August 2, 2021

2021-2022 Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest

By Kathy Andrews Wright
The cover of the new Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for 2021–2022. The photo on the cover is a frozen wetland with a group of mallard ducks and a beaver on top of the ice.

Photographer Chris Young captured a special wintery wetland image for the cover of 2021-2022 Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest when he came upon a scene with North America’s keystone wetland mammal, the beaver (Castor canadensis), sharing the ice with a group of mallards (Anas platyrhynchos), the most abundant species of duck on the continent. Beavers play a critical role in the creation of wetland habitats that are utilized by a host of wetland-dependent wildlife. 

“On a mid-February 2020 day there was enough ice on Lake Springfield to concentrate spring migrating waterfowl together where open water remained near the power plant,” explained Chris Young. “While I was photographing birds a beaver climbed out of the water and onto the ice shelf. Neither the beaver nor the mallards seemed to pay much attention to the other. It is always a bonus to get more than one type of wildlife in the same picture.”

Kaleb Wood and Victoria Arterberry, with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ (IDNR) Division of Wildlife Resources, coordinated preparation of this annual digest. Arterberry identified a few key changes that hunters and trappers should note.

A map of Illinois indicating areas with Chronic Wasting Disease infected deer. Most of the top right of the state has Chronic Wasting Disease areas.
Chronic Wasting Disease infection in Illinois

“Notable changes highlighted in the 2021-2022 Digest include presentation of waterfowl hunting season regulations for the next five seasons, changes to the wild turkey season lottery process and an updated map of areas where the always fatal Chronic Wasting Disease has been documented in Illinois,” Arterberry explained.

“The five-year waterfowl hunting regulations are based on a thorough review of scientific information and input from waterfowl hunters,” explained IDNR Wetland Wildlife Program Manager Randy Smith. “These regulations are intended to provide the most opportunity for hunters while protecting waterfowl resources.”

A map of Illinois indicating the waterfowl hunting zone boundaries.
Waterfowl hunting zone boundaries in Illinois

The Illinois waterfowl hunting zone lines have not changed for the 2021-2025 seasons. The season dates are similar to those used in previous years, but trend later, such as the opening date in 2023 in the Central Zone of Oct. 28 rather than Oct. 21.

Wood noted that wild turkey hunters will be interested in knowing that the Digest identified a new system that will result in applicants receiving lottery results in a timelier manner.

 “Beginning in the fall of 2021, a 10-day ‘Blackout Period’ will be implemented at the beginning of the second and third periods for the spring wild turkey lotteries,” Wood explained. “For context, if a first lottery period ends on April 30, the second lottery will open on May 11, and the third lottery will open 10 days after the close of the second lottery.”

Wood continued by explaining that this process will be implemented in 2022 for all lotteries—white-tailed deer, spring turkey and fall turkey. 

A male wild turkey pauses and looks over its back as it walks through a grassy area to a woodland. There is grass in the foreground, and trees in the background.

“We are pleased to continue to offer the Digest in both the traditional paper format as well as a digital format,” Arterberry said. “Outdoorsmen and women continue to express their support for being able to access hunting and trapping information from a phone, tablet, computer or a paper version.”

The 2021-2022 Digest also is available in Spanish and Polish.

“Translation of the digital version of the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations and the quick reference card to Spanish and Polish will allow us to serve a greater number of overlooked constituents that have possibly had poor compliance with the regulations in the past,” Arterberry noted. “It is important that we reach as many hunters and trappers with English as their second language as we possibly can.” 

“Readers continue to remark that the inclusion of infographics has been an excellent way to convey information that some outdoor enthusiasts have found cumbersome in text format,” Arterberry remarked. “It is through the feedback we receive from users that we are able to improve the delivery of hunting and trapping regulations each year.”  

Suggestions regarding the annual Digest may be emailed to

Kathy Andrews Wright is retired from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources where she was editor of Outdoor Illinois magazine. She is currently the editor of Outdoor Illinois Wildlife Journal and Illinois Audubon magazine.


Submit a question for the author

Question: Are the use of thermal monoculars legal to use for archery deer season in illinois…especially in the recovery of deer you just shot and hopefully killed?

Reply: So long as the hunter is outside of the vehicle, a handheld thermal device would be legal to use.