Public waterfowl areas overview

August 22, 2007 at 11:55 AM

Here’s a press release from the Department of Natural Resources focusing on the role of public areas in waterfowl hunting.

SPRINGFIELD, IL - Generally good habitat conditions and the forecast of a very good migration of ducks from breeding grounds into Illinois this fall highlight the latest Illinois Waterfowl Public Hunting Areas Report from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Public waterfowl hunting areas are very important to Illinois duck hunters.  An Illinois waterfowl hunter survey found 43 percent of respondents indicating they most often hunted ducks on state and federal lands.  More than 58 percent of duck hunters reported attending a waterfowl blind drawing.  Attendance at these drawings is testimony to the popularity of many state duck hunting areas, with many drawings attracting 10 to 40 times as many participants as there are blinds available. 

According to the 2006-07 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, there were 75,489 hunter trips on the 51 public waterfowl hunting areas that have some form of reporting activity in Illinois.  There are many large public areas on the Mississippi River and other parts of the state that have no method of tracking hunter activity, but they also contribute to much of the duck hunting that occurs in Illinois.  For the 51 areas that track activity, hunters harvested 90,427 ducks last year.  Of those, 49,913 were mallards - the most popular duck to hunt among Illinois duck hunters.  The overall hunter success rate on these areas of 1.20 ducks per hunter per day was much better than the statewide average (0.77) that includes private land and public land hunting.  Most duck hunters know that unless they belong to a private duck hunting club, the best hunting in the state often occurs on these public areas.

One of the best measures of a quality duck hunting area is the hunter success rate.  Of those areas where more than 1,000 ducks were harvested last year, the top areas in the state in terms of hunter success greater than one duck per hunter per day were:

  • Sanganois (1.86 ducks/hunter; 6,657 ducks)
  • Rice Lake (1.80 d/h; 7,268 ducks)
  • Batchtown (1.80 d/h; 6,720 ducks)
  • Woodford (1.71 d/h; 3,884 ducks)
  • Godar-Diamond (1.55 d/h; 4,907 ducks)
  • Lake DePue (1.54 d/h; 1,414)
  • Anderson Lake (1.48 d/h; 3,891 ducks)
  • Lake Shelbyville (1.39 d/h; 2,028 ducks)
  • Stump Lake (1.35 d/h; 6,554 ducks)
  • Glades-12 Mile Island (1.32 d/h; 3,157 ducks)
  • Union County (1.30 d/h; 1,695 ducks)
  • Calhoun Point (1.20 d/h; 2,927 ducks)
  • Horseshoe Lake in Madison Co. (1.12 d/h; 3,556 ducks)
  • Rend Lake (1.11 d/h; 7,925 ducks)
  • Marshall (1.08 d/h; 2,114 ducks)
  • Carlyle Lake (1.07d/h; 8,027 ducks)
  • Mazonia-Braidwood (1.00 d/h; 3,073 ducks)
  • Kaskaskia River (1.00 d/h; 2,017 ducks) 

Other good areas with harvest of more than 500 ducks included:

  • Powerton Lake (1.03 d/h; 516 ducks)
  • Donnelley (1.00 d/h, 530 ducks)
  • Spring Lake (0.99 d/h, 544 ducks)
  • Horseshoe Lake in Alexander Co. (0.97 d/h, 1,449 ducks)
  • Clinton Lake (0.95 d/h; 1,017 ducks)
  • Chain O’ Lakes (0.81 d/h; 784 ducks)
  • Cache River (0.79 d/h; 793 ducks)
  • Sangchris Lake (0.67 d/h; 877 ducks)
  • Heidecke Lake (0.59 d/h; 568 ducks)
  • Ten Mile Creek (unknown d/h; 643 ducks)