Illinois’ most popular hunting season, the split seven-day Firearm Deer Season, concludes Dec. 3. Legal hunting hours on those days are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Hunters who take a deer during the firearm season in most Illinois counties must register the deer they harvest online, or through the toll-free phone check-in system. A link to the online deer registration system is available at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/HarvestReporting.aspx.
The toll-free phone deer registration line is 1-866-IL-CHECK (1-866-452-4325). Hunters registering deer through the online or phone systems must do so by 10 p.m. on the day they take the deer.
In many northern Illinois counties where chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in deer, hunters are required to register all deer harvested during firearm season by taking them to a check station (listed below) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Biologists will be present to take CWD samples for testing at the time of registration. Testing is voluntary, but all hunters with adult deer are encouraged to participate.
The counties where hunters are required to check in their deer at check stations are:
Boone: Boone Co. Fairgrounds, 1/2 mi. north of Rt. 76 and Business Rt. 20, Belvidere
DeKalb: Shabbona Lake State Park, 4201 Shabbona Grove Road., Shabbona
Grundy: Gebhard Woods State Park, 401 Ottawa St., Morris
Jo Daviess: Elizabeth Community Building, 210 N. West St., Elizabeth, IL, 1/2 mi. west of business district on Hwy. 20, next to the Highland C.C. Elizabeth campus
Kane: Use Boone, DeKalb, Kendall, or McHenry check station
Kankakee: Kankakee River State Park Visitor Center, 4 mi. northwest of Bourbonnais at 5214 W. State Rt. 102
Kendall: Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, 4.5 mi. west of Yorkville at 13608 Fox Road
LaSalle: Buffalo Rock State Park, 3 mi. west of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road
Livingston: Pontiac Sportsman’s Club, northwest of Livingston Co. Fairgrounds at 18663 4-H Park Road, Pontiac (just west of I-55)
McHenry: Moraine Hills State Park McHenry Dam Day Use Area, east of McHenry on River Road., 2.2 mi. south of Rt. 120
Ogle: Castle Rock State Park, Rt. 2, 3 mi. south of Oregon, IL
Stephenson: County Fairgrounds, 1 mi. east of Rt. 26 and Fairgrounds Rd., Freeport
Will: Des Plaines Game Propagation Center, east of I-55 at 30550 S. Boathouse Road, Wilmington
Winnebago: Rock Cut State Park, 6425 Hart Rd., Loves Park, 0.9 mi. east of N. Perryville Rd. on Hart Road.
Hunters participating in CWD sampling can check the status of their deer (listed by phone number) through the IDNR website. Hunters who provide samples from deer that test positive are notified by the IDNR.
For more information on CWD in Illinois, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/CWD.
For a detailed information sheet on firearm deer hunting in counties with check stations for chronic wasting disease sampling, visit www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Documents/FirearmDeerHuntingInfoCountiesTestingCWD.pdf.
In addition to the seven-day Illinois Firearm Deer Season, other deer hunting seasons in the state include the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 8-10, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season (in select counties) on Dec. 28-31, 2017 and January 12-14, 2018.
The Illinois Archery Deer Season, which opened on Oct. 1, is open through Jan. 14, 2018 (except closed in counties open to Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3).
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2017-2018 at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/documents/HuntTrapDigest.pdf .