Wildlife Illinois

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Spring turkey 1st lottery open

Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area

Site Contact Info

Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 1,500
  • Habitat: This area contains a long sand bluff overlooking Spring Lake which is a 1,285 acre lake with numerous springs, stumps, and much aquatic vegetation. Timbered areas have mature stands of hardwoods and pine with fallow areas interspersed. Spring Lake Bottom Unit consists of four moist soil wetland impoundments which are managed to provide habitat for migratory birds.
  • Digital Map
  • Printable Map – Spring Lake SFWA

Site Specific Regulations

  • All statewide hunting regulations apply at site unless noted hereafter.
  • Use Hunt Planner to find hunting seasons open at this site.
  • All Waterfowl Refuge Areas are closed to public access.
  • Horseback riding and ATVs not permitted
  • Hunters under 16 years of age must be accompanied by an adult of legal age.
  • Species-specific rules:

Deer

  • Archery
    • Statewide regulations
    • Site requires use of windshield card, displayed on vehicle dashboard, to report hunting effort and harvest by 15 February.
    • Only one non-piercing tree stand or ground blind is allowed per deer permit holder. Tree stands and ground blinds may be left unattended from September 15 through January 31. Any tree stand or ground blind left unattended must be legibly marked with the owner’s name, address, and telephone number, or site assigned identification number
    • Open to archery deer hunting without regard to firearm deer season.
  • Firearm
    • Firearm deer hunting not permitted

Turkey

  • Fall Archery
    • Statewide regulations
    • Site requires use of windshield card, displayed on vehicle dashboard, to report hunting effort and harvest by 15 February.
    • Open to archery Turkey hunting without regard to firearm deer season.
  • Shotgun turkey hunting not allowed

Waterfowl

  • 2020 Waterfowl Hunting Procedures:
    • All registered blind builders will sign in at check-in/out box by one hour prior to shooting time for that day in a drive through fashion.  
    • A harvest card will be given to each hunting group chosen; they will then leave the area.  
    • Any remaining blinds will be assigned at a first come first serve sign-up sheet located at check-in/out box.  
    • Both registered and left over groups will self check out by filling out harvest card and placing in the check-out box. 
  • Two waterfowl hunting areas are managed at this site, the Bottoms Unit where walk-in hunting is permitted and the Waterfowl Area where registered blinds may be constructed.
  • Hunting is during Central Zone with opening time determined by statewide regulations and closing time at 1 pm daily.

Bottoms Unit

  • 2020 Waterfowl Hunting Procedures:
    • Blinds for permit holders will be allocated prior to one hour before shooting time. This will take place at the check station window where hunters will need to pay their $10 per hunter fee.
    • Masks will be required for this process.
    • A harvest card will be handed to permit holders to be filled out at the end of each hunt and put in the check-out box slot.
  • Requires site-specific permit issued by lottery drawing. Apply here. Each permit holder will be allowed to bring 3 hunting or non-hunting partners, total of 4 people per blind. Permits are non-transferable.
  • Permit holder and hunting partners must check-in and complete hunter information cards at the Spring Lake Waterfowl check station no later than 1 hour before legal shooting time; after that time permits are void.
  • Blinds not claimed by permit holders by this hour will be assigned by draw until 11 am each day.
  • A $10.00 Daily Usage Stamp must be purchased by all hunters except those under 16 years of age.
  • Hunting allowed opening day and every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday during the Central Zone Duck Season.
  • All hunters must report to the check station within one hour to check out and report harvested birds.
  • This is a walk-in area. Hunters are responsible for bringing their own decoys. Hunters must carry their own decoys and hunting equipment/gear with them to their blinds. Hunter will be required to wade to their blinds and when retrieving harvested birds.
  • Must hunt over a spread of at least 12 decoys
  • Hunting will be from platform blinds. Hunters must notify check station attendant before changing blinds.
  • Shooting time is from statewide regulation open until 1 pm.
  • Goose or Teal
    • No Goose or Teal hunting prior to duck season.
    • Goose hunting is not permitted after duck season.
  • Youth Waterfowl Hunt
    • Held the second Sunday in Nov. Youth hunters must be between the ages of 10 -17 inclusive on the date of the hunt.
    • The youth waterfowl permit shall be for the use of the entire blind.
    • Each youth permit holder must bring one supervising adult who may also hunt. A non-hunting guide may accompany. The supervising adult is criminally liable for the actions of the youth hunter.
    • Maximum number in a blind is 2 hunting youths, 2 hunting adults, and 1 non-hunting guide.

Spring Lake Waterfowl Area

  • During duck season:
    • All hunters using this area must report to check station to fill out  information cards and to show hunting licenses and FOIA card before proceeding to blinds or staked blind sites.
    • Registered blind builders or partners desiring to claim their blinds or staked blind sites must report to check station at least one hour before opening shooting hour each day.
    • Blinds or staked blind sites not claimed by builder or partners by this hour will be assigned by draw until 11 am each day.
    • Upon vacating blind or staked blind site, hunters must report to check station within 1 hour and must be check out within 1 hour of the close of the legal hunting hour.
  • After duck season:
    • Registered blind builders or partners who are hunting geese must occupy their blinds or staked blind sites by ½ hour before legal opening time each day. Blinds or staked blind sites which are not legally claimed by builders or partners before legal shooting time may be claimed on a first-come first-served basis.
    • All goose hunters must sign-in and record their harvest daily.
    • It is unlawful to claim or attempt to claim any blind or staked blind site which is legally occupied and/or to harass the occupants of a blind or blind site which has been legally claimed.  
    • Hunting is from registered platforms or boat hide blinds. Hunting from portable boat blinds is permitted within 10 feet from any numbered blind site if blind has not been constructed or blind has been dismantled.
    • Hunters must occupy blinds or staked blind sites within 1 hour after registering at check station.
    • No more than 4 hunters per blind.
    • All parties must hunt over a minimum of 12 decoys which must be of at least standard size and which must be removed upon termination of the day’s hunt.
    • Registered blind builders or partners claiming their blinds must occupy that blind for at least one hour.
    • Hunters should contact Spring Lake SFWA office to inquire about blind construction.
    • A 25 horsepower outboard motor limit applies on this area.
  • Goose or Teal
    • No Goose or Teal hunting permitted prior to duck season

Squirrels/Rabbits

  • Squirrels
    • Opens the day after Labor Day and closes Sept 30, but the season reopens the day of the closing of the archery deer season and remains open until the end of the statewide season.
    • All squirrel hunting must be with shotguns or air rifles (no other rifle type).
    • Site requires use of windshield card, displayed on vehicle dashboard, to report hunting effort and harvest by 15 February.
  • Rabbits
    • Rabbit hunting not permitted

Upland Birds

  • Upland bird hunting not permitted

Furbearers

  • Trapping
    • Trappers must obtain a site permit allocated at a drawing in Oct at Spring Lake SFWA office.
    • A limited number of trappers are allowed to trap during season.
    • Only Egg Traps®, D-P (Dog-Proof) Traps®, Lil Grizz Get’rz®, box traps, cage traps, and traps of similar design may be used for land sets
    • Only body-gripping traps with a jaw spread of 5 inches or less, foothold traps with a jaw spread of 4½ inches or less and square body-gripping traps with a 10 inch jaw spread may be used for water sets.
    • Snares may be used for water sets
  • Hunting
    • Furbearer hunting not permitted

Amenities