Wildlife Illinois

Hunt Planner

Announcements

Spring turkey 1st lottery open

Turkey

Season Dates & Limits

Zone Maps

Dates & Limits

SEASON DATES (inclusive) HOURS LIMIT ADDITIONAL REGULATIONS
Spring 2021
(shotgun and archery)
Segment North zone South Zone 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1 pm One tom, jake or bearded hen per permit, maximum of 3 spring permits See map of turkey hunting zones for specific season segments in each zone
1 12–16 Apr 5–9 Apr
2 17–22 Apr 10–15 Apr
3 23–28 Apr 16–21 Apr
4 29 Apr–5 May 22–28 Apr
5 6–13 May 29 Apr–6 May
Youth Spring 27–28 Mar and 3–4 Apr 2021 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1 pm One tom, jake or bearded hen per permit, counts toward maximum of 3 spring permits Allowed 1 permit per year. Permit is valid to hunt individual counties or IDNR sites during season dates
Fall (shotgun) 24 Oct–1 Nov 2020 1/2 hour before sunrise to sunset One either-sex turkey per permit, maximum of 2 fall permits See map of fall firearm turkey hunting
Fall (archery) 1 Oct 2020–17 Jan 2021 1/2 hour before sunrise to 1/2 hour after sunset One either-sex turkey per permit, maximum of 2 fall permits Season closed during firearm deer season in counties open to firearm deer hunting

Licenses & Permits

Licenses & Stamps

Permits & Lotteries

Spring Season

  • Hunters can only apply for one permit per lottery, but does not apply to applicants who have or will have a landowner property-only permit. People with landowner permits are exempt from the first and second lotteries in spring season. Maximum of three permits of any type during spring.
  1. First Lottery 
    • Application dates: 8 October-1 December 2019
    • Available to: residents only
    • Apply online
  2. Second Lottery 
    • Application dates: 2 December 2019-13 January 2020
    • Available to: unsuccessful residents from the first lottery, residents that did not apply in the first lottery, and non-residents
    • Apply online
  3. Third Lottery 
    • Application dates: 1 July-16 August 2019
    • Available to: anyone with two or less turkey permits can apply
    • Apply online
  4. Over-the-counter period
    • Permits remaining after the lotteries will be available at vendors on a first-come-first-served basis
    • May purchase one or more permits, up to three permit maximum

Youth Spring Season

  1. General rules
    • Permits available to resident and non-resident hunters who will not reached their 18th birthday prior to the opening date of the youth season
    • Limited to 1 Special Hunt Area Permit or County Permit per youth hunter. Restrictions on Youth and Apprentice hunting licenses apply
    • Allows youth hunter to use either a shotgun or bow and arrow
    • Youth permits count toward the maximum of 3 turkey permits a person can be issued for the Spring Wild Turkey Season
  2. Special Hunt Area (i.e., IDNR sites) Permits
    • Apply online
    • Application dates: January 21-February 17, 2020
    • Only valid for the area written on the permit
  3. County Permits
    • Purchase over-the-counter from physical vendors from March 3-April 5, 2020
    • Only valid for the county written on the permit

Fall Gun Season

  • Hunters can only apply for one permit per lottery, but does not apply to applicants who have or will have a landowner property-only permit. People with landowner permits are exempt from the first and second lotteries in fall gun season. Maximum of two permits of any type during fall
    1. First Lottery 
      • Application dates: 7 May-1 July 2019
      • Available to: residents only
      • Apply online
    2. Second Lottery 
      • Application dates: 2 July-19 August 2019
      • Available to: unsuccessful residents from the first lottery, residents that did not apply in the first lottery, and non-residents
      • Apply online
    3. Over-the-counter period
      • Permits remaining after the lotteries will be available at vendors on a first-come-first-served basis
      • May purchase one or more permits, up to two permit maximum

Fall Archery Season

  • Permits sold over-the-counter at vendors. No lottery. Maximum of two permits of any type during fall. Permits are valid statewide

Season Specific Regulations

  • During all season it is unlawful to leave in the field or transport a wild turkey without first immediately attaching the leg tag securely around the leg as instructed on the permit. Leg tag must remain attached to the leg of the turkey until it is at the legal residence of the person who legally took or possessed the turkey and the turkey has been checked in
  • During all seasons it is unlawful to field dress or butcher a turkey until it has been checked in. All harvested turkeys must be registered by 10 pm on the same calendar day of harvest by calling 1-866-452-4325 or online
  • Be sure to check regulations for the IDNR site(s) you intend to hunt, as some sites have more restrictive regulations on equipment, harvest reporting, etc. You can find site-specific regulations using the Directory or Hunt Planner
  • Full details on turkey hunting can be found in the Statewide Hunting Regulations

Spring

  • Can use:
    • Shotguns
      • Must be within range of 20 to 10 gauge only, no .410 or 28 gauge allowed
      • No. 4 shot is the largest size shot that may be used
      • Barrel length shall not be less than 18 inches, and the overall length shall not be less than 26 inches
      • Shotgun cannot be capable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. Any shotgun having a capacity of more than 3 shells must be fitted with a one-piece plug that is irremovable without dismantling the shotgun or otherwise altered to render it incapable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined
      • You may not possess any other gun while turkey hunting, but see rules on Concealed Carry in firearms section here
    • Vertical compound bow or traditional bows (recurve or longbow)
      • Minimum pull of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw
      • Arrows must be at least 20 inches long (not including point)
    • Crossbows
      • Minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds
      • Minimum length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches
      • Has a working safety
      • Fletched bolts or arrows must be at least 14 inches long (not including point)
    • Points (all bows)
      • Broadheads must have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces and a minimum ⅞ inch in diameter when fully opened
      • Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert- or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal
  • Clothing requirements: None. But wearing a blaze orange/pink hat when walking to and from hunting location is recommended for safety
  • See map below for counties open to Spring hunting. Permits are specific to the county and/or Special Hunt Area (SHA) and dates indicated on permit
  • Download Spring Wild Turkey Hunting Information Sheet

Youth Spring

  • See map above for counties open to Spring Youth hunting. Permits are specific to the county and/or Special Hunt Area (SHA) and dates indicated on permit
  • Can use: same equipment regulations as Spring Season above
  • Clothing requirements: None. But wearing a blaze orange/pink hat when walking to and from hunting location is recommended for safety
  • Supervision: each youth hunter must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult that is in immediate control of the youth hunter at all times during the hunt. The adult must have a current Illinois hunting license if a non-resident or if the youth is using an Apprentice or Youth hunting license
  • Download Spring Youth Wild Turkey Hunting Permit Information Sheet

Fall Shotgun

  • Can use:
    • Shotguns
      • Must be within range of 20 to 10 gauge only, no .410 or 28 gauge allowed
      • No. 4 shot is the largest size shot that may be used
      • Barrel length shall not be less than 18 inches, and the overall length shall not be less than 26 inches
      • Shotgun cannot be capable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined. Any shotgun having a capacity of more than 3 shells must be fitted with a one-piece plug that is irremovable without dismantling the shotgun or otherwise altered to render it incapable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined
      • You may not possess any other gun while turkey hunting, but see rules on Concealed Carry in firearms section here
  • Clothing requirements: None. But wearing a blaze orange/pink hat when walking to and from hunting location is recommended for safety
  • See map below for counties open to Fall Gun hunting. Permits are specific to the county and/or Special Hunt Area (SHA) and dates indicated on permit
  • Download Fall Turkey Hunting Information Sheet

Fall Archery

  • Hunting is permitted in all 102 counties and permits are valid statewide
  • Season closed during firearm deer season in counties open to firearm deer hunting
  • Can use:
    • Vertical compound bow or traditional bows (recurve or longbow)
      • Minimum pull of 30 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw
      • Arrows must be at least 20 inches long (not including point)
    • Crossbows
      • Minimum peak draw weight of 125 pounds
      • Minimum length (from butt of stock to front of limbs) of 24 inches
      • Has a working safety
      • Fletched bolts or arrows must be at least 14 inches long (not including point)
    • Points (all bows)
      • Broadheads must have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces and a minimum ⅞ inch in diameter when fully opened
      • Broadheads with fixed cutting surfaces must be metal or flint-, chert- or obsidian-knapped; broadheads with expandable cutting surfaces must be metal
  • Clothing requirements: None

Management & Ecology

The restoration of the wild turkey is one of the greatest success stories in wildlife conservation. Once completely extirpated in Illinois, wild turkeys now occur in robust numbers in every county. To rebuild the state’s population, IDNR conducted trap and release efforts beginning in the 1950s, concluding the program in the early 2000s. Today, the Forest Wildlife Program at IDNR manages wild turkeys and their habitat to maintain these healthy populations. See the Illinois Wildlife Action Plan – Forest and Woodland Campaign for more details.

Spring Turkey Annual Reports

Additional Resources