Illinois Deer Season 2024: Schedule, Rules & Bag Limits

New law permitting centerfire, single-shot rifles in certain calibers improves hunting for enthusiasts. Hunters have considerable opportunity throughout youth firearm, firearm/muzzleloader, and late-winter antlerless-only deer seasons set by the IDNR. The latest season will delight both experienced and novice hunters. Complete schedule dates, rules, bag limits, and other facts are covered in this page.

Illinois Deer Season

The first and second firearm seasons will take place, respectively, in November and December. The season for archery will run from October to January, except when firearms are in use. Other noteworthy dates for hunting include the October Youth Firearm, the December Muzzleloader Season, the December and January Late-Winter Antlerless-Only, and CWD Seasons. Hunters should also be aware of a new regulation that will go into effect in January and permit using certain single-shot guns.

Firearm and Muzzleloader

Firearm17-19 Nov1 per firearm
 30 Nov-3 Dec
Muzzleloader only8-10 Dec1 per muzzleloader

Archery Hunting

Archery1 Oct–16 Nov1 per archery
 20-29 Nov
 4 Dec – 14 Jan 2024
Archery (Cook, DuPage, Lake and Kane [east of route 47] Counties)1 Oct –14 Jan1 per archery

Youth Firearm

Youth Firearm7-9 Oct1 deer/permit


Special CWD28-31 DecOne
 12-14 Jan

Late-Winter Antlerless-only

Late-Winter Antlerless-only28-31 Dec1 antlerless
 12-14 Jan

Bag Limits

Deer SeasonsBag Limits
Archery (Counties with a firearm season and
west of Route 47 in Kane County)
1 deer per archery permit
Archery (Cook, DuPage, Lake and Kane [east of route 47] Counties)1 deer per archery permit
Firearm (Shotgun, Muzzleloader, Handgun)1 deer per firearm permit
Muzzleloader1 deer per muzzleloader permit
Special CWD1 deer per valid permit
Late Winter Antlerless (Shotgun, Muzzleloader, Handgun)1 antlerless deer per permit
Youth Firearm1 deer

Licenses, Permits, and Application

Hunters may apply for an Illinois deer hunting permit online or by phone at (217) 782-7305. Permit dates vary; lottery drawing results are usually available four weeks after the deadline.

Hunting LicenseVariableVariable
State Habitat Stamp55
Super Senior Habitat Stampn/aFree
Deer Firearm Permits
Either-Sex Permit30025
Deer Muzzleloader Permits
Either-Sex Permit30025
Antlerless-Only Permit$25.00 or $10017.5
Deer Archery Permits
Combination Archery Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)41025
Single Either-Sex Permitn/a15
Single Antlerless-Only Permit17.5
Combination Firearm Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)175Free
Combination Archery Permit (1 either-sex & 1 antlerless permit)210Free
Deer Youth Firearm Permits
Either-Sex Permit1010
Deer Late Winter Firearm Permits
County-specific Antlerless-onlyn/a17.5
Special Hunt Area Antlerless-onlyn/a17.5
County-specific Antlerless-only55
Special Hunt Area Antlerless-onlyn/a17.5

Harvesting a Deer

Regardless of permit status, a hunter may only harvest two antlered yearly. The harvest restriction applies to the year starting July 1. All-white white-tailed cannot be harvested, but piebald deer may. Antlered buck limits exclude CWD hunts.

Kills must be recorded by 10 p.m. on the same day by calling 1-866-452-4325 (1-866-ILCHECK) or utilizing the online check-in system. The hunter must write the harvest confirmation number on the temporary harvest tag and keep it whole or field dressed until check-in. The temporary harvest tag, confirmation number, and permanent leg tag must stay on the deer until it is in the lawful domicile of the person who legally seized or possessed it and final processing is complete. In CWD surveillance counties, rifle seasons must be physically registered at a check station and get a permanent leg tag.


The permit’s “head tag” must include the confirmation number and temporary harvest tag, which must stay with it if taxidermized. Even if the deer is sent to a meat processor, the permanent or temporary harvest tag with the confirmation number must remain with it until it reaches the legitimate owner.

The individual must provide the tanner with their permit number when bringing deer or parts of it for processing to prove legal acquisition. The tanner may depend on the written declaration of the individual from whom the deer was received that the specimen was lawfully harvested or acquired without a permit number.


  • White-tailed hunting has rigorous firearm and archery prohibitions. Except for the Firearm Concealed Carry Act, hunters cannot use or carry illegal firearms or ammunition for that season. The Firearm Concealed Carry Act prohibits carrying a loaded rifle or bows with a nocked arrow except during lawful game hours.
  • You may only utilize one tree stand or ground blind on IDNR-managed land. A tree stand that pierces or slices the tree’s bark is also prohibited. Unless otherwise stated in site-specific restrictions, tree stands must be moveable and removed daily.
  • Hunters must wear a solid blaze orange or blaze pink cap/hat and an upper outer garment with at least 400 square inches of the same color while hunting, tracking wounded deer with a dog, and accompanying youth during youth firearm hunts.
  • Dogs, horses, vehicles, aircraft, and boats cannot be used for rifle or bow hunting. Dogs may track injured game if guided by a handler on a 50-foot lead, during approved hours, and wearing orange or pink. Unlicensed handlers of injured game are excluded. Dogs cannot track game on IDNR-owned or managed locations during hunting hours.
  • Feeding or baiting white-tailed deer with food, salt, minerals, or other goods is unlawful. Store-bought baits and attractants. Only licensed cervid owners may feed captive animals. Normal agricultural techniques are permitted, including planting, harvesting, and cultivating. Scent-only, non-ingestible products may be set or sprinkled to attract deer. An area is baited for 10 days after bait removal.
  • Deer drives are prohibited on IDNR-owned or controlled lands during deer shooting seasons. One or more people purposefully push deer into armed or unarmed hunters.
  • Non-resident hunters who kill a deer in Illinois and plan to transport it through other states should contact each state’s wildlife agency to learn about state-specific carcass and part possession and transportation laws.
  • Illinois does not allow hunter-harvested deer and elk corpses except for deboned flesh, antlers, skins, and upper canine teeth. Only licensed meat processors or taxidermists may prepare carcasses or components with the spinal column or head within 72 hours after admission. The processor or taxidermist must appropriately dispose of inedible tissue or bring it into the state for diagnostic or research use. Under the Illinois Dead Animal Disposal Act, renderers with Class A or B permits may import cervid carcasses or parts for rendering.
  • The Illinois Department of Natural Resources lists firearm and muzzleloader equipment and ammunition. Shotguns with slugs,45-caliber muzzleloading rifles, and.30-caliber centerfire revolvers or pistols are legal weapons. Muzzleloaders can only utilize black powder or Pyrodex and only particular ignitions. Deer hunting with licensed firearms allows scopes. Shotguns and muzzleloaders use. 44-caliber projectiles, handguns use.30-caliber bottleneck or straight-walled centerfire cartridges with at least 500 foot-pounds of energy at the muzzle. Soft point or expanding bullets alone are permitted. Hunting with a Firearm or Muzzleloading Rifle Permit throughout their seasons requires a Property-Only Landowner/Tenant Permit. Private land firearm season allows lawful archery equipment.

For a complete list of Illinois Deer Season regulations, you review the hunting digest at Illinois Natural Resources Department Website.


Do I need a permit to hunt deer in Illinois?

Yes, a current and valid permit is necessary for hunters in Illinois. The location and hunting technique will determine the precise kind of permit required. Permit applications may be submitted online or on paper forms that can be acquired from the permit office by calling (217) 782-7305.

When is the Illinois Youth Firearm Deer Season?

The Illinois’s youth firearm season is from October 9 to 11.

Can hunters use centerfire, single-shot rifles for deer hunting in Illinois?

Yes, as of January 1, a new Illinois law permits hunters to go deer hunting using centerfire, single-shot rifles of a specified caliber.

James Ellis

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