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Hunting Opportunities in Illinois
Hunting is an important wildlife management tool that maintains the health and abundance of game species and the balance of our natural resources. Hunters play an important role in managing wildlife and it is their tax dollars paid through the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act and hunting licenses and fees that pay for the majority of wildlife management by the IDNR. Please visit the Wildlife Management Site.
Your best resource for hunting and trapping information is the most recent "Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations"
Who can hunt in Illinois?
Where can I hunt in Illinois?
What can I hunt in Illinois?
When can I hunt in Illinois?
What permits or licenses do I need to hunt in Illinois?
Many of our licenses and permits can be purchased online.
This is the preferred method, and paper application should be used as a last resort.
Consolidation of the majority of IDNR commercial licenses/permits have been changed to one end date (March 31). Due to the change, IDNR will be selling Illinois hunting/trapping/fishing licenses beginning on March 1, instead of selling them beginning in mid-January. The licenses will be valid through March 31, of each year.
In general, anyone wishing to hunt in Illinois is required to purchase a hunting license
. There are some exceptions to this requirement.
- Anyone born after January 1, 1980, will need to have a copy of the Hunter Safety Education Certificate available while hunting.
- In most cases, an electronic state habitat stamp is also required(license ID #970).
- Waterfowl hunters will also need both the electronic state waterfowl stamp (license ID #600) and the federal waterfowl stamp-license ID #900 (federal waterfowl stamps may be purchased at US Post Offices or selected DNR offices).
- In addition to the license and stamps, species-specific permits are also needed.
- If you are hunting migratory game birds– doves, ducks, geese, snipe, woodcock, coots or rails you will need to register for the HIP (Harvest Information Program).
- Hunters wishing to use firearms need to obtain a Firearm Owner Identification Card (FOID) from the Illinois State Police.
- Lost or damaged permits can be replaced and corrections can be made, if you provide required information.
What are legal hunting devices, ammunition restrictions and other Laws?
What am I required to wear?
- Firearm Deer Hunting - It is unlawful to hunt deer with any firearm when not wearing a solid blaze orange cap/hat and an upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of solid blaze orange material. Note: Camouflage blaze orange does not meet the requirements.
- Archery Deer Hunting during a Firearm Season - during the muzzleloader only, the youth, the late winter and the CWD deer season, archery deer hunters must comply with the requirements to wear blaze orange in counties open to those gun deer seasons.
- Archery Turkey Hunting during a Firearm Season - when and where it is legal to archery turkey hunt during any gun deer season, archery turkey hunters must comply with the same blaze orange requirements as gun deer hunters.
Trapping opportunities in Illinois
Trapping plays an important role in the ecology and conservation of Illinois' furbearers - mammals that are hunted and trapped primarily for fur.
If you are starting out in trapping, it is recommended that you take the Illinois Trapper Education Course or complete the online course at United States TrapperEd.com.
Who Must Take The Trapper Education Course?
Where can I trap in Illinois?
- Some properties owned or managed by IDNR offer trapping opportunities.
- Trapping can occur on private property if a landowner or tenant grants permission to do so. Permission must also be obtained from anyone living within 100 yards of where traps are set. This requirement often limits opportunities to trap in residential areas. Trapping along roads or other public right-of-ways is prohibited. Land Access Permission Card
What can I trap in Illinois?
- Only certain furbearer species are allowed to be trapped in Illinois.
When can I trap in Illinois?
What Do I need to trap in Illinois?
- In most cases, a trapping license and habitat stamp are required to trap in Illinois. See the Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for exceptions. Non-residents may trap in Illinois if their state allows Illinois residents to trap there.
- Consolidation of the majority of IDNR commercial licenses/permits have been changed to one end date (March 31). Due to the change, IDNR will be selling Illinois hunting/trapping/fishing licenses beginning on March 1, instead of selling them beginning in mid-January. The licenses will be valid through March 31, of each year.