SPRINGFIELD – Numerous Illinois state parks and wildlife areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2023 zoned youth waterfowl hunting seasons, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today.

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Federal sites that fall under IDNR waterfowl administrative rules that are open for the youth hunts are also listed below.

At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the youth hunt. Hunters should check for changes to site-specific regulations and procedures. During the youth hunt, the bag limits are the same as during regular seasons.

Per federal regulations, youth waterfowl hunters aged 17 or younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots, and mergansers as long as they are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years old. The accompanying adult cannot hunt these species but may participate in other open seasons if allowed at the site.

Youth hunters must have a valid hunting license, youth hunting license, or apprentice hunting license. Youth waterfowl hunters aged 16 and older must have a federal duck stamp. Youth waterfowl hunters are not required to have an Illinois duck stamp.

Additional information about hunting license requirements and regulations can be found in the 2023-2024 Digest of Illinois Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Special youth hunts taking place through the youth waterfowl hunting permit or other youth-only hunts at IDNR sites are open only to youth hunters ages 10-17. These 2023 special hunts include:

  • Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area, Oct. 21-22
  • Black Crown Marsh, Oct. 14-15
  • Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, Salt Creek and Disabled units, Oct. 21
  • Larry D. Closson State Habitat Area, Oct. 21
  • Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area, Duck Ranch Unit, Oct. 21-22
  • Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area, Spring Lake Bottoms Unit, Nov. 12
  • Southern Illinois youth waterfowl hunt – Union County and Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Areas, Dec. 28

All other youth hunts are open to those ages 17 and younger.

All waterfowl hunters, including those participating in the youth hunt, are required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). To register with HIP, hunters must have their hunting license number available. Hunters should register for HIP at the license vendor when they buy their hunting license or online through the IDNR website.

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The lists of state and federal sites to be open during the youth waterfowl hunts in the North, Central, South Central and South zones are below.

2023 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Oct. 14-15 – State and federal sites open

Chain O’Lakes State Park
Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area
Heidecke Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Lake DePue State Fish and Wildlife Area
Sinnissippi Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Mississippi River Pools – All located in North Zone
William W. Powers State Recreation Area

2023 Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Oct. 21-22 – State and federal sites open

Anderson Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area
Braidwood Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Clinton Lake State Recreation Area
Coffeen Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Freeman Mine
Henderson Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area
Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County)
Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County), Gabaret, Mosenthein, Chouteau Island units
Kankakee River State Park
Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area
Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area, Sparland Unit
Mazonia State Fish and Wildlife Area
Meredosia Lake
Mississippi River Area (MRA) – All sites managed by MRA
Mississippi River Pools – All located in Central Zone
Momence Wetlands State Natural Area
Pekin Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Quincy Bay
Ray Norbut State Fish and Wildlife Area
Rice Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Sanganois State Fish and Wildlife Area
Sangchris Lake State Park
Shelbyville State Fish and Wildlife Area
Spring Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Starved Rock State Park
Weinberg-King State Park, Spunky Bottoms Unit
Woodford State Fish and Wildlife Area

2023 South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Nov. 4-5 – State and federal sites open

Campbell Pond
Carlyle Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Kaskaskia State Fish and Wildlife Area
Kinkaid Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Mississippi River
Oakwood Bottoms
Pyramid State Recreation Area – Captain, Denmark, Galum, and East Conant units
Rend Lake Project Land and Waters
Shawnee National Forest
Ten Mile Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area

2023 South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Nov. 25-26 – State and federal sites open

Bluff Lakes
Cache River State Natural Area
Cape Bend State Fish and Wildlife Area
Chauncey Marsh State Natural Area
Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge
Cypress Pond State Natural Area
Deer Pond State Natural Area
Devil’s Island
Dog Island
Fort Massac, Kerr Farm Unit
Horseshoe Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area (Alexander County)
LaRue Swamp
Mermet Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Mississippi River
Newton Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area
Saline County State Fish and Wildlife Area
Sielbeck Forest State Natural Area
Shawnee National Forest
Union County State Fish and Wildlife Area

For more information on Illinois waterfowl seasons, check the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2023-2024. For IDNR site-specific information, look for our hunter fact sheets online or visit IDNR’s Hunt Illinois website.

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