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  1. Illinois DNR
  2. Hunting

Hunting Devices and Ammunition

 

Hunting Devices and Ammunition
If hunting on DNR owned property, please refer to the site-specific regulations regarding hunting devices and ammunition, which may differ from statewide regulations.  
 
Deer Hunting
  • Legal Firearms
    • Shotguns, loaded with slugs only, of not larger than 10 gauge nor smaller than 20 gauge, not capable of firing more than 3 consecutive slugs; or
    • Single or double barreled muzzleloading rifles of at least .45 caliber shooting a single projectile through a barrel of at least sixteen inches in length; or
    • Centerfire revolvers or centerfire single-shot handguns of .30 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches.
  • Legal Ammunition
    • For shotguns and muzzleloading firearms, the minimum size of the projectile shall be .44 caliber. A wad or sleeve is not considered a projectile or a part of the projectile.
    • For handguns, a bottleneck centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger with a case length not exceeding 1.4 inches, or a straight-walled centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger, both of which must be available as a factory load with the published ballistic tables of the manufacturer showing a capability of at least 500 foot pounds of energy at the muzzle. Note: There is no case length limit for straight-walled cartridges.
    • Non-expanding military style full metal jacket bullets cannot be used to harvest white-tailed deer; only soft point or expanding bullets (including copper / copper-alloy rounds designed for hunting) are legal ammunition.
  • Additional Muzzleloading Restrictions
    • A muzzleloading firearm is defined as a firearm that is incapable of being loaded from the breech end.
    • Only black powder or a "black powder substitute" such as Pyrodex may be used. Modern smokeless powders are an approved blackpowder substitute only in muzzleloading firearms that are specifically designed for their use.
    • Percussion caps (shotgun primers are legal), wheellock, matchlock or flint type ignition only may be used, except the Connecticut Valley Arms (CVA) electronic ignition shall be legal to use.
  • Legal Archery Equipment
    • Long, recurve, or compound bows
      • Minimum draw weight of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw length.
      • Minimum arrow length is 20 inches and broadheads must be used. Electronic arrow tracking devices are illegal.
    • Crossbows
      • Minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds.
      • Minimum length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) is 24 inches.
      • Fletched bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point) and broadheads must be used.  Electronic arrow tracking devices are illegal.
    • Broadheads may have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces, but they must have a minimum 7/8-inch diameter when fully opened.
    • Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal.
 
Turkey Hunting
  • Legal Firearms and Ammunition
    • Shotgun 20 gauge to 10 gauge only, no .410 or 28 gauge allowed. Note: You may not possess any other gun while turkey hunting.
    • No. 4 shot is the largest size shot that may be used.
  • Legal Archery Equipment
    • Long, recurve, or compound bows
      • Minimum draw weight of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw length.
      • Minimum arrow length is 20 inches and broadheads must be used. Electronic arrow tracking devices are illegal.
    • Crossbows
      • Minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds.
      • Minimum length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) is 24 inches.
      • Fletched bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point) and broadheads must be used.  Electronic arrow tracking devices are illegal.
    • Broadheads may have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces, but they must have a minimum 7/8-inch diameter when fully opened.
    • Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal.

Statewide Migratory Game Bird Hunting
  • It is unlawful to have in possession while attempting to take migratory waterfowl (including coots and captive-reared mallards), snipe or rail in Illinois any shotgun shells not approved as non-toxic by federal regulations.