Wildlife Illinois

Hunt Planner


Apply Now for a Deer Firearm/Muzzleloader Permit!

Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area

Site Contact Info

Site Map

Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 7,690; Timber: 1,700 acres; Open, Cultivated, or Fallow: 3,900 acres
  • 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. 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
  • 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.
  • When hunting or scouting, ALL VEHICLES MUST BE PARKED AT DESIGNATED AREAS (no ATV access).
  • Parking is allowed only in designated parking lots shown on the site map.
  • It is unlawful for any person to consume, possess, or be under the influence of alcoholic beverages or illegal drugs while on site property for the purpose of hunting or trapping. Any person who violates site specific regulations shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
  • Species-specific rules:


  • 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 ALLOWED.


  • Statewide regulations shall apply, except that in the refuge area only (south of site headquarters) from October 1st through October 31st
  • Each hunter must sign in/out and report a 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.


  • Statewide regulations.
  • The refuge is closed to firearm deer hunting.


  • Statewide regulations.
  • Hunters are required to have a spring turkey permit for the county during the designated season.
  • Youth hunters are required to have a youth turkey permit for the county.
  • Only one tree stand or ground blind is allowed per turkey 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 ALLOWED.



  • The youth hunt is typically held on the weekend preceding the Illinois South Central Zone duck season opener.
  • Hunters participating in the youth hunt must sign in and out
  • A drawing will be held at 4:00 am and 9:00 am each day of the youth hunt for hunters wanting to hunt the Casey Fork impoundment. Drawing will heldbe held at the Cottonwood Access Area.
  • No entry into the subimpoundments before 4:30 am and must be out of the subimpoundment by 2:00 pm
  • Accompanying adults are not allowed to hunt
  • Statewide regulations also apply


  1. Statewide regulations
  2. No trespassing or hunting allowed on Rend Lake Refuge during teal or early Canada goose seasons.

Early and Late Goose (all species)

  • Hunting from a completed blind or staked site is waived during seasons held before the regular duck season or for seasons held after the regular Canada goose season.
  • Waterfowl hunters must maintain a distance of 200 yards between hunting parties.

Ducks, Geese, and Coots (Regular Season)

  1. All waterfowl hunters must sign in prior to hunting and sign out and report harvest at the end of each day’s hunt
  2. No hunting is permitted from the subimpoundment dams
  3. Waterfowl hunters must maintain a distance of 200 yards between hunting parties, except for Department constructed blinds or staked locations
  4. No waterfowl hunting is permitted within 200 yards of the refuge boundary, or within 100 yards of any private property boundary
  5. Hunting hours are from legal opening to 1:00 pm
  6. 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
  7. No permanent blinds allowed
  8. No cutting of vegetation on site. While waterfowl hunting, no one may have in their possession any tool or device designed to cut brush or limbs, except common hunting knives and pocket knives.
  9. Each hunting party is required to hunt over a minimum of 6 decoys at each blind site and all decoys must be picked up at end of each day’s hunt. Decoys may not be placed in the field prior to opening date of season. Decoys in the field cannot be abandoned prior to hunting hours for that days hunt and must be attended while in the field.
  10. 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
  11. Air boats will not be allowed in the Casey Fork subimpoundment, Big Muddy subimpoundment, and the impoundments of Corps of Engineer’s managed areas such as Atchison Creek, Gun Creek, and Rend City Wetland during the regular duck, youth waterfowl, and Canada goose seasons. When ice conditions do not allow access at boat ramps by normal watercraft, then air boats can be used in the Casey Fork and Big Muddy subimpoundments
  12. The land and water portion of the Rend Lake Refuge is closed to trespassing during waterfowl season
  13. During the last 3 days of Canada Goose season, hunting hours shall close at sunset daily
  14. During Regular duck and goose season each hunter is limited to 25 non-toxic shotshells per hunter on the Casey Fork Draw and Big Muddy subimpoundments.
  15. Staked hunting areas- Those areas designated as a staked hunting area will be publicly announced and the following regulations will apply:

2022 Casey Fork Waterfowl Hunting Procedures:

• Hunters will pull in front of check station in a marked drive thru lane and stay in vehicle
• Staff will record all hunters’ names in that party on a sign-in/waterfowl harvest card
• That hunting party 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 party 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 party pulls away, goes to stake and records harvest under each respective hunter on the card at the end of the hunt
• Hunting party places card in the lock box portion of the sing-in box at their respective launch site at the end of each day’s hunt. The procedures will increase the time it takes to conduct our daily draw, but we should still have time for hunters to get to stakes and set up while utilizing our normal drawing times. We will have a 9:00 am draw for late arrivals to choose any unchosen stakes from the 4:00 am drawing.

  1. Stakes will be assigned via a daily drawing held at 4:00 am during November, 4:30 in December, and 5:00 am in January.
  2. 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.
  3. 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
  4. Check station is at the Bonnie Dam Access Area will be operated on a daily basis through the second weekend of the waterfowl season. Thereafter, 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.
  5. 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 locaitonlocation is killed out, no other hunting party may hunt from that stake for the remainder of that day.
  6. 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.
  7. 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 15 dozen decoys may be used at the Whisling Wing Pits
  • No more than 4 hunters will be allowed in the pit or hunting party.


  • 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

Bobwhite Quail

  • Statewide regulations.

Woodcock, Snipe, and Rail Hunting

  • Statewide regulations


  • Statewide regulations
  • Crow hunting hours are 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset
  • All harvested crows must be removed from State property and disposed of properly


  • 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 is restricted to managed fields.
  • harvested doves must be kept in separate bags by each hunter.
  • No cleaning of doves is permitted on the site.


  • Hunting
    • Statewide regulations
  • Trapping
    • Statewide regulations, except that only water sets are allowed.