Wildlife Illinois

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Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area

Site Contact Info

Site Characteristics

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.
  • Hunters should be aware that Lake Shore Road is closed from Nov 1 – May 1, so vehicular access is not available for tree stand removal. Walk-in/walk-out access.
  • Species-specific rules:

Deer

  • Archery
    • Statewide regulations
    • Hunting restricted to those areas posted as open to hunting and hunters are permitted in those areas only during hunting hours. 
    • During the site’s pheasant hunting program (starting in Nov), archery deer hunting is permitted Wednesday through Sunday with hours from 2 pm to ½ hour after sunset, and statewide hours on Mondays and Tuesdays.
    • Any deer harvested must be checked in/reported
    • One non-piercing, portable tree stand is allowed per hunter. Tree stands may be erected beginning Sept 15 and must be removed by sunset on Jan 31. Tree stands left unattended must be marked with the owner’s name, address, and telephone number.
  • Special Firearm Deer Hunting for Disabled Individuals
    • Hunters in possession of a P2A card are eligible to participate in a special firearm deer hunt held the 1st Thursday and Friday in November. 
    • All statewide regulations for firearm deer hunting apply to this special hunt. 
    • Each hunter can be accompanied by one non-hunting partner or guardian. 
    • Hunters wishing to participate must contact the Johnson-Sauk Trail Office at 309-853-2425 by September 30 to apply and reserve a slot.

Turkey

  • Fall Archery
    • Site is closed to fall archery turkey Wednesday through Sunday during site’s pheasant permit season. Open statewide hours on Mondays and Tuesdays
    • Hunting is restricted to those areas posted as open to hunting and hunters are permitted in those areas only during hunting hours.
    • Any turkey harvested must be checked in/reported as outlined in the statewide regulations for reporting harvests during the regular seasons.
    • Closed during deer firearm season.
  • Spring Turkey
    • Turkey hunters must possess a site-specific turkey permit. Permits are issued through the Springfield permit office.
    • Must check-in at the sign-in box at the parking lot kiosks.
    • Turkey hunters must check out and report harvested turkey at the sign-in box.
    • In addition, turkeys harvested on this site must be reported via the statewide telephone reporting system as outlined on the turkey hunting permit. The report should indicate the turkey was harvested on the Special Hunt Area Johnson-Sauk Trail SRA and not in Henry County.

Waterfowl

  • Waterfowl hunting not permitted

Squirrels

  • Season begins the day after Labor Day thru Sept 30. The season reopens the day after the archery deer season closes and remains open until the end of the statewide season.
  • Hunters are to sign-in/out at hunter parking lot kiosk and record their harvest.  
  • May only use or possess lead, tungsten, or bismuth shot of size #5 or smaller; or steel of size #3 or smaller.

Rabbits

  • Statewide regulations, except closed on site on Mondays and Tuesdays, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Also closed the Thursday and Friday after the first Saturday in November when the first Saturday in November is November 1 through 3. All hunting seasons may be subject to early closure. Hunting is permitted from 9 am – 4 pm and on Thanksgiving Day from 9 am – 1 pm.
  • The Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt, during which rabbit may be taken, is the first Saturday following the opening of the season. Youth hunting opportunities on site are the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Friday after Christmas. Youth hunters must have obtained a permit.
  • Site-specific permits are required and are available at Free Upland Game Online Permit Application Site for rabbits; HOWEVER, a Controlled Pheasant Permit is ALSO required, a fee is charged.
  • Permit holders must check in at a manned check station and be present at the drawing. Stand-by hunting permits may be issued. Late-arriving hunters may register late. (For greater detail, see Upland Bird section.)
  • Hunters must hunt in assigned areas until 10 am.
  • Hunters must check out and report harvest by 4 pm.
  • Hunters must wear blaze orange.
  • Non-toxic shot required. Flu flu arrows must be used by archery hunters.
  • 4 rabbit harvest limit
  • The Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt, during which rabbit may be taken, is the second Sunday in the season. Youth hunting opportunities on site are the Sunday after Thanksgiving and the Friday after Christmas. Youth hunters must have obtained a permit.

Upland Birds

  • Pheasant, Quail, or Hungarian Partridge
    • Statewide regulations except closed Mondays and Tuesdays, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Also closed the Thursday and Friday after the first Saturday in November when the first Saturday in November is November 1 through 3.
    • Hunting is permitted from 9 am – 4 pm and on Thanksgiving Day from 9 am – 1 pm.
    • Site-specific permits are required and are available at the IDNR Controlled Pheasant Site.
      • This is a controlled pheasant hunting area, for upland hunting season a fee is charged.
    • Hunters must check-in and check-out at a manned check station, operated during the upland game season.
      • Check-in time is 8 am. A drawing will be held at the 8:30 am. Permit holders must be present at drawing.
      • Remaining openings after initial drawing for registered hunters will be filled by a secondary “stand-by” drawing to be held immediately after the first drawing.
      • Quota refills are not allowed. If hunters check-out, other hunters will not be permitted to hunt.
      • When daily quotas are not filled at the conclusion of the drawings, late-arriving hunters may register from 11:45 am until 12 pm, unless an earlier time is posted at the site check station.
    • Hunters must hunt in assigned areas until 10 am.
    • All fields must be cleared and game checked in by 4 pm.
    • Upland bird hunters are required to wear a cap and upper outer garment of solid and vivid blaze orange of at least 400 square inches.
    • Shotguns with non-toxic shot are required (as defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 50 CFR 20). Permitted are size #3 or smaller steel, #4 or smaller bismuth, # 5 or smaller tungsten-iron, tungsten polymer, or tungsten-matrix shot.
    • Only flu flu arrows may be used by archery hunters.
    • Harvest limits: 2 pheasants (either sex may be harvested), 8 bobwhite quail, 2 Hungarian partridges.
  • Youth
    • The Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt is the first Saturday following the opening of the statewide upland game season.
    • Youth hunting opportunities on site are the Sunday after Thanksgiving and Friday after Christmas.
    • Permitting information can be found here
  • Doves
    • Hunting is restricted to those areas posted as open to hunting. Hunters with weapons are not allowed in the field except during hunting hours.
    • Must use or possess only non-toxic shot (as defined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 50 CFR 20), #6 steel shot or #7 bismuth shot or smaller. Bow and arrow is not allowed.
    • Further restrictions may exist. See regulations posted at site before hunting.
    • September 1-5
      • Hours: Noon – 5 pm
      • Permits issued by Springfield Office for dove hunting Sept 1- 5.
      • Dove hunters with permits must check-in at the manned check station at 10:30 am. A drawing will be held to assign stakes and to limit hunter numbers to quotas if necessary. A second drawing may take place for stand-by hunters without permits if stake availability exists.
        • This drawing takes place at 11 am.
      • Daily quota refills are allowed. If hunter sign-out, other hunters may be assigned that stake.
      • Must hunt at assigned stake.
      • Must check-out at the manned station. The check station will be operated at the Marian building/restaurant (Red Earth Cafe) during the first five days of dove season.
    • September 6-30
      • Hours: Sunset to Sunrise
      • When the check station is not staffed, hunters are required to sign in and out at the hunter parking lot kiosk and must record their harvest

Furbearers

  • Trapping
    • Contact site for drawing information.
    • No foothold water sets allowed. Dog-proof traps are required
  • Hunting
    • Archery only
    • Fox and coyote hunting is by bow and arrow only and is open only when the site’s archery deer season is open. Site fox season begins when the statewide fox season opens, runs concurrently with the site archery deer season, and closes the earlier of either the statewide fox season closing or the site archery deer season closing.
    • Hunting is restricted to those areas posted as open to hunting and hunters are permitted in those areas only during hunting hours.

Amenities