Wildlife Illinois

Hunt Planner


Apply for your Deer Firearm/Muzzeloader Permit beginning March 8, 2022!

Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area

Site Contact Info

Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 7,690
  • Habitat: Consists of bottomland hardwoods, upland ag fields, and surrounding land including 3,000 acres of impounded water in the sub-impoundments managed primarily for waterfowl. Food is produced both by tenant farming, site staff farming, and moist-soil production. About 5,000 acres are managed as a waterfowl refuge. All areas are open to fishing most of the year with the refuge area being closed during waterfowl use periods.
  • Digital Map
  • Printable Map

Site Specific Regulations

  • All statewide hunting regulations apply at site unless noted hereafter
  • Use Hunt Planner to find hunting seasons open at this site
  • Hunters must remove tree stands and ground blinds daily.
  • All hunting and trapping on the refuge is closed except October 1-31.
  • No ATV access.
  • Species-specific rules:


  • Archery
    • Statewide regulations, except that in the refuge area from October 1-October 31
    • Each hunter must sign-in and sign-out and report harvest at the sign-in box next to the site headquarters
    • An antlerless deer must be taken in the refuge before an antlered deer is harvested
    • Only one tree stand or ground blind is allowed per deer permit holder. It will be unlawful to construct or to use any tree stand using nails, screws or wires or any device which pierces or cuts the bark of the tree on which it is installed. Tree stands and ground blinds must be portable and must be removed at the end of each day. No permanent tree stands are permitted.
  • Firearm
    • Statewide regulations.
    • The refuge is closed to firearm deer hunting.


  • Statewide regulations.


  • 2021 Casey Fork Waterfowl Hunting Procedures:
    • Hunters will need to pull in front of check station in a marked drive thru lane and stay in their vehicles.
    • Staff will record all hunters’ names in that party on a sign-in/waterfowl harvest card
    • Hunting parties will be assigned a lottery ball number which will be recorded on their card and hunters will receive a stake map if requested.
    • Staff will keep card and ask hunting party to tune their vehicle’s radio to a specific frequency for announcements, go park, and stay in vehicle (signage will direct traffic flow and list radio frequency).
    • At designated draw time, staff will make daily announcements over FM transmitter and outdoor speaker.
    • As staff draws a ball number, it will be announced over the system along with hunters’ names.
    • Selected party will pull in front of check station again and choose hunting stake from map on outside of check station (stakes are covered as they are taken).
    • Hunting parties will receive their sign-in/waterfowl harvest card with their chosen stake and date stamp recorded on the back, then chosen stake will be announced.
    • Hunting parties will then be required to leave the area to head to their hunting location.
    • Each party must record their harvest under each respective hunter name on the card at the end of the hunt
    • Hunting parties will need to place their harvest card in the lock box portion of the sign-in box at their respective launch site at the end of each day’s hunt.  These procedures will increase the time it takes to conduct our daily draw, but there should still be time for hunters to get to their stakes and set up while utilizing normal drawing times. 
    • There will be a second drawing at 9:00am for late arrivals to choose any unchosen stakes from the 4:00 am drawing
  • Teal and early Canada goose
    • Statewide regulations.
    • No trespassing or hunting allowed on Rend Lake Refuge.
    • Hunters must maintain a distance of 200 yards between parties.
  • Youth
    • Hunters must be between the ages of 10-17
    • Hunters must sign-in and sign-out and report harvest
    • A drawing will be held at 4 a.m. each day for hunters that want to hunt the Casey Fork Impoundment. Drawing will be held at the Cottonwood Access Area
    • No entry into the subimpoundments before 4:30 a.m. and hunters must be out by 2 p.m.
  • Regular season
    • All waterfowl hunters must sign-in prior to hunting ans sign-out and report harvest at the end of each days hunt
    • No hunting is permitted from the subimpoundment dams
    • Waterfowl hunters must maintain a distance of 200 yards between parties, except for Department constructed blinds or staked locations
    • No waterfowl hunting is permitted within 200 yards of the refuge boundary or within 100 yards of any private property boundary
    • Hunting hours are from legal opening-1 p.m., except during the last 3 days of the Canada goose season when hunting shall end at sunset
    • All waterfowl hunters and all boats must be out of the Casey Fork and Big Muddy subimpoundments by 2:00 pm each day of the waterfowl season and not return until 4:30 am, except during the last 3 days of the Canada Goose season, hunters must be out of the areas by one hour after sunset and not return until 4:30 am
    • No permanent blinds allowed
    • Hunters must hunt over a minimum of 12 decoys and decoys must be removed each day
    • All boat traffic is prohibited from entering the subimpoundments from the closing of the youth waterfowl season until the opening day of the regular waterfowl season
    • After the close of the regular duck season, goose hunters may not possess more than 5 shot shells for every Canada and White-fronted goose allowed in the daily bag limit
    • Staked hunting-Those areas designated as staked hunting areas will be publicly announced and the following regulations apply
      • Stakes will be assigned via a daily drawing held at 4 a.m. in November, 4:30 a.m. in December and 5 a.m. in January
      • All hunters must register at the check station. Hunters arriving at the check station after the initial draw will have the opportunity to select any stakes that are still available up to one hour before legal shooting time. Hunters may enter the subimpoundment up to 1/2 hour before legal shooting time or between 9:00 am and 9:30 am.
      • All hunting must occur within 10 yards of an assigned, numbered stake except for stakes identified at the check station where hunters may hunt from any place in the field in which the stake is located
      • Check station is at the Bonnie Dam Access Area will be operated on a daily basis through the second weekend of the waterfowl season. Thererafter, Bonnie Dam check station will only be open on weekends and holidays as posted at the check station. Cottonwood Access Area will be operated on a daily basis throughout the waterfowl season for both Bonnie Dam and Cottonwood Hunting Areas. Hunters who wish to hunt together at a staked location must register as a hunting party and be present for the drawing. Only those persons in that party may hunt at the assigned stake. No more than 5 hunters shall be in a hunting party
      • Hunting parties can only hunt from the staked location that they chose in that day’s drawing. No moving to or hunting from any other staked location is allowed. Once a staked location is killed out, no other hunting party may hunt from that stake for the remainder of that day
      • When hunting parties have killed their legal daily bag limit of ducks (not including coots and mergansers) and/or Canada geese in respect to the legal hunting season dates they must vacate the hunting site
      • Hunters must sign in and out and report their harvest on the cards at the access area where they launch
    • Permanent blinds at the Whistling Wings Access Area shall be regulated as follows
      • During Goose season, a separate drawing will be held for the pits at Whistling Wings. This drawing will be held at Cottonwood check station following the drawing for staked hunting sites. Hunters may not register for more than one drawing per day. Unsuccessful hunters in the drawing for Whistling Wings pits may select any unclaimed stake location after the drawings
      • Hunters who wish to hunt together must register as a hunting party and be present for the drawing
      • All hunters must have a registration card from the check station in their possession while hunting
      •  Hunting parties can only hunt from the pit location that they chose in that day’s drawing. No moving to or hunting from any other pit location is allowed
      • No more than 6 dozen decoys may be used per pit
      • No more than 4 hunters will be allowed in the pit or hunting party
  • Snipe and Rail
    • Statewide regulations.


  • Squirrels
    • Statewide regulations
    • Hunting with .22 caliber or smaller rimfire firearms, .25 caliber or smaller air rifles, or muzzleloading black powder rifles is allowed
  • Rabbits
    • Statewide regulations

Upland Birds

  • Woodcock, Quail & Crow
    • Statewide regulations.
  • Dove
    • Drawing will be held at the Rend Lake Refuge.
    • Statewide regulations, except that hunting hours will be from sunrise to 11:30 am daily September 1-5; season closes September 30th. A drawing will be held one hour before sunrise if there are more hunters present than can be accommodated.
    • Only non-toxic shot, No. 6 steel or No. 7 1/2 bismuth shot or smaller is allowed.
    • It is the hunters responsibility to remove all refuse, including empty shotgun shells, from the hunting area once they have finished hunting.
    • Hunters are required to sign-in and sign-out.


  • Hunting
    • Statewide regulations
    • 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.
  • Trapping
    • Statewide regulations, except that only water sets are allowed.
    • No trapping allowed in the Rend Lake Waterfowl Refuge and the Casey Fork and Big Muddy Sub-impoundments.