Illinois Deer Season and Hunting Information and Regulations
*All information listed below is disclosed based on research we have conducted. We do our best to ensure that all information is up to date and accurate. However, rules and regulations are changing every day. Please make sure to verify your state-specific regulations prior to your hunt.
Illinois Deer Seasons
|First Firearm Deer Season||November 17, 18 & 19, 2023|
|Second Firearm Deer Season||November 30; December 1, 2 & 3, 2023|
|Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season||December 8, 9 & 10, 2023|
|Archery Deer Hunting Season (Cook, DuPage, Lake, and portion of Kane counties)||October 1, 2023 through January 14, 2024|
|Archery Deer Hunting Season (Other counties and portion of Kane county)||October 1, 2023 through January 14, 2024|
|Illinois Youth Firearm Deer Hunting||Saturday, Sunday, and Monday that includes the second Monday of October|
|Late Winter Antlerless and Special CWD||First Thursday-Sunday after December 25; and the first Friday-Sunday after January 11|
*Most of the actual hunting seasons in Illinois are by lottery. There are specific regulations and restrictions for each season so please be sure to investigate thoroughly on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Deer Hunting page.
In order to deer hunt legally in Illinois one must have:
- A valid hunting license.
- A state of Illinois habitat stamp.
- Deer permit(s).
Illinois has several different seasons for deer hunting including archery, firearm, muzzleloader, late-winter, youth, and Chronic Wasting Disease season and dates vary accordingly. The bag limit for all seasons is one deer per permit with the exception of the late-winter season whereas a hunter is only allowed one antlerless kill per permit. Must be antlerless.
A hunter is allowed one deer per legally issued permit. No hunter, regardless of permit or permits in his/her possession may harvest more than two antlered deer during a year. This includes the Youth, Muzzleloader, Firearm, and Archery seasons.
Illinois Turkey Season
|Youth Spring||March 25 – March 26|
|Youth Spring||April 1|
|Turkey Spring 1st Season South Zone||April 3 – April 7|
|Turkey Spring 2nd Season South Zone||April 8 – April 13|
|Turkey Spring 3rd Season South Zone||April 14 – April 19|
|Turkey Spring 4th Season South Zone||April 20 – April 26|
|Turkey Spring 5th Season South Zone||April 27 – May 4|
|Turkey Spring 1st Season North Zone||April 10 – April 14|
|Turkey Spring 2nd Season North Zone||April 15 – April 20|
|Turkey Spring 3rd Season North Zone||April 21 – April 26|
|Turkey Spring 4th Season North Zone||April 27 – May 3|
|Turkey Spring 5th Season North Zone||May 4 – May 11|
|Turkey Fall Gun Shotgun Season||October 21 – October 29|
|Turkey Fall Gun Archery Season||October 1 – January 14|
*Most of the actual hunting seasons in Illinois are by lottery. There are specific regulations and restrictions for each season so please be sure to investigate thoroughly on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Turkey Hunting page.
Though the wild turkey population was dwindling for many years there have been a few years of reproduction success and populations are increasing rapidly once again.
*During all seasons it is illegal to move a turkey from the hunt and kill location without first attaching a tag to its leg. The leg tag must remain until the turkey has been transported to the home of the hunter and reported.
Each hunter is allotted one turkey tag that allows for one turkey of either sex per tag.
Season dates vary by zone but run consistently throughout April and May.
Illinois Bear Season
Black bears may not be hunted, harassed, or killed unless they pose an immediate threat.
Illinois Upland Game Season
|Pheasant (North)||November 4 – January 8|
|Pheasant (South)||November 4 – January 15|
|Quail (North)||November 4 – January 8|
|Quail (South)||November 4 – January 15|
*Most of the actual hunting seasons in Illinois are by lottery. There are specific regulations and restrictions for each season so please be sure to investigate thoroughly on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Upland Game Hunting page.
Upland game specifically is broken into a number of different seasons, so the dates do not always run concurrently. It is also subdivided by zone and changes depending on conditions, so be sure to read and research accordingly.
Illinois Waterfowl Season
|Duck (Teal Season)||September 9 – September 26|
|Duck, Coot, and Merganser (North Zone)||October 22 – December 20|
|Duck, Coot, and Merganser (Central Zone)||October 29 – December 27|
|Duck, Coot, and Merganser (South Central Zone)||November 12 – January 10|
|Duck, Coot, and Merganser (South Zone)||December 3 – January 31|
|Early Canada Goose||September 1 – September 15|
*Most of the actual hunting seasons in Illinois are by lottery. There are specific regulations and restrictions for each season so please be sure to investigate thoroughly on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Waterfowl Hunting page.
Per usual in Illinois make sure to check specific regions and details on the Department of Natural Resources page before starting your hunt!
Smaller and Furbearer Game Seasons
|Dove (Early) (Daily bag limit 15)||September 1 – November 14|
|Dove (Late) (Daily bag limit 15)||December 26 – January 9|
|Coyote (Closed during firearm deer seasons)||January 1 – December 31|
|Woodchuck Season||June 1 – March 31|
|Woodchuck Season||October 21 – December 3|
|Rabbit||November 4 – February 15|
|Snipe||Opens with the teal season, and runs for 107 days|
*Most of the actual hunting seasons in Illinois are by lottery. There are specific regulations and restrictions for each season so please be sure to investigate thoroughly on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Furbearer and Small Game Hunting page.
Illinois has some confusing and intricate laws around hunting, guns, and crossbows. Here are the main points to pay attention to but be sure to check the official government website.
- The minimum draw weight is 125 pounds and the maximum draw weight is 200 pounds.
- Migratory bird hunting is illegal with a crossbow.
- The minimum length of your crossbow from the butt of your stock to the back of the limb must be 24”.
- Expandable broadheads are legal as long as they have at least a 7/8” cutting diameter.
- The use of electronic calling or tracking devices is prohibited.
- For the disabled: hunting with a crossbow is legal during the entire archery season. Certification from a licensed physician is required, and you will need to apply for an exemption.
- Age 62+: hunting with a crossbow during archery season is illegal. You do not need a permit but are required to carry a current, valid form of picture ID with you at all times while hunting.
All licensing and state stamps are effective January 1st of the year issued and extend through March 31st of the following year.
If you are military personnel, disabled, or a land-owner and the immediate family (while hunting the land you own) you do not have to have a hunting license. However, one must still observe season dates and follow legal hunting practices regarding weaponry and methods.
Please refer to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for licensing costs.
If you want to check out the next state on our list, click here to see Indiana.
Or, you can check out the last state on our list, Idaho.