Wildlife Illinois

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Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area

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Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: Total Acres – 5,400; Huntable Acres – 3,500; Habitat Types: Timber – 1,550, Grasslands – 3,400, Wetlands – 380
  • Habitat: A tranquil setting, flowing rivers and natural prairie land with an abundance of wildlife. Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area is open habitats such as native prairie, cool season grasses and agricultural fields. Woodlands, wetlands & river (Des Plaines & Kankakee) frontage account for the balance of the site.
  • Digital Map
  • Printable Site Map
  • Printable Waterfowl Map
  • Printable Hunting Areas Map

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.
  • IMPORTANT Areas open to hunting & dog training are also open to field trials. Use extreme caution to avoid user group conflicts.
  • Parking is only allowed in open numbered IDNR parking lots and along the entrance drive. Not all parking lots will be open during all hunting seasons.
  • No parking allowed along roadways.
  • Species-specific rules:

Deer

Archery

  • Archery deer open during statewide season, except during Pheasant Permit and non-permit seasons: only open on Mondays and Tuesdays during that time.
  • Archery deer hunters may take coyotes during archery deer season.
  • Hunters must sign in and sign out daily. Failure to do so will result in loss of hunting privileges.
  • Tree Stands: Only portable non-piercing tree stands/steps allowed, must be removed daily.
  • Parking is allowed in open numbered IDNR parking lots. Not all parking lots will be open during all hunting seasons.
  • Scouting is allowed, but the dog training area and areas that are open to hunting are open to the public. Use extreme caution to avoid user group conflicts.

Firearm

  • Open first season ONLY
  • Permits allocated through state lottery.
  • Hunters to register by 5 am each day of season.
  • Vacancies will be filled by drawing from any person with valid hunting license, habitat stamp, & valid FOID card.
  • Standby hunters will be issued a one-day site specific deer permit and charged $5.00.
  • Hunters must check out daily and report harvest.
  • Harvest must also be checked according to statewide regulations.
  • Only portable non-piercing tree stands/steps allowed and must be removed daily.

Turkey

  • No turkey hunting permitted.

Waterfowl

Blind Construction & Allocation

  • Blind sites shall be determined by the Department and marked by numbers.
  • All blinds shall be allocated for a one-year period by a public drawing. The time and place for the drawing will be publicly announced by the Department.
  • Registrants for the drawing must be at least 16 years old and possess a current or preceding year’s Illinois hunting license, and a current or preceding year’s Illinois Migratory Waterfowl Stamp.  Applicants must be present at the time of registration and drawing to be eligible to receive a blind at the drawing.
  • Blinds must be placed at or within 10 feet of an IDNR marked site, be at least 4′ by 8′, sturdy enough to withstand daily usage, and must be maintained in good condition by the blind builders throughout the season. Boat hides are required and must be 18′ by 6′ and shall be sturdy enough to withstand daily use, and must also be maintained in good condition throughout the season. All blinds must be final brushed with the following allowable materials: Cattails, phragmites (with seed heads removed), native grasses and commercial blind covering. No trees, tree branches, logs or pine bowes will be allowed. The use of unallowable materials will result in forfeiture of blind. 
  • Blinds built over water must be of platform construction with the platform constructed above normal water conditions or they may be floating blinds.
  • Blinds must be completed, including final brushing, 3 weeks in advance of the opening date of the duck season, after which time the Department of Natural Resources will inspect all blinds and blind sties and issue Blind Registration Cards to those which pass inspection. Blind builders must post the Blind Registration Card in the blind prior to the first day of duck season. If adverse water conditions make compliance with this rule difficult, the District Wildlife Biologist may grant exceptions to the schedule. Failure to comply with guidelines may result in loss of blind rights and use.
  • Sites on which blinds have not been built, as well as sites on which blinds of an unsatisfactory quality have been built, will be reassigned to alternates selected at the drawing. All reassigned blinds and boats hides must be completed, including final brushing, in advance of the opening date of the waterfowl season.
  • Previous year’s blind builders shall have until Feb. 1 to salvage materials from the blind sites, otherwise blind materials on site become property of the Department or the new blind builders.
  • No more than 3 persons shall be registered for assignment at any one blind site. Blind builders shall submit partner names on a blind registration form as directed by August 31. Failure to do so will result in forfeiture of blind. After August 31 no changes will be accepted.
  • No person shall be allowed to be a blind builder or partner on more than one Waterfowl Management Area in Illinois.
  • Blind winners will be provided forms of the purpose of maintaining waterfowl harvest records. The forms must be completed and returned by February 15 or the blind builders and partners for that blind will not be allowed to be a blind builder or partner at this site for the following year.
  • For the 2020 – 2021 season, blind #21 will be boat blind only.  All blind builders rights, rules and regulations apply.  Boat blinds must be within 10 feet of the stake.

Waterfowl Hunting Regulations

  • Blind builders or partners must occupy their blinds 1 hour before opening shooting time each day in order to claim their blind.
  • Attempts to claim blinds by any manner other than actual occupation shall be considered in violation of this part, and shall be cause for arrest. The insertion of a boat into the boat hide and/or the spreading of decoys before a blind shall not be considered legal occupation of a blind.
  • A blind not legally occupied by 1 hour before opening shooting hour each day may be claimed by anyone on a first come basis.
  • No person shall fish within 250 yards of an occupied blind within the hunting area.
  • No person shall hunt, or attempt to hunt, waterfowl and coots except from within a registered blind.
  • No person under 16 years of age shall hunt, or attempt to hunt, unless accompanied by an adult.
  • All hunting parties shall hunt with at least 12 decoys. Decoys shall be staked, placed, or floating, be individually visible, be at least 8 inches long, and not be within a boat, blind or container.
  • No person shall trespass, for any purpose, on areas posted as Refuge or Waterfowl Rest Areas.
  • Not more than 4 persons shall occupy a blind at one time.
  • Blinds shall not be locked.
  • Claiming or attempting to claim a blind which is legally occupied, and/or to harass, in any manner, the occupants of a blind which has been legally occupied is unlawful.
  • Blinds must include a dog hide that is on the same level as the blind. The dog hide can either be incorporated into the blind by providing a hole at floor level that measures at least 20 inches high by 20 inches wide or by providing a separate compartment that is attached to the blind. Hides attached to the blind should have a minimum floor space that measures 2 feet by 2 feet and should be at least 2.5 feet high with two openings. One opening should be between the blind and the dog hide, should measure at least 20 inches by 20 inches, and should be constructed at the same level at the blind floor. The water access opening should be at least 20 inches wide and 20 inches high. Hides either within the blind or attached should have an enforced ramp to water level that is at least 15 inches wide with cleats every 12 inches. Openings in the blind must be capable of being closed when not in use.
  • Youth Waterfowl season is held the weekend preceding the duck season opener – follow statewide regulations.

September Teal Season/Early Goose Season

  • The September teal season dates will be publicly announced when available.
  • Hunting rights are first come first served for all blind locations.
  • Hunting is from numbered sites only. Blinds do not need to be completed.

Squirrels/Rabbits

  • Rabbit hunting permitted, see Upland Birds – Pheasant, Quail, Rabbit: Non-permit section below.
  • Squirrel hunting is not permitted.

Upland Birds

Pheasant – Permit

  • Permit season is from October 4th through November 19 and November 25 through January 3rd.
  • Disabled Pheasant Hunt – 1 hunter per day by permit only during permit pheasant season.
  • Hours are from 9am to 4pm.
  • Permit applications are available on the IDNR Upland Game Hunting web page.
  • REGISTER: 7 am – 8 am.
  • Closed: Monday’s & Tuesday’s, Youth hunt day, First firearm deer season & Christmas Day.
  • Thanksgiving Day closed at 1:00 pm.
  • Shot size: #3 or smaller steel or other non-toxic approved shot.
  • Blaze orange cap & upper garment & IDNR patch required.
  • Archers must use flu-flu arrows only.
  • Bag limit: Two pheasants of either sex.
  • Pheasants must posses an IDNR tag before removing from area.
  • Standby available.
  • Hunters required to hunt in assigned area for first hour.

Pheasant, Quail, Rabbit: Non-permit

  • Non permit season is from January 6th through January 10th.
  • Hours are from 9am – 4pm.
  • 150 hunters per day
  • REGISTER: 7 am – 8 am.
  • Shot size: #3 or smaller steel or other non-toxic approved shot.
  • Blaze orange cap & upper garment & IDNR patch required.
  • Archers must use flu-flu arrows only.
  • Bag limit: Two pheasants of either sex.
  • Pheasants must posses an IDNR tag before removing from area.
  • Statewide bag limits apply for quail & rabbit.
  • Hunters required to hunt in assigned area for first hour.

Dove – Permit

  • Season from September 1-5.
  • Hours from Noon to 5pm.
  • Permit allocated through state lottery.
  • REGISTER: 9 am – 11 am.
  • Permit void after 11 am.
  • Vacancies filled by sign in sheet/drawing at 11 am.
  • Must wear a Department issued back patch & hunt within 10 feet of marked locations.
  • No loaded guns to or from the hunting area.
  • No guns allowed in field when retrieving birds.
  • Shot size: # 6 or smaller steel or other non-toxic approved shot.

Dove – Non-permit

  • Season from September 6 – 30.
  • Hours from Noon – sunset.
  • First come first served.
  • Must hunt within 10 feet of marked locations.
  • No loaded guns to or from the hunting area.
  • No guns allowed in field when retrieving birds.
  • Shot size: # 6 or smaller steel or other non-toxic approved shot.

Furbearers

  • Hunting
    • Coyote
      • May be taken with a shotgun from the day after archery deer season closes until February 28
      • Pursuit of coyotes with dogs is prohibited
      • Archery deer hunters may take coyotes during archery deer season

Amenities

  • Archery Range – open 7 days a week. Sunrise to Sunset. Closed during pheasant hunting season. No broadheads allowed.
  • Boat access – on the Kankakee River, open 7 days a week, except closed during pheasant hunting.
  • Field trails
  • Fishing
  • Hand Trap Ranges open sunrise to sunset 7 days a week. Closed during pheasant hunting season. Shotgun Only. No battery operated throwers. Lead shot #6 or smaller or Steel #4 or smaller.
  • Wingshooting Clinics
  • More information