Illinois Deer Hunting

Sports are huge in Illinois. The Fire, Blackhawks, Whitesox, Cubs, and ‘da Bulls and ‘da Bears are all professional teams. They are all in Chicago. If you want a larger playing area, not confined by rinks, courts, fields, or particular cities, try deer hunting statewide. Hunters, the woods are your playground.

Deer hunting went unchecked until the 1850’s, providing food and clothing for all. The herd was noticeably decreasing in number. Seeing this, many northern counties began a half-year season. With no population improvement, deer hunting was officially closed for the state in 1901, temporarily.

Breeding programs began in the 1930’s, and deer were brought in from out of state. The herds did well, but remained to the areas they were released. Trapping and transporting began on a county to county basis.

The impermanent ban was lifted in 1957. Check stations began providing information, such as age, sex, and harvest totals, that directly influenced the number of permits counties were allowed to sell. Though controversial, either sex was allowed to be harvested.

Let the numbers speak for themselves. At present, Illinois is teeming with deer. Rut dates begin early November. Long live the sport.

Illinois Deer Hunting Facts

  • Around 800,000 deer
  • Over 500,000 hunters
  • Top typical buck is 204 4/8, taken by Mel Johnson in Peoria County in 1965 with a bow, which is also the world record in archery
  • Top non-typical buck is 304 3/8, taken by Jerry Bryant in Fulton County in 2001 with a crossbow
    Illinois, an Indian name meaning warriors, has rebounded nicely with their deer population. Thankfully, you can hunt them.

Popular Public Hunting Areas in Illinois
Fox Ridge State Park – More than 1,000 acres of woodland hunting along the Embarras River. For more information, check out this site.

Illinois Private Hunting Areas
Do you own private hunting land or offer guided hunts in Illinois? Contact us about a listing in this section!

Other Resources
For Illinois hunting license information, rules and regulations, visit the Deer Hunting section of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.