Illinois Archery Season

Illinois archery season offers archers excellent opportunities for hunting whitetail. The Prairie State is prime territory for deer hunting, with extensive seasons and high-quality animals. 

The hilly terrain creates pinch points and funnels ideal for ambush hunting with the bow. It's a great choice for those hunters that don't want to travel far distances on foot.

Illinois Archery Season

Illinois (IL) Archery Season, 2022-2023

The only catch with hunting in Illinois is the expensive tag fees. Chronic Wasting Disease is also a problem in certain regions, but the game quality is generally excellent if you know where to look. There are outstanding opportunities for hunters on public land along Anderson Lake, Sand Ridge, Banner Marsh, the State Forest, and the Illinois River.

Non-resident tags are available with easy over-the-counter access, making it a popular destination for hunters from all states across the Midwest. Statewide animal and deer populations are stable, with the Deer Management Task Force responsible for managing populations.

When does Archery Season Start in IL?

Illinois Deer Seasons

  • Archery October 1 - January 15

Successful hunters must report their harvest before 10 pm on the day they take the animal. Review the requirements on the backside of your permit card before reporting your harvest.

Illinois Wild Turkey Seasons

  • Fall Archery October 1 - January 15

Please note: due to hunter safety, the fall archery season is closed during the firearms season.

Illinois Small Game Seasons

  • Bobwhite Quail November 5 - January 15**

  • Hungarian Partridge November 5 - January 15**

  • Rabbit November 5 - February 15

  • Gray and Fox Squirrel August 1 - February 15 (closed during deer firearms seasons)

  • Crow October 28 - February 28

**Season opening dates may vary by region.

Most small game seasons have temporary suspensions during firearms season for safety reasons. Special seasons, bag limits, and hunting regulations vary based on season and animal.

What are the legal hunting hours in Illinois?

The legal hunting hours in Illinois are from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset in all regions.

Hunting Licenses and Permits in IL

All hunters born on or after January 1, 1980, must have a Hunter Education Certificate to purchase a hunting permit or license legally. Hunters can buy licenses through the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website or approved vendors.

Illinois Resident

Residents are individuals residing in Illinois for a minimum period of 30 days. Illinois residents must secure a resident license.


Non-residents must buy a non-resident permit. State habitat stamps and species-specific licenses may be required.

Youth Hunting License

Residents aged 17 or under must purchase a Resident Youth Hunting and Trapping License. These individuals must hunt under the supervision of licensed adult hunters.

Senior Hunting License

Residents 65 or older may apply for the reduced-fee Resident Senior Hunting License.

Disability License

Disabled residents do not need a hunting permit. However, state habitat stamps and species-specific licenses may be required, depending on the species.

Migratory Waterfowl Licenses

Hunters 18 or older must buy a Federal Duck Stamp and Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp for hunting all species of migratory waterfowl. Additionally, hunters must carry proof of participation in the Harvest Information Program (HIP).

License Expiration

Hunting stamps and licenses are legal from the purchase date through March 31, 2023. Illinois residents have the option of purchasing a lifetime hunting license.

Check out our guide 30+ Hunting Rules to Keep You Safe while bowhunting in the wild.

Gregory Johnson

With almost 20 years of archery experience under his belt, Gregory founded the Complete Guide to Archery website in 2019. His purpose has been to spread knowledge about the hobby and sport to anyone willing to learn.