SPRINGFIELD– The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced it is now accepting applications for 2021 Waterfowl and Upland Game hunting opportunities this fall on private land through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP).

The IDNR has leased nearly 1,200 acres of private land specifically for waterfowl and upland game hunting. Hunters have the choice of nine public access waterfowl sites in three counties and seven public access upland game hunting sites in five counties. Sites will accommodate up to four hunters each and are available at no cost to the participants.

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Applications for IRAP Waterfowl opportunities are due four weeks prior to the hunting period selected by applicants. Waterfowl hunters will have access to the sites for five consecutive days during one of the twelve 2021 IRAP fall hunting periods:

Nov. 1-5; Nov. 6-10; Nov. 11-15; Nov. 16-20; Nov. 21-25; Nov. 26-30
Dec. 1-5; Dec. 6-10; Dec. 11-15; Dec. 16-20; Dec. 21-25; Dec. 26-30

Applications for IRAP Upland Game opportunities are due at 5:00 p.m. on Nov. 1, 2021. Hunters will have two consecutive days of access on one of the following weekends:

Dec. 11-12; Dec. 18-19; Dec. 25-26

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If hunting as a group (up to four), each person in the group must apply and list other hunters in the group. Youth hunters (age 17 and under) must be accompanied by a non-hunting supervisor (parent or designee of a parent). Both youth and their supervisors must complete an IRAP application online. A lottery drawing may be held when more applications are received than there are sites available.

All hunters must have completed an IDNR-approved Hunter Education Course (if born in 1980 or after), and must have acquired an Illinois hunting license and HIP certification as well as a habitat stamp for upland game hunting or a state waterfowl stamp and a federal waterfowl stamp for waterfowl hunting. Successful applicants will be notified by mail approximately three weeks prior to their assigned hunting period, upon which they will receive a map, driving directions, and an IRAP site permit allowing them to hunt on their assigned, privately-owned waterfowl or upland game hunting site.

Applications for Fall 2021 IRAP Waterfowl hunting sites can be found online at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/IRAP/Pages/Waterfowl-Hunting.aspx.

Applications for Fall 2021 IRAP Upland Game hunting sites can be found online at: https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/IRAP/Pages/UplandGameHunting.aspx

The IRAP program is funded through a grant from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service’s Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program. To date, IRAP has leased more than 26,100 acres in 50 counties to provide for various public access opportunities such as turkey, archery deer, youth firearm deer, small game, waterfowl, and upland bird hunting, as well as pond and riverbank fishing. Hunters are placed on a specific site via a lottery drawing, with preference given to youth hunters, first-time hunters, and veterans.

For more information, visit the IRAP webpage or e-mail DNR.IRAP@Illinois.gov.

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