For decades thousands of Illinois sportsmen took to the fields in pursuit of northern bobwhite (quail), ring-necked pheasants, and cottontails. Upland hunters not only find satisfaction in the harvest of game, but also in the enjoyment of their dogs’ work. Depending on their sport, listening to the tonguing of a good pack of dogs, seeing a good dog on point, or watching a quick and efficient retrieve can be the best part of the hunt.
Upland species benefited from the habitat mosaic created by early farming in Illinois. As row crop farming has expanded and farm technology changed, upland game numbers have dropped considerably from their peaks in the early twentieth century. Today, upland hunters can still experience quality hunting where good habitat still remains. As most of the land in Illinois is in private ownership, most upland hunting opportunities are found on private land. With careful research and a demonstrated respect for the landowner, upland hunters can still find good places to hunt.