Wildlife Illinois

Hunt Planner


Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permit First Lottery Begins August 16!

Big River State Forest

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Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 2,970
  • Habitat: Area is a remnant of a vast prairie woodland border area that once covered much of Illinois and contains the area’s oldest pine plantation. Much of the forest has been converted from scrub hardwood to pine trees which grow upon the area’s sandy soil. Active habitat management will be occurring throughout the year on the site.

Site Specific Regulations

  • All statewide hunting regulations apply at site unless noted hereafter.
  • Site requires use of windshield card displayed on vehicle dashboard to report hunting effort and harvest by 15 February.
  • Use Hunt Planner to find hunting seasons open at this site.
  • Park in designated lots only.
  • Species-specific rules:


  • Open for Youth Season under statewide regulations.
  • Portable tree stands may be used but must be removed at the end of the day’s hunt.
  • Archery
    • Statewide regulations
  • Firearm
    • Legal hunting devices as described in 17 Ill. Adm. Code, Section 650.30 a)
    • A site-specific permit is allocated through the statewide lottery.
    • Permit holders must register at the check station by 5 am.
    • Standby one-day site-specific deer permits may be issued at the check station for $5.00 each.
    • Firearm deer hunters are required to check in and check out out at the check station.
  • Late Winter
    • Hunters may check on availability of county-wide permits for Late Winter Antlerless season.
    • Late-winter deer hunters can use late-winter permits, or unfilled BRSF firearm or Henderson county firearm permits.
    • Open/Closed by public announcement each fall.


  • All turkey hunters must check in and out at the check station.  
  • Open for Youth Season under statewide regulations.
  • Sign-in must be after 4 am each day.
  • Spring
    • Site-specific permits required
    • Permits may be obtained from the Springfield office for each season.
    • Only 6 permits will be allocated; no standby permits.
  • Fall
    • Statewide regulations for both firearm and archery
    • County permit required


  • Waterfowl hunting not permitted
  • Snipe and Rail
    • Statewide regulations


  • Squirrels
    • Shotgun only
  • Rabbits
    • Statewide regulations, except rabbit hunting not permitted during firearm deer hunting. 

Upland Birds

  • Pheasant and Quail  
    • Statewide regulations, except hunting not permitted during deer firearm season.
  • Dove
    • A drawing will be held at 11 am at the site office.
    • Sept 1-5, Dove season times will be 12 pm -5 pm
    • Beginning Sept 6, dove hunting hours are dictated by statewide regulation
    • Only steel shot, size #6 or smaller, or non-toxic equivalent may be used.
    • A drawing will be held at site office at 11:00AM if there are more hunters that site can accommodate.
  • Crow
    • Statewide regulations
    • Crow carcasses must be removed from the site
  • Woodcock
    • Statewide regulations


  • Trapping
    • Trapping not permitted
  • Hunting
    • Rimfire rifles .22 caliber and smaller may be used from sunset to sunrise.
    • Furbearer hunting closed during Firearm Deer Season
      • Hunters with a valid, unfilled firearm deer permit for the hunt area may take coyotes during legal hours of the firearm deer season. Otherwise, the use of shotgun slugs to take furbearing mammals is prohibited on state sites.
    • Coyote and striped skunk season coincides with the statewide fox season.
    • Windshield Card required