Office in Springfield.  Permits valid for Carroll Co. will not be valid at French Bluff Natural Area.

2. No standby permits available.  

3. Handguns and Muzzleloader rifles are permitted during firearm seasons.  

A French Bluff Muzzleloadier permit is not valid for the second season of the regular firearm deer season.

Squirrel Hunting Regulations

1. Shotguns #3 or smaller for steel shot, #5 or smaller for lead, tungsten or bismuth shot. 22 rimfire rifles, muzzleloading rifles and archery tackle using flu-flu arrows are permitted for taking squirrels.

For further information contact: Mississippi Palisades State Park, 16327A IL Rte 84, Savanna, IL 61074;   Telephone: (815)273-2731.​​​

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.