Deer Hunting Regulations and Credentials

Hunting Credentials Pricing

When planning your deer hunting expedition, it's essential to be aware of the associated fees for licenses, permits, and stamps. Below are the prices for different credentials, applicable to both residents and non-residents:

Hunting License

  • Resident: Variable
  • Non-Resident: Variable
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors, Paper App
  • Specifications: Refer to the Statewide Regulations section for license types.

State Habitat Stamp

  • Price: $5.00
  • Exemptions: Purchasers of a lifetime hunting license before Jan 1, 1993, and legally disabled veterans and former prisoners of war are exempt.
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors

Super Senior Habitat Stamp

  • Price: Free for residents aged 75 or older
  • Requirements: Must be 75 or older and pay vendor fees.
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors

Deer Firearm Permits

Either-Sex (ES) Permit

  • Price: $25.00 (Resident) | $300.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors, Paper App

Antlerless-Only (AO) Permit

  • Price: $17.50 (Resident) | $25.00 or $100.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors, Paper App
  • Note: Non-resident applicants must possess an ES permit to be eligible for a discounted ($25) AO permit. The nonresident $100 permit is only available at licensed vendors.

Deer Muzzleloader Permits

Either-Sex Permit

  • Price: $25.00 (Resident) | $300.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors, Paper App

Antlerless-Only Permit

  • Price: $17.50 (Resident) | $25.00 or $100.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors, Paper App
  • Note: Non-resident applicants must possess an ES permit to be eligible for a discounted ($25) AO permit. The nonresident $100 permit is only available at licensed vendors.

Deer Archery Permits

Combination Archery Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)

  • Price: $25.00 (Resident) | $410.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online (6/1 to 6/30), then available over-the-counter at vendors.
  • Note: Non-resident youth (<18 yrs.) may purchase a resident Combination Archery Permit for $25.

Single Either-Sex Permit

  • Price: $15.00 (Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors

Single Antlerless-Only Permit

  • Price: $17.50 (Resident) | $25.00 or $100.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online, Vendors
  • Note: Non-resident applicants must possess an archery ES permit to be eligible for a discounted ($25) single AO permit.

Deer Landowner Permits

Combination Firearm Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)

  • Price: Free (Resident) | $175.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Qualifications: Landowners and resident tenants (of commercial agricultural leases) must have at least 39.5 acres of land to qualify. Permits are only valid on the owned/leased land.

Combination Archery Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)

  • Price: Free (Resident) | $210.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Qualifications: Same as the firearm permit.

Deer Youth Firearm Permits

Either-Sex Permit

  • Price: $10.00 (Resident) | $10.00 (Non-Resident)
  • Application Method: Online

Deer Late Winter Firearm Permits

  • Antlerless-only

    • Price: $17.50 (Resident)
    • Application Method: Online
    • Note: Open counties are to be publicly announced; check the website for updates.
  • Special Hunt Area Antlerless-only

    • Price: $17.50 (Resident)
    • Application Method: Online

Special Chronic Wasting Disease Season Deer Permits

  • Antlerless-only

    • Price: $5.00 (Resident) | $5.00 (Non-Resident)
    • Application Method: Online
    • Note: See the SPECIAL CWD DEER HUNTING section for open counties.
  • Special Hunt Area Antlerless-only

    • Price: $17.50 (Resident)
    • Application Method: Online

Season-Specific Regulations Reminder

Verification of Regulations

Before embarking on your hunting expedition, it is crucial to verify the specific regulations for the IDNR site(s) you intend to hunt. Different sites may have varying rules regarding equipment, harvest reporting, and other essential aspects. To access site-specific regulations, utilize the Directory or Hunt Planner available on the IDNR website.

Equipment and Harvest Reporting

Regulations Discrepancy Warning: Some sites may impose more restrictive regulations on equipment usage and harvest reporting. Ensure compliance with these site-specific rules to promote ethical and legal hunting practices.

Accessing Site-Specific Regulations

To access detailed information regarding deer hunting and any site-specific regulations, refer to the Statewide Hunting Regulations. These regulations provide comprehensive insights into the guidelines and requirements applicable to deer hunting in the designated areas.

Stay Informed: Hunters are encouraged to stay informed about any updates or changes in regulations by regularly checking the IDNR website for the most accurate and current information. Responsible hunting involves a commitment to understanding and adhering to the specific rules set forth by each hunting site.

Note: Full details on deer hunting, including comprehensive regulations, can be found in the Statewide Hunting Regulations. Stay informed and hunt responsibly.

Archery Season Regulations

Allowed Equipment

During archery season, hunters have the option to use the following equipment:

Bows

  • Vertical Compound Bow: Allowed
  • Traditional Bow (Recurve or Longbow): Allowed
  • Minimum Pull: Must have a minimum pull of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw.

Arrows

  • Minimum Length: Arrows must be at least 20 inches long (not including point).

Crossbows

  • Minimum Peak Draw Weight: 125 pounds
  • Minimum Length: Must have a minimum length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches.
  • Safety Requirement: Must have a working safety.
  • Fletched Bolts or Arrows: Must be at least 14 inches long (not including point).

Broadheads

  • Broadheads (All Bows):
    • Must have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces.
    • Minimum ⅞ inch in diameter when fully opened.
    • Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert- or obsidian-knapped.
    • Broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal.

Clothing Requirements

  • Clothing: None specified. However, hunters using archery during other seasons should be mindful of blaze clothing requirements.

Tagging and Harvest Reporting

  • Tagging: Immediately upon kill, the hunter must detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. The tag must be attached to the leg using the hunter's fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is also provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. Deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day the deer was taken. This can be done through the toll-free telephone check-in system at 1-866-452-4325 or via the online check-in system.

Additional Resources

  • Hunters are encouraged to download the "Archery Deer Harvest Reporting and Hunting Regulations Information Sheet" for comprehensive information and guidance.

Note: Hunters should familiarize themselves with the questions listed on the back of their permit before reporting the harvested deer. Compliance with these regulations is crucial for responsible and legal hunting practices during the archery season.

Firearm Season Regulations

Allowed Firearms

During firearm season, hunters can use specific types of firearms for deer hunting:

Shotgun

  • Must be loaded with slugs only.
  • Gauge: Not larger than 10 gauge or smaller than 20 gauge.
  • Barrel Length: Not less than 18 inches, with an overall length not less than 26 inches.
  • Shell Capacity: Must not be capable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. Shotguns with a capacity of more than 3 shells must have a one-piece plug that is irremovable without dismantling the shotgun.

Muzzleloader

  • Single- or double-barreled muzzleloading rifles of at least .45 caliber.
  • Scope: Allowed.
  • Refer to the Equipment section for the definition of a muzzleloader.

Handgun

  • Centerfire revolvers or centerfire single-shot handguns of .30 caliber or larger with a minimum barrel length of 4 inches.
  • Must use a bottleneck centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger or a straight-walled centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger. Both must be available as a factory load with at least 500-foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.

Centerfire Rifle

  • A bottleneck centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger.
  • OR a straight-walled centerfire cartridge of .30 caliber or larger, available as a factory load with at least 500-foot pounds of energy at the muzzle.
  • No full-metal jacket bullets allowed.
  • Must not be capable of holding more than 1 round in the magazine and chamber combined.
  • Refer to the Equipment section for the definition of a centerfire rifle.

Clothing Requirements

Blaze Orange or Blaze Pink

  • Headwear
    • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat must be worn during hunting seasons.
    Upper Outer Garment
    • An upper outer garment is required to display at least 400 square inches of blaze orange or blaze pink material.

    Purpose

    The clothing requirements serve a critical safety function during hunting seasons. The vibrant blaze orange or blaze pink color ensures visibility, reducing the risk of accidental shootings and promoting overall safety in the field. This requirement is designed to make hunters easily identifiable to each other, minimizing the potential for dangerous situations.

    Safety Significance

    The headwear and upper outer garments act as essential safety precautions, especially in areas where multiple hunters may be present simultaneously. The high-visibility color stands out in natural settings, making it easier for hunters to recognize each other and avoid potential incidents.

    Compliance

    Hunters must strictly adhere to these clothing requirements to ensure a safe hunting environment. Wearing the specified blaze orange or blaze pink attire is not only a legal obligation but a responsibility to contribute to the overall safety of the hunting community.

    Additional Considerations

    • Consistency: Verify the regulations for specific hunting seasons, as requirements may vary.

    • Material Specifications: Ensure that the blaze orange or blaze pink material meets the stipulated square-inch criteria.

    Note: Awareness and compliance with clothing requirements are vital elements of responsible and ethical hunting practices. Hunters are encouraged to prioritize safety by strictly following these guidelines.

Tagging and Harvest Reporting

  • Tagging: Immediately upon kill, detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. Attach the tag to the leg using a fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. Deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day using the toll-free telephone check-in system (1-866-452-4325) or accessing the online check-in system.

  • Option for Muzzleloader Deer Permit: Hunters tagging a deer with their muzzleloader deer permit during the second weekend of the firearm season may report their harvest either electronically or at a designated firearm deer check station by 8 pm on the day the deer was killed.

  • Mandatory Check Stations in CWD Counties: Deer harvested during firearm season in counties with CWD surveillance needs to be physically registered at a designated check station on the same day it was killed between 8 am and 8 pm. Check station locations are listed on the map and can be downloaded in the Firearm Deer Hunting Information for CWD Counties information sheet.

Muzzleloader Season Regulations

Allowed Firearms

During muzzleloader season, hunters can use the following types of firearms:

  • Muzzleloading Rifle:
    • Single or double-barreled.
    • At least .45 caliber.
    • Shoots a single projectile through a barrel of at least 16 inches in length.
    • A wad or sleeve is not considered a projectile or a part of the projectile.
    • Scope: Allowed.
    • Refer to the Equipment section for the definition of a muzzleloader.

Legal Archery Equipment

  • Legal archery equipment can be used during the muzzleloader season, but archery permits must be used.
  • Blaze orange/pink rules apply for clothing during this season.

Clothing Requirements

  • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat and an upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of blaze orange or blaze pink material must be worn.

Tagging and Harvest Reporting

  • Tagging: Immediately upon kill, detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. Attach the tag to the leg using the hunter's fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is also provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. The deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day using the toll-free telephone check-in system (1-866-452-4325) or accessing the online check-in system.

Additional Resources

  • Hunters are encouraged to download the "Firearm/Muzzleloader Deer Harvest Reporting & Hunting Regulations Information Sheet" for comprehensive information and guidance.

Note: Before reporting the harvested deer, hunters should review the questions listed on the back of their permit and be prepared to answer them. Compliance with these regulations is essential for responsible and legal hunting practices during the muzzleloader season.

Special Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Season Regulations

Allowed Firearms and Equipment

Hunters participating in the Special CWD Season can use:

  • Any legal firearms, muzzleloader, or handgun: Follow the specifications outlined in the Firearm Season section above.
  • Legal archery equipment: Archery permits must be used, and blaze orange/pink rules apply.

Counties Open

Refer to the map provided here to identify the counties open for the Special CWD Season.

Clothing Requirements

Hunters are required to wear the following clothing during the Special CWD Season:

  • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat.
  • An upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of blaze orange or blaze pink material.

Harvest Limits

Unlike other seasons, the two-antlered deer limit does not apply during the Special CWD Season.

Tagging and Harvest Reporting

  • Tagging: Immediately upon killing, hunters must detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. Attach the tag to the leg using the hunter's fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is also provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. Deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day using the toll-free telephone check-in system (1-866-452-4325) or accessing the online check-in system.

Additional Resources

Hunters are encouraged to download the "Firearm Deer Hunting Information for CWD Counties" PDF for comprehensive information and guidance during the Special CWD Season.

Note: Before reporting the harvested deer, hunters should review the questions listed on the back of their permit and be prepared to answer them. Compliance with these regulations is essential for responsible and ethical hunting practices during the Special CWD Season.

Late Winter Antlerless-Only Season Regulations

Allowed Firearms and Equipment

Hunters participating in the Late Winter Antlerless-Only Season can use:

  • Any legal firearms, muzzleloader, or handgun: Follow the specifications outlined in the Firearm Season section above.
  • Youth hunters: Limited to using a shotgun or muzzleloader.
  • Legal archery equipment: Archery permits must be used, and blaze orange/pink rules apply.

Counties Open

Refer to the map provided here to identify the counties open for the Late Winter Antlerless-Only Season.

Clothing Requirements

Hunters are required to wear the following clothing during the Late Winter Antlerless-Only Season:

  • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat.
  • An upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of blaze orange or blaze pink material.

Tagging

  • Tagging: Immediately upon killing, hunters must detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. Attach the tag to the leg using the hunter's fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is also provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. Deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

Harvest Reporting

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day using the toll-free telephone check-in system (1-866-452-4325) or accessing the online check-in system.

Additional Resources

Hunters are encouraged to download the "Late-Winter Deer Hunting Permit Information" for comprehensive details and guidance during the Late-Winter Antlerless-Only Season.

Note: Before reporting the harvested deer, hunters should review the questions listed on the back of their permit and be prepared to answer them. Compliance with these regulations is essential for responsible and ethical hunting practices during the Late Winter Antlerless-Only Season.

Youth Firearm Season Regulations

Eligibility

  • Youth Age Requirement: Youth must be less than 18 years of age on the first day of the hunt.
  • Permit Availability: Available to resident and nonresident youth with a limit of 1 either-sex deer permit.
  • Permit Validity: Valid on private land statewide with landowner permission or on public sites open to this season. Refer to the PDF list of open public sites for details.

Allowed Firearms

Youth participating in the Youth Firearm Season can use:

  • Shotgun, Centerfire Rifle, or Muzzleloader: Follow the specifications outlined in the Firearm Season section above.

Supervision

  • Each youth hunter must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult in immediate control at all times during the hunt.
  • The adult must have a current Illinois hunting license if a nonresident or if the youth is using an Apprentice or Youth hunting license.

Clothing Requirements

  • A solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat.
  • An upper outer garment displaying at least 400 square inches of blaze orange or blaze pink material must be worn by both the youth hunter and the supervisor.

Tagging

  • Tagging: Immediately upon killing, hunters must detach the appropriate leg tag from the permit to invalidate it. Attach the tag to the leg using the hunter's fastener through the holes provided. A head tag is also provided if the head or antlers are delivered to a taxidermist. The deer must remain whole (or field-dressed) until checked in.

Harvest Reporting

  • Harvest Reporting: Successful deer hunters must report their harvest by 10 pm on the same calendar day using the toll-free telephone check-in system (1-866-452-4325) or accessing the online check-in system.

Additional Resources

Hunters are encouraged to download the "Youth Deer Hunting Information Sheet" for comprehensive information and guidance during the Youth Firearm Season.

Pertinent Administrative Rules

Relevant administrative rules for the Youth Firearm Season include:

  • 510, 650, 660, 670, 675, 680, 685.

Management & Ecology of White-Tailed Deer in Illinois

Management Overview

The IDNR Division of Wildlife Resources plays a crucial role in the restoration, management, and protection of white-tailed deer and their habitats in Illinois. Historically, deer faced near-extirpation in the state by the late 19th century due to overharvest. Today, the management approach revolves around regulated hunting seasons and harvest quotas.

Restoration Success

  • Through concerted efforts, Illinois has successfully restored and maintained a healthy white-tailed deer population.

Regulated Hunting

  • Deer populations are primarily managed through regulated hunting seasons and carefully monitored harvest quotas.

Ecological Balance

  • Wildlife management involves a delicate balance between ecological principles and human interests.

Decision-Making Factors

  • IDNR incorporates information on harvest trends, hunter success rates, deer-vehicle collisions, and agricultural damage to establish county-wide harvest quotas.

Information Resources

  • Check Historic Deer Harvest: Utilize the IDNR Deer Harvest Query for historical data.
  • Statewide Reports: Access historical statewide reports under "Management by the Numbers."
  • County-Specific Summaries: Explore Deer Harvest Summaries by County under "Management by the Numbers."

Ecology Insights

Effective management strategies require a profound understanding of white-tailed deer ecology, encompassing:

Behavior

  • In-depth knowledge of deer behavior provides insights into their movements and habits.

Food and Habitat Preferences

  • Understanding the species' preferences in food and habitat aids in sustainable habitat management.

Disease Dynamics

  • Awareness of disease dynamics is crucial for preventing and managing potential outbreaks.

Disease Management in White-Tailed Deer

White-tailed deer are susceptible to various wildlife diseases, each with different implications for humans, livestock, wildlife, and deer populations. Understanding these diseases is crucial for effective management. Here is an overview:

Disease Landscape

  • White-tailed deer are subject to several wildlife diseases and parasites.
  • The impact of these diseases varies and can affect humans, livestock, other wildlife, and the deer population.

Reporting and Concerns

  • Reporting Sick or Dead Deer: Illinois hunters are encouraged to report sick or dead deer to the IDNR.
  • Abnormalities and Meat Concerns: If abnormalities are detected while field dressing a harvested deer, and there are concerns about consuming the meat, hunters should contact an IDNR District Wildlife Biologist.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Awareness

  • High Alert in Northern IL Counties: Hunters should be particularly aware of the presence of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in northern Illinois counties.

  • Required Deer Check: Hunters are required to check their deer during firearm seasons in CWD-affected counties.

  • Check Stations: More information about check stations in these counties is available here.

CWD Testing and Partnerships

  • Testing for CWD: Samples can be submitted from any county and will be tested by IDNR for Chronic Wasting Disease.

  • Partnerships for Testing: Collaboration with taxidermists and meat processing facilities encourages statewide testing.

Annual Results and Overview

  • Yearly Reporting: IDNR provides yearly results and an overview of CWD occurrence in Illinois.

  • Information Access: Find more information about white-tailed deer diseases, parasites, and CWD on the official IDNR website.

Conclusion

Understanding, reporting, and actively managing diseases in white-tailed deer, especially the vigilance for CWD, are integral components of responsible hunting practices. Hunters' cooperation and awareness contribute to ongoing efforts to monitor and mitigate disease impacts on deer populations in Illinois.

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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.