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Starved Rock State Park

Site Contact Info

Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 2,817
  • Habitat: Located at an Illinois River bluff region, the park’s 18 canyons feature vertical walls of moss-covered stone which were formed by glacial meltwater. The site’s forest features tree-covered sandstone bluffs. Designated hunting areas are woodlands, grasslands, and agricultural fields.
  • Digital Map
  • Printable Map – Starved Rock
  • Printable Map -Waterfowl
  • Printable Map -Spring Turkey
  • Printable Map – Starved Rock/Matthiessen DOO Shotgun Deer
  • Printable Map – Starved Rock/Matthiessen SP (Deer/Turkey)
  • Printable Map – Starved Rock Pool

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 are required to furnish a valid FOID if using a firearm, current hunting license, and current habitat stamp. Non-resident hunter must have non-resident hunting license and current habitat stamp.
  • Hunting must be done at specified areas according to season and/or species being hunted.
  • A person may possess a weapon in the field only during hunting hours and while engaged in hunting; and the hunter must carry the weapon designated by the season.
  • No shed hunting: deer antlers may not be removed from the park and preserves.
  • Hunters should note all posted regulations and designations.
  • Check-in and check-out are required.
  • Park in designated Lots (12-29) as permitted. Lots 18-21, 23, & 29 are for Archery only.
  • Parking Lot #22 is dedicated to D.O.O. program hunters.
  • The check station at Matthiessen State Park will be manned during the firearm and muzzleloader seasons only. All deer acquired during firearm season will also have to check their deer at the LaSalle Check Station at Buffalo Rock SP
  • Hunters who wish to change areas must report to check station prior to move.
  • Species-specific rules:

Deer

  • Archery
    • Archery hunters must check in at the Matthiessen SP’s check station prior to hunting before entering the field.  
    • Archery hunting is allowed in Zone A during all firearm deer seasons, but must wear blaze orange during all firearm seasons.
    • Antlerless deer only in Oct; Either sex from Nov 1 to the end of season
    • Hunters must check out and report harvest at the Matthiessen station. Harvest must also be reported according to statewide rules.
    • Tree stands and/or ground blinds must be non-piercing, portable, tagged with the hunter’s name, address, and phone number, and removed at the end of each day’s hunt.
  • Firearm and Muzzleloader
    • Be aware Zone A (Lots 18-21, 23 & 29) is Archery Only and archery hunting is allowed in Zone A during all firearm seasons. 
    • Firearm and Muzzleloader Deer Hunting Firearm deer hunters must have a site-specific permit.
    • Hunters are required to check in before 5 am at the Matthiessen SP station.
    • All hunters must attend the safety talk before entering the field.
    • A drawing to allocate standby permits is held at 5:30 am. Stand-by hunters will be allowed to enter the field after the drawing at 5:30 am and 12 pm.
    • Standby permits are site-specific for Starved Rock & Matthiessen are only valid for the day they are issued, and cost $5 each. No other deer permits are required.
    • A stand-by hunter may purchase up to 2 one-day only site-specific antlerless-only permits each day.
    • Bonus Buck Hunting Program: The first state-issued permit is for antlerless deer only. After harvested antlerless deer is checked at Matthiessen SP check station, hunter may purchase a $5.00 permit which is issued for either sex. Check station closes at 6 pm.
    • Hunters who wish to change hunting areas must report to the check station prior to moving.
    • All firearm hunters are required to wear a cap and upper outer garment of solid and vivid blaze orange of at least 400 square inches. 
    • Non-piercing, portable tree stands and/or ground blinds may be used and must be removed daily. Tree stands must be tagged with the hunter’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Special CWD Season
    • Special CWD season hunters must have a site-specific permit in order to hunt. Hunters are required to self-check-in/-out at Matthiessen State Park. There will be no standby permits sold.
    • Be aware Zone A (Lots 18-21, 23 & 29) is Archery Only and archery hunting is allowed in Zone A during all firearm seasons. 
    • All firearm hunters are required to wear a cap and upper outer garment of solid and vivid blaze orange of at least 400 square inches. 
    • Non-piercing, portable tree stands may be used and must be removed daily. Tree stands must be tagged with the hunter’s name, address, and phone number.
    • All deer harvested must be checked-in/reported as outlined in the statewide rules & regulations.  
  • DOO Shotgun
    • Hunting in designated areas only: Starved Rock State Park Campground. 
    • Portable blinds are erected at each site in the campground by park staff. 10 blinds and 1 lift blind available.
    • Offered during the 1st and 2nd firearm deer seasons.
    • Information about DOO reservations is available by calling the site.
    • Bonus Buck Hunting Program: The first state-issued permit is for antlerless deer only. After harvested antlerless deer is checked at Starved Rock Campground permit booth, hunter may purchase a $5.00 permit which is issued for either sex that day. Check station closes at 6 pm.
    • Unless exempt, disabled hunters will be required to furnish the following on the morning of the hunt: P2A Disability Card, valid FOID card, current hunting license, and current habitat stamp.
    • The DOO hunter and partner, if you choose to hunt with one, are required to check in at the campground permit booth by 6 am.  The hunting partner must purchase a permit at that time.
    • A drawing to fill any open blinds with DOO stand-by hunters will be held at the Starved Rock campground permit booth at 6 am.
    • Hunters who wish to change hunting areas must report to the manned check station at Starved Rock Park campground permit booth prior to moving.
    • Harvested deer may be field dressed on site but must be dressed at least 100′ from any road or developed area. Any debris or body parts generated by field dressing must remain at least 100′ from any road, trail, or developed area.

Turkey

  • Fall Archery
    • Turkeys may be hunted with bow and arrow during the fall in Zone A (Lots 18-21, 23 & 29) even during all firearm seasons.
    • Archery hunters in Zone A must wear blaze orange during all firearm seasons.
    • All archery hunters must check-in and check-out at the Matthiessen SP station prior to hunting and must attend the safety talk before entering the field.
    • All turkey harvested must also be checked- in/reported as outlined in the statewide rules & regulations.
    • Parking lots 3, 5, 6 & 22 closed in Oct
    • Excludes the nature preserves and the Dells area as posted.
    • Non-piercing, portable tree stands may be used and must be removed daily. Tree stands must be tagged with the hunter’s name, address, and phone number.
  • Spring
    • Spring turkey hunters must possess a site-specific spring turkey permit for Starved Rock SP for the specific season they are hunting on the site. Starved Rock spring turkey hunting permits are issued through the Springfield permit office as part of the regular permit lottery process.
    • Spring turkey hunting is allowed at two locations; 1 hunter per area
    • No turkey hunting is allowed in nature preserves.  See map for hunting and parking lot locations. Spring Turkey may use Lots 14, 15, and 16, in fields near nature preserve (but not within nature preserve).
    • No turkey hunting north of Rt. 71 from Area 2 (parking lots 24 & 25).
    • Must possess a site-specific spring turkey permit for Starved Rock State Park for the specific season they are hunting on the site. Permits are issued through the Springfield permit office as part of the regular permit lottery process.
    • Required to register at Matthiessen SP check station prior to hunting.  Each hunter must display a parking pass on the dashboard of their vehicle and must return the parking pass when reporting his or her harvest or efforts at harvest on sheets immediately after hunting.
    • All turkeys taken must be checked-in/reported via the statewide telephone reporting system as outlined on turkey hunting permit. Report turkey as being taken on a Starved Rock Special Hunt Area and not as harvested in LaSalle Co.         

Waterfowl

  • Statewide regulations, but site closes to all waterfowl hunting at the end of the regular statewide duck or Canada goose season, whichever is later (i.e., no late season snow goose season).
  • Land-based waterfowl hunt is allowed at IDNR marked/staked blind sites, within 10 feet of stake. Portable blinds only. Blind sites claimed on a first-come, first-served basis.
  • Land-based waterfowl hunting is allowed during the statewide duck or Canada goose season, but hunting is not permitted during the late season snow goose season. Note that waterfowl hunting is not allowed until the blind locations have been staked after crop harvest.
  • Stand-by hunters may claim a blind (if no registered blind hunters occupy) by legal shooting hours.
  • Closed during firearm deer seasons.
  • Early goose season hunting not permitted
  • Sign in/out, and harvest reporting is required at the Matthiessen SP check station.   
  • Each hunting party must display a parking pass on the vehicle dashboard. Must return parking passes when reporting hunting efforts/harvest on the sheets provided immediately after hunting.
  • Hunters and all hunter-owned items must leave the area within 1 hour after the close of legal shooting hours. 
  • Hunting is done only at blind sites. Hunting parties must hunt over a spread of at least 12 decoys.
  • No more than 3 hunters shall occupy a blind site at one time.
  • May not move, for the purpose of waterfowl hunting, from one blind site to another unless said person has signed out of the first blind site and into the next blind site at the sign in sheet.  
  • No person shall claim or attempt to claim a blind site which is legally occupied and/or to harass in any manner the occupants of a blind site which is legally occupied.
  • Hunters must park in designated lots. Only foot traffic allowed to site.
  • No non-hunters allowed in the field
  • It is unlawful to possess any shotgun shell loaded with a shot size larger than steel “T” or loaded with “BBB” in other kinds of non-toxic shot while attempting to take waterfowl in Illinois.  

Starved Rock Pool

  • Statewide regulations, but site is open to early (Sept) goose season and teal season and closed to all waterfowl hunting at the end of the regular statewide duck or Canada goose season, whichever is later (i.e., no late season snow goose season).
  • Waterfowl hunting is done from registered blinds, or boat blinds at marked blind sites after Nov 15.
  • Blind builders or partners must occupy their blinds ½ hour before shooting time each day in order to claim blind for the day.
  • Blinds not legally claimed will be filled on a first-come, first-serve basis to stand-by hunters.
  • Sign-in, sign-out, and harvest reporting required
  • All hunters must leave the area within 1 hour after the close of legal shooting hours.
  • All hunting parties shall hunt over a spread of at least 12 decoys. The decoys shall be staked, placed, or floated; be individually visible; be at least 8 inches long; and not be within a boat, blind, or container.
  • Hunters under 16 years of age must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
  • No more than 4 hunters shall occupy a blind at one time.
  • May not move, for the purpose of waterfowl hunting, from one blind site to another unless said person has signed out of the first blind site and into the next blind site at the sign-in sheet.
  • No person shall claim or attempt to claim a blind which is legally occupied and/or to harass in any manner the occupants of a blind which is legally occupied.
  • Hunters only in blind. No non-hunters allowed in the field.
  • Severe weather and safety conditions may result in closing all or part of the Starved Rock Pool area.

Squirrels/Rabbits

  • Squirrels
    • Squirrel hunting not permitted
  • Rabbits
    • Rabbit hunting not permitted

Upland Birds

  • Upland bird hunting not permitted

Furbearers

  • Trapping
    • Furbearer trapping not permitted
  • Hunting
    • Furbearer hunting not permitted

Amenities