Illinois Department of Natural Resources
September 2020
September 9, 2020

Boost Your Hunt with Hunt Illinois

By Laura Kammin
A screenshot of the Hunt Illinois website on the Hunt Planner page. Users can chose where to hunt, what to hunt, and which season to hunt in.

Hunters in Illinois now have a brand-new resource to help them plan their hunt. Hunt Illinois was designed to provide you with up-to-date information to enhance your hunting experience. The site’s main feature is the Hunt Planner tool which searches for hunting sites in Illinois based on your specifications: location, species, equipment, and seasons in which you want to hunt. If you already know where you want to hunt, the Hunting Site Directory provides an alphabetized list of Illinois public hunting sites. 

Not sure what licenses and stamps are needed? The License Finder tool displays what licenses, stamps and permits you’ll need to hunt a specific animal or season. And to make it easier to navigate Illinois hunting laws and regulations the Legal Definitions page provides information about Residency, Equipment, Dog Training, and more. The Quick Links section also provides easy access to: 

A screenshot of the Hunt Illinois website on the License Finder page. Users can options in the form that apply to them.

If you want to focus your hunt on a particular species, the Information by Species section covers Deer, Turkey, Waterfowl, Rabbits & Squirrels, Upland Birds, and Furbearers. For each species you’ll find quick access to Season Dates & Limits, Licenses & Permits, Season Specific Regulations, Management & Ecology information, and Additional Resources, such as recipes. 

The Hunting Programs & Safety Courses section of the website details programs for adults, youth, and families. Here you can find safety courses for hunters, trappers, and boaters. New to hunting or not sure how to get started? The Illinois Learn to Hunt program provides free education and training workshops to teach adults how to hunt deer, turkey, squirrels, pheasants, ducks, geese, and other game.

A screenshot of the Hunt Illinois website on the Information by Species page. Users can select an animal icon and get information on that particular animal.

Hunt Illinois can also guide you to new hunting opportunities in the Prairie State. Illinois currently ranks 46th in the nation for publicly owned land with more than 97 percent of the land in private ownership. For hunters looking for places to hunt on private lands, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has created the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) to connect private landowners and hunters. 

The Full Seasons Calendar shows hunting season dates at a glance by month and the Events Calendar will be populated with hunting and trapping related events. And Hunt Illinois provides contact information for IDNR Conservation Police, IDNR staff and Federal contacts. 

One feature that many people find interesting and educational is the Conservation Importance section which discusses Conservation Funding, Healthy Ecosystems, Natural Foods, the return on investment from Hunting Expenditures, and current wildlife Research happening in Illinois. 

A screenshot of the Hunt Illinois website on the Conservation Importance page. Users can learn how hunting contributes to conservation funding, healthy ecosystems, natural food, return on investment, and research.

Before planning your next hunting trip check out Hunt Illinois to simplify and boost your hunt. The IDNR will be adding new resources to the website over time to better assist hunters.

Hunt Illinois was developed by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center under a project funded by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Federal Wildlife Restoration Grant. 

Laura Kammin is an Educational Programming Specialist with Lewis and Clark Community College. She formerly held positions at Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, University of Illinois Extension, Prairie Rivers Network and the Illinois Natural History Survey. She received her master’s degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.