Illinois hunting laws and regulations are presided over the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Illinois hunting laws and provisions will differ on the basis of what kind of game is desired to be hunted, as well as if the hunter is a current resident of the state or a non-resident.
Illinois hunting laws provide for hunting of various types of game, including deer, turkey, and small game such as squirrels. Waterfowl and doves are also considered as fair game in the state. All the hunting of the various game in Illinois is subject to season restrictions and specifications, and the proper Illinois hunting license must be obtained prior to engaging in any hunting activity.
There are certain general requirements needed to obtain an Illinois hunting license that vary according to whether the applicant is a resident or a non-resident. For residents of the state, applicants for an Illinois hunting license must meet the following:
Be a resident of the state of Illinois for at least thirty days prior to the submission of the application.
Hunters born after January 1st, 1980, must have completed the Hunter Education Course as provided by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
Applicants must apply for the appropriate hunting license, which are categorized by age group and military service, as well as the type of game allowed to be hunted.
Non-residents of the state will have to follow similar procedures regarding the general guidelines to obtain an Illinois hunting license, for the exception being that they must apply for a non-resident license.
Illinois hunting laws are also regulated according to the type of game and type of hunting weapons that are to be employed. Under Illinois hunting laws, those having a firearm in their possession must also furnish a Firearm Owner's I.D., regardless of who actually owns the firearm. There specific Illinois hunting licenses for deer hunting with a firearm that must be observed, and they include:
It is illegal to hunt deer in an area that is not specified for deer hunting, or out of deer season.
It is illegal to hunt all white-tailed deer, for it is a protected species under Illinois hunting laws.
All deer must appropriately tagged immediately after the kill.
It is illegal to posses a sidearm while hunting with a firearm, unless that sidearm is considered lawful for that particular season.
It is illegal to kill more than one deer per permit season.
It is illegal to hunt deer using salt or any other kind of bait.
Blaze Orange hunting clothing must be worn at all times.
Hunting deer with archery equipment follows similar provisions as those listed for firearm deer hunting. Deer hunting season will typically start as early as October and last until mid January, depending on the hunting location and region, as well as the type of hunting of deer being employed.
Illinois hunting laws also permit the hunting of migratory bird game in the state. The appropriate Illinois hunting license is required, and it is also required that registration with the National Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program be completed every year. Illinois provides for very specific laws regarding what kind of migratory birds are fair game, as well as what kind of ammunition is allowed to be used. Similar provisions also exist for the hunting of small game, turkey, and other animals such as coyotes.
Illinois hunting laws can prove to be quite extensive and extremely specific. Aside from acquiring an Illinois Hunting license, it is strongly recommended that Illinois Department of Natural Resources be consulted regarding the restrictions and regulations for hunting within the state's borders. To further assists hunters, the Illinois DNR makes available the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations each year, which provides for an in-depth look at all the various laws and provisions, as well as detailed maps for hunting grounds, and new provisions or laws implemented for that new hunting season.