Thursday, January 26th, 2023
Thursday, January 26th, 2023

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Illinois gearing up for youth firearms deer hunt

The one-year-old doe was harvested in Greenwood township and is the first confirmed positive in Vernon County.

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The 2017 Illinois youth firearm deer hunt is Oct. 7-9 for hunters with a valid youth deer permit who have not reached their 18th birthday by the first day of the hunt.

Youth deer permits are available over-the-counter at license vendors throughout the state.  Hunters may purchase only one permit (either sex) for one of the open counties. Hunters that are 16 years of age or older must also have a Habitat Stamp.

All youth hunters must have a current, valid youth deer permit and have a regular hunting license, youth hunting license or apprentice hunter license, unless exempt. If using a regular hunting license, participants must have completed an Illinois DNR-approved Hunter Education course.

Each hunter participating in the youth deer hunt while using an apprentice hunter or youth hunter license must be accompanied by a non-hunting, validly-licensed (Illinois hunting license) parent, guardian or grandparent who is 21 years of age or older. All other hunters participating in the youth deer hunt must each be accompanied by a non-hunting supervisor (parent, guardian or responsible adult) who has a valid Illinois hunting license or who has in his or her possession a valid firearm owners identification (FOID) card.

The non-hunting supervisor must wear the orange garments required of gun deer hunters (blaze orange cap and upper garment with a minimum of 400 square inches of solid blaze orange material), and must remain with the hunting youth. Each supervisor may only accompany a single youth at any given time during the hunt.

All Illinois counties except Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties, and that portion of Kane County east of Illinois Route 47, are open for the youth deer season. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset on Oct. 7-9.

The bag limit is one deer per legally authorized permit. All either-sex permits are subject to the following restrictions: no hunter, regardless of the quantity or type of permits in his/her possession, may harvest more than two antlered deer during a year, including the youth, archery, muzzleloader and firearm seasons.

Successful hunters must register their harvest by 10 p.m. on the same calendar day the deer is taken by calling the toll-free telephone check-in system at 1-866-ILCHECK or by accessing the online check-in system. They will be provided with a confirmation number to verify that they checked in their harvest. This number must be written by the hunter on the temporary harvest tag (leg tag).

Unfilled youth permits will also be valid during the first firearm deer season only for private land in the county named on the permit, or for hunting on public land that is open to statewide regulations (no limit on hunter access) in that county during the firearm season. Unfilled youth permits would not be valid during the first firearm deer season on special hunt areas that limit hunter numbers with a quota.

Youth hunters are reminded that archery deer season will be underway and archery hunters will be afield during the Oct. 7-9 youth hunt. Archery deer hunters and all other hunters are reminded that they must comply with requirements to wear blaze orange the weekend of the youth deer hunt (except in counties closed to the youth deer season).

The IDNR-managed sites in the counties listed below are open to youth hunting during the youth deer hunt. Note that some IDNR sites allow participation in the youth deer hunt only by site-specific permit. Contact the following sites for special site regulations:

  • Adams – Mississippi River Pools 21 and 22
  • Adams/Brown – Siloam Springs SP
  • Alexander – Cape Bend SFWA, Horseshoe Lake SFWA
  • Calhoun/Jersey – Mississippi River SFWA
  • Cass – Jim Edgar Panther Creek SFWA
  • Clinton – Carlyle Lake – East Fork Unit, Eldon Hazlet SP – North Allen Branch Unit
  • Crawford – Crawford County SFWA
  • Effingham – Wildcat Hollow SHA
  • Fayette – Carlyle Lake SFWA
  • Franklin – Campbell Pond SHA
  • Hancock – Cedar Glen SNA
  • Henderson – Big River State Forest (new in 2017); Mississippi River – Pool 18
  • Iroquois County – Iroquois County SWA
  • Jackson – Kinkaid Lake SFWA; Burning Star SFWA
  • Jackson/Union – Giant City SP
  • Jackson/Williamson/Union – Crab Orchard NWR
  • Jasper – Meeker SHA, Newton Lake SFWA
  • Jefferson/Franklin – Rend Lake SFWA and COE-managed areas of Rend Lake north of Highway 154
  • Jefferson/Hamilton – Ten Mile Creek SFWA
  • Jersey – Copperhead Hollow SFWA, Pere Marquette SP
  • Jo Daviess – Apple River Canyon (Salem/Thompson Units), Hanover Bluff, Rall Woods, Tapley Woods, Upper Mississippi River NFWR – Lost Mound Unit to include IDNR properties Eagles Landing and Stewardship Park (special permit required from USFWS), Wards Grove, Winston Tunnel
  • Johnson – Cypress Pond SNA, Deer Pond SNA, Ferne Clyffe – Cedar Draper Units only, Glass Hill SNA, Skinner Farm SHA, Wise Ridge SNA
  • Johnson/Pulaski/Massac – Cache River SNA
  • Knox – Spoon River SF
  • Lawrence – Chauncey Marsh
  • Lee – Green River SWA
  • Marshall – Marshall SFWA
  • Mason – Sand Ridge SF
  • Massac – Fort Massac SP, Mermet Lake SFWA, Seilbeck Forest SNA
  • Menard County – Oakford CA
  • Mercer – Mississippi River – Pool 17
  • Moultrie – Lake Shelbyville Project Lands in Moultrie County including Shelbyville SFWA
  • Montgomery – Coffeen Lake SFWA (Upland Management Area only)
  • Peoria – Portions of Marshall SFWA
  • Perry – Pyramid SRA (East Conant, Galum and Old Park Management units only)
  • Pike – Mississippi River (Pools 22 &24), Ray Norbut SFWA, Ray Norbut – Dutch Creek Unit
  • Pope – Dixon Springs SP, Dog Island
  • Randolph – Turkey Bluffs SFWA
  • Randolph/St. Clair/Monroe – Kaskaskia River SFWA
  • Saline – Saline County SFWA
  • Sangamon – Sangamon County CA
  • Shelby – Hidden Springs SF, Lake Shelbyville Project Lands (NOT including Eagle Creek and Wolf Creek State Recreation Areas)
  • Schuyler/Brown – Weinberg King SFWA including Scripps and Spunky Bottoms units
  • Tazewell – Mackinaw SFWA
  • Union – Trail of Tears SF, and Union County SFWA
  • Union/Alexander – Devil’s Island SFWA
  • Will County – Kankakee River State Park

Crab Orchard, Dixon Springs, and Lake Le-Aqua-Na offer youth firearm hunts during the regular statewide firearm deer season and require a site-specific firearm deer permit.

For more information on the youth deer hunt in Illinois, click here.

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