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Illinois hunting and fishing

Illinois hunting seasons coming rapid fire

September 07, 2012 at 09:29 AM

The State Journal-Register

Illinois’ fall hunting seasons are off and running.

Squirrel hunting season opened last month and teal season begins statewide Saturday.

Below is a list of early season dates plus some rule changes and reminders.

Crossbows legal

Crossbows are now legal during the second half of the archery deer-hunting season. Crossbow use previously was restricted to older hunters and those with disabilities.

A new law, signed last month by Gov. Pat Quinn, would allow any hunter to use a crossbow following the second Monday after Thanksgiving (Dec. 3) through the end of the archery season in mid-January.

Crossbows still are legal during the full archery season for those age 62 and over and those with disabilities.

Archery deer and turkey season opens Oct. 1 and closes Jan. 20.

Archery hunting goes on hiatus during the traditional firearm deer season Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

Baiting reminder

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding waterfowl hunters that mowing or tilling unharvested crop fields is not a normal agricultural practice, according to waterfowl hunting rules, and could be considered baiting.

Some landowners were removing failed crops before collecting crop insurance payments.

DNR says federal baiting laws still apply during times of drought, and these fields cannot legally be hunted unless any scattered material is removed at least 10 days before the season.

For complete regulations, visit:

Late-winter deer changes

Cass, Christian, Henry, Johnson, Lawrence, Mason, Morgan, Tazewell, Union and Wabash Counties will not be open for the 2012-2013 late-winter antlerless deer season.

According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, those counties have met their harvest goals set forth by the Joint Task Force on Deer Population Control in 2008.

Firearm hunters in those counties should plan to take their antlerless deer during the regular firearm or muzzleloader seasons.

There will be no changes in the counties open for the special CWD season which runs concurrently with the late-winter antlerless season.

Fifty-six counties are open for the late-winter season and 10 are open for the CWD season.

For more information, visit:

2012-13 hunting seasons

June 1-March 31: woodchuck
Aug. 1-Feb. 15: squirrel
Sept. 1-Oct. 28 and Nov. 3-14: dove
Sept. 1-15: early Canada goose season
Sept. 8-23: teal season statewide
Sept. 8-Nov. 16: sora and Virginia rail
Sept. 8-Dec. 23: common snipe
Oct. 1-Jan. 20: archery deer and turkey season
Oct. 6-7: youth firearm deer season
Oct. 20-28: fall shotgun turkey season
Oct. 20-Dec. 3: woodcock
Oct. 20-21: youth waterfowl hunt in the central zone (See link below for all proposed waterfowl seasons)
Oct. 20-Nov. 12 and Nov. 20-Jan. 31: Canada goose
Oct. 27-Dec. 25: duck season in the central zone
Oct. 27-Jan. 31: regular snow goose season
Oct. 28-Feb. 28: crow
Nov. 3-Jan. 8 (north) and Jan. 22 (south): rabbit
Nov. 3-Jan. 8 (north) and Jan. 15 (south): pheasant and quail
Nov. 5-Feb. 10 (north) and Nov. 10-Feb. 15 (south): raccoon and opossum
Nov. 10-Jan. 31: red and gray fox
Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2: traditional firearm deer season
Dec. 7-9 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2: muzzleloader deer season
Dec. 27-30 and Jan. 18-20: late-winter and CWD seasons
Year-round: coyote

Note: Many seasons close during the two weekends of firearm deer hunting season. Check the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for more information:


Nov. 5-Jan. 20 (north) and Jan. 25 (south): Furbearers other than woodchuck, river otter and beaver
Closes Sept. 20: woodchuck
Nov. 5-March 31 (north) and Nov. 10-March 31 (south): beaver, river otter
Jan. 20 (north) and Jan. 25 (south) through Feb. 15: extended spring season for mink and muskrat

Chris Young can be reached at (217) 788-1528.

Related stories

Illinois releases proposed waterfowl season dates

Illinois waterfowl hunters can look forward to a 60-day duck season again this year. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, today, announced proposed waterfowl season dates and bag limits 2012-13.

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