Deep in the heart of the Midwestern United States, Illinois is a great place for deer hunting. The state offers a distinct deer hunting experience, prominently featuring the White-tailed deer. This deer is special because it's only found in Illinois, and is known for its speed and agility, and is a popular game animal for hunters.

When you go deer hunting in Illinois, you get to enjoy the thrill of the hunt while also being responsible and making sure the deer population stays healthy. This means following season dates, limits and rules is important.

In this article, we have summarized the important information that you need to know when hunting in Illinois. Mark your calendars as we bring you details of the season dates and bag limits to navigate your hunting adventure effectively.

When Is Illinois Deer Season?

Seasons Dates Bag Limits Notes
Deer Firearm and Muzzleloader Hunting First Season: November 17 - 19, 2023 1 deer(either-sex) /
Second Season: November 30; December 1 - 3, 2023 /
Muzzleloader-Only Season:  December 8 - 10, 2023 /
Deer Archery Hunting October 1, 2023, through January 14, 2024 1 deer(either-sex) Archery deer hunting is CLOSED during Firearm Seasons: Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30 - Dec. 3, 2023
Youth Deer Hunting October 7 - 9, 2023 1 deer(either-sex) All counties EXCEPT Cook, DuPage and Lake Counties, and that portion of Kane County east
of State Route 47
Late-Winter Deer Hunting December 28-31, 2023;
January 12-14, 2024
1 antlerless deer /
Special CWD Deer Hunting December 28-31, 2023
January 12-14, 2024
1 deer(either-sex) /

*Hunting Hours: One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Illinois Deer Hunting Notices

  1. Upon killing a deer, hunters must immediately attach and seal the temporary harvest tag (leg tag), before moving or transporting the animal.
  2. The harvest report must be registered (reported) by 10 pm on the same calendar day the deer was taken. If a hunter is unable to report the harvest in time, they must do so as soon as possible.
  3. Before taking, attempting to take, or pursuing deer, any hunter must obtain a State Habitat Stamp($5.50), a Deer Permit, and a current and valid Hunting License.
  4. Any person taking deer using a firearm must wear blaze orange or blaze pink clothing with a minimum of 400 square inches of visible material while in the field.
  5. The Youth Deer Season is open only to hunters who have not turned 18 years old before the opening date of the season.

Illinois Hunting Licenses And Permits

The following is the information for the license fees for residents and nonresidents in Illinois hunting season.

For Resident
Hunting License $12.50
Lifetime Hunting License $360.00
Lifetime Sportsmen's Combination Hunting/Fishing License $765.00
Senior Hunting License $6.50
Senior Sportsmen's Combination Hunting/Fishing License $13.50
Sportsmen's Combination Hunting/Fishing License $26.25
Super Senior Hunting License $1.50
Super Senior Sportsman Combo Hunting and Fishing License $2.75
Veteran Hunting License (Prior Certification Required) $6.50
Veteran Sportsmen's Combination Hunting/Fishing License (Prior Certification Required) $13.50

 

For Non-Resident
Hunting License $57.75
Hunting License (5 day) $35.75
Hunting Preserve License $12.50

Illinois Deer Permit Fees

Resident
Resident Deer Archery Either-Sex Permit Application $17.00
Resident Deer CWD Season Special Hunt Area (SHA) Permit Application $17.50
Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (Antlerless Only) $21.50
Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (Antlerless Only) $21.50
Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex) $29.00
Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex) $29.00
Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex & Antlerless Only) $46.50
Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex & Antlerless Only) $46.50

 

Non-Resident
Non-Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (Antlerless Only) (Must already have an ES Permit) $29.00
Non-Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (Antlerless Only) (Must already have an ES permit) $29.00
Non-Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex) $304.00
Non-Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (Either Sex) $304.00
Non-Resident Deer Muzzleloader Lottery Permit Application (ES & AO) $329.00
Non-Resident Deer Firearm Lottery Permit Application (ES & AO) $329.00

To hunt in Illinois, you need to apply the lottery drawing to win a chance to buy deer tags. The lottery usually starts in early June, and you can fill in the application on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website.

The application process for deer hunting is as follows:

Resident hunters can apply for an archery either-sex permit from August 1st to September 1st, with a fee of $17.00.

Non-resident hunters can apply for a deer firearm lottery permit through the Illinois official website with a fee of $329.00. Additionally, non-resident hunters can apply for a deer combo archery permit during the same timeframe, with a fee of $410.00.

To check the status of your deer hunting application in Illinois, you can visit the website of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

If you're interested in a muzzleloader permit, make sure to apply in either the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd deer lottery. After the Lottery 3 Deer Firearm and Muzzleloader drawings, any remaining permits will be available for purchase over the counter.

The application process for deer hunting in Illinois is easy to follow. You can check the status of your application and make sure you're applying in the right drawing for the type of permit you want.

Conclusion

Illinois is known for its great deer hunting tradition, especially for white-tailed deer. Every year, deer hunting season in Illinois offers a great chance to enjoy the outdoors and help protect the environment.

By adhering to the enforced hunting rules and permits, hunters can ensure responsible hunting practices, thus enabling future generations to appreciate the sport as well. As you get ready to go hunting in Illinois, keep in mind the dates and rules, grab your hunting boots and gear, and now start a memorable experience. Have fun!

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