Youth Hunt Weekends Precede Start of Regular Waterfowl Seasons in Each Zone
A number of Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas and recreation areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2018 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt and South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. Federal sites that fall under the IDNR waterfowl administrative rule that will be open are also listed below.
At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the Youth Hunt (hunters should check for site-specific regulations, including changes in legal shooting hours). During the Youth Hunt, the bag limits are the same as during regular seasons.
As part of the Youth Hunt, hunters age 17 or younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers, as long as they are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. The accompanying adult cannot hunt these species, but may participate in other open seasons.
Youth hunters must have a hunting license, Youth Hunting License, or Apprentice Hunting License. The youth hunter or her or his accompanying adult must have a valid FOID card. The supervising adult does not need to have a hunting license if they are not hunting other species. Youth hunters age 15 or younger are not required to have state or federal duck stamps. However, youth hunters age 16 and older must have state and federal duck stamps, even if they are using an Illinois Youth Hunting License. Although Illinois Youth Hunting Licenses are available for hunters up to age 18, federal waterfowl hunting regulations do not allow hunters over age 17 to participate in youth hunts.
Special youth hunts taking place through the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Permit, or other youth only hunts at IDNR sites, are only open to youth hunters age 10 to 17. These special hunts include: Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area (Oct. 20 and 21), Clinton Lake State Recreation Area - Salt Creek and Disabled units (Oct. 20), Donnelly/DePue SFWA (Nov. 3 and Nov. 11), Larry D. Closson State Habitat Area (Oct. 20), Marshall SFWA – Duck Ranch Unit (Oct. 20 and 21), Spring Lake SFWA – Spring Lake Bottoms Unit (Nov. 11), and Southern Illinois Youth Waterfowl Hunt – Union County and Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Dec. 28). All other youth hunts are open to those ages 17 and younger.
All waterfowl hunters, including those participating in the Youth Hunt, are required to register with the Harvest Information Program. In order to register with HIP, hunters will need to have their hunting license number available. Hunters should register for HIP at the license vendor when they buy their hunting license, by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648), or online through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov
The lists of state and federal sites to be open during the Youth Waterfowl Hunts in the North, Central, South Central and South zones are below.
2018 South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 10-11) – State and Federal Sites Open
Cache River SNA
Cape Bend SFWA
Chauncey Marsh SNA
Crab Orchard NWR
Cypress Pond SNA
Deer Pond SNA
Embarras River Bottoms SHA
Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Alexander County)
Mermet Lake SFWA
Newton Lake SFWA
Saline County SFWA
Sielbeck Forest SNA
Shawnee National Forest
Union County SFWA
For more information on Illinois waterfowl seasons, check the IDNR Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2018-19, which is available at IDNR offices and online through the IDNR website here.