New Illinois Hunting Regulations for Fall

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The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is reminding hunters of new regulations in effect for the 2007-2008 deer hunting seasons, which are set to begin Oct. 1. The department has received calls from several individuals looking for clarification about the new changes for this year, specifically:

* Governor Blagojevich in August signed House Bill 320, which extends the allowable hunting hours for firearm deer hunting in Illinois by one-half hour. The previous firearm deer hunting hours were one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. The new law extends legal hunting hours for firearm deer hunting to one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

* Hunters 62 years of age and older are now permitted to use a crossbow without a special permit. Prior to the change, only persons with a disability or persons who had obtained a special use permit were allowed to use the devices. Hunters using a crossbow will need an archery deer permit and proof of age in the form of an official ID. Crossbows used in hunting as authorized by a permit issued under this section shall meet all of the following specifications:

  • 1) Shall have a minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds and a maximum peak draw weight of 200 pounds.
  • 2) Shall have a minimum limb width of 24 inches and a minimum overall length
  • (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches.
  • 3) Shall have a working safety.
  • 4) Shall be used with bolts or arrows of not less than 14 inches in length (not including point) with a broadhead. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable blades, but they must be barbless and have a minimum 7/8 inch diameter when fully opened. Broadheads with fixed blade must be metal or flint-, chert-, or obsidian-napped; broadheads with expandable blades must be metal.

Hunters who are under 62 years old and wish to use a crossbow are still required to obtain a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

Reminder: Some IDNR-managed areas that are open to firearm deer hunting are closed to all non-hunters during the weekends of Fri., Nov. 16- Sun., Nov 18 and Thurs., Nov. 29- Sun., Dec. 2. Visitors are encouraged to contact the site office in advance of visiting on these weekends for more details.