Hunting in Illinois

Illinois Hunting at Glance

Illinois is known for its big white-tailed deer, and hunters in the state typically take more Boone and Crockett whitetails than those in any other state. The most famous big-buck-producing area in Illinois is known as the “Golden Triangle,” an area that includes Pike, Brown, and Adams counties. Deer tags are available in June via the Illinois DNR website and nonresidents can usually get one if they apply early enough, but they do sell out, so don’t delay.

Illinois’ extensive agricultural regions, which are some of the most valuable and productive in the world, have made it a fantastic location to hunt uplands birds, including pheasants, quail, and doves; waterfowl including ducks and geese; and wild turkeys.

Illinois ranks #34 in the nation for hunting license per capita with over 2.3% of the population classified as registered hunters.

Table of Contents

Hunters (Based on Hunting Licenses)
Population: 12,812,508
Hunters 294,688
Hunter % 2.30%
Hunters Rank 34

The state of Illinois is predominantly private land and only 1.96% the total acres could be considred huntable public land. In fact, Illinois ranks #45 overall in acres of public huntable land.

Land Types (Acres)
Acres % Rank
Total 35,579,500
Huntable Public 698,000 1.96% 45
Private Land 34,742,720 97.65% 6
Tribal Land 0 0.00% no tribal land

Illinois ranks #6 for the percentage of private land vs total acres and doesn’t have any tribal land.

Illinois Hunting Seasons & Requirements

For the most accurate information on Illinois Hunting Seasons, along with the state’s requirements for tag and bag limits, it’s a good idea to check with the Illinois DNR.  We’ve provided their contact information below, along with links to helpful resources, including licensing.

Illinois DNR

One Natural Resources Way
Springfield, IL 62702-1271

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Why limit yourself to public land when there are millions of acres of private land to explore.

Popular Game to Hunt in Illinois

Illinois offers a variety of different hunting opportunities, from big-game hunting for whitetail deer and wild turkey, to small game hunting for upland birds and waterfowl.

Small Game Hunting in Illinois

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, the most popular small game animals to hunt in the state are squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, quail, and grouse. Squirrel hunting is a particularly popular fall pastime, with hunters often setting out early in the morning in search of these furry critters. Rabbit hunting is also a popular choice, especially among those who enjoy pursuing their prey with dogs. For those looking for a more challenging hunt, pheasant and quail offer a test of skill and endurance. Finally, grouse hunting is a favorite among those who appreciate the beauty of these birds. Regardless of which species you choose to pursue, small game hunting in Illinois is sure to provide an enjoyable experience.

Big Game Hunting in Illinois

In Illinois, there are four main types of big game that people like to hunt. These are white-tailed deer, coyotes, bobcats, and foxes. Out of these five, the most popular game to hunt is the white-tailed deer. This is because they are relatively common in the state, and they provide a good amount of meat. Coyotes, bobcats, and foxes are less popular to hunt, as they are not as common in the area and their meat is not as sought-after. However, all four of these animals can provide a fun and challenging hunting experience for those who are interested in big game hunting.

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Where are the Best Areas to Hunt in Illinois

Illinois offers great hunting opportunities across the state, both on public and private land. We’ve included some of the best areas for public hunting below and as we have access we’ll be adding more private land too.

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We’re working with landowners all across Illinois to provide private land access for more activities. Add your information below to stay up to date.

Popular Public Hunting Land in Illinois

Illinois is home to some of the best hunting grounds in the Midwest. With over 96,000 acres of public land, there’s plenty of room for hunters of all experience levels to find their perfect spot. The Shawnee National Forest is one of the most popular places to hunt in Illinois, with its mix of hardwood and pine forests providing habitat for deer, turkey, and other small game. Pere Marquette State Park is another great option, with over 8,000 acres of forest and grassland to explore. Kickapoo State Park is a favorite among bird hunters, with over 300 species of birds calling the park home. And for those who want to try their hand at waterfowl hunting, Hennepin Canal State Park and Chain O’Lakes State Park are both excellent choices. No matter what type of hunting you’re looking for, you’re sure to find it in Illinois.

1. Shawnee National Forest
2. Pere Marquette State Park
3. Kickapoo State Park
4. Hennepin Canal State Park
5. Chain O’Lakes State Park

Hunting Private Land in Illinois

Since the majority of Illinois is private land getting access for hunting can be very appealing. When you hunt private land, it’s not only less crowded, the animals also tend to be less skittish and this means you’ll have a better day out in the field.  Traditionally, accessing private land for hunting has been complicated and expensive.  You either needed to join a club, hire a guide, or start knocking on doors.

Fortunately Wing It is simplifying this for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. We’re adding new land every day and if we have some in your area, you’ll see some options great below.

More Private Hunting Land

• 80 acres •
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
  • Hunting
  • Others activities
    • Woodchuck and rabbit hunting
• 552 acres •
• 79 acres •
• 152 acres •
• 343 acres •
Wing It - Access. Granted White

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We’re currently building the ultimate app for outdoor access.  Add your name and details below to save your spot and ensure you get access before the general public. 

Coming in 2023!
Guests - Get early access to private land.
Landowners - Increase your profit per acre.