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 (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.
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.
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).
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.