Wildlife Illinois

Hunt Planner


Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permit First Lottery Begins August 16!

Trail of Tears State Forest

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Site Characteristics

  • Huntable acres: 4,784
  • Habitat: area lies within the Ozark Hills of southern Illinois, composed of long, narrow ridges with steep slopes and narrow valleys. Approximately 95% of the area has mature hardwood forest. 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.
  • All hunters must sign-in and sign-out and report harvest at the registration boxes before leaving the site.
  • Use Hunt Planner to find hunting seasons open at this site.
  • Hunting is prohibited in the 222 acre Ozark Hills Nature Preserve, the compartment adjoining the picnic area, slopes facing into nursery beds, and within 200 yards of any site buildings.
  • All fire trails are closed to all vehicles, except authorized state vehicles. Annual Forest Road closure closure from Dec 24 – May 5.
  • Species-specific rules:


  • Stands may be left unattended Sept 15 – Jan 31
  • Archery
    • Statewide Regulations
  • Firearm
    • Statewide Regulations
  • Muzzleloader
    • Statewide Regulations


  • Spring
    • Statewide Regulations
  • Fall Archery
    • Statewide Regulations
  • Fall Shotgun
    • Statewide Regulations


  • No waterfowl hunting offered.


  • Squirrels
    • Statewide regulations.
  • Rabbits
    • Statewide regulations.

Upland Birds

  • Statewide regulations.


  • 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
    • Site-specific permit required
    • 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