Illinois on map
About hunting in Illinois
Illinois is known for big white-tailed deer… and plenty of them. Hunters in Illinois and neighboring Iowa typically take more Boone and Crockett whitetails than those in any other state. Twenty-eight of the top fifty trophy deer counties are in those two states. The most famous big-buck-producing area in Illinois is known as the “Golden Triangle,” an area that includes Pike, Brown, and Adams counties. This area produced 102 Boone and Crockett whitetails between 1991 and 2006, and Pike County alone produced 41 between 1991 and 2010. While this area is the most famous, the nutrition and habitat conditions in Illinois are such that just about any part of the state can potentially produce a record-book whitetail. 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. The rich prairies of Illinois are some of the most valuable and productive agricultural areas in the world, and this farmland habitat has made Illinois a great place to hunt upland birds, including pheasants, quail, and doves; waterfowl including ducks and geese; and wild turkeys. Firearm deer hunting in Illinois is restricted to shotguns with slugs, muzzleloaders, or centerfire revolvers or single-shot handguns. 400 square inches of hunter orange is required during the firearm deer season and a hat is required for upland hunting. Learn more about Illinois hunting regulations at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/default.aspx.
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