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Frequently Asked Questions


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1. Can I find my Safety Certification Numbers (& print it?) online?

Safety Certification Numbers can be found online and a new Certification Card printed.

2. Where can I find information about the new World Shooting & Recreational Complex?

Visit the WSRC website.

3. What equipment is legal for archery hunting?

Double check your hunting regulations, but a long recurve or compound bow with a minimum pull of 40 pounds at some point within a 28-inch draw. Minimum arrow length is 20 inches, and broadheads must be used. Broadheads may have fixed or expandable cutting surfaces, but they must be barbless and have a minimum 7/8 inch 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. Go to the hunting page or the Hunting Digest.

4. Where is information for disabled outdoor recreational opportunities?

We have a great site for the disabled sportsman

5. How many deer are there in Illinois?

There are about 800,000 whitetails wandering the state.

6. How many deer hunters are there?

In 2008, we have over 500,000 hunters registered in our database.

7. How soon must a hunter check in his/her deer?

A.It is unlawful to harvest a deer without checking it in by 10:00 p.m. on the same calendar day the deer was taken by either calling our Virtual Checkstation or going online here. The only exception to this is for counties being surveyed for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) during the Firearm Deer Season and during the Special Chronic Wasting Disease Hunting Season, when hunters must take their deer to the designated County Check Station on the same day of harvest. Check stations are open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. ~ Virtual Checkstation is online here.

8. What is the definition of an antlered deer and an antlerless deer?

An antlered deer is defined as a deer having at least one antler of a length of 3 inches or more. An antlerless deer is defined as a deer without antlers or a deer having antlers less than 3 inches long.

9. How can I make my deer legal before transporting it to a meat processor?

It is illegal to deliver a deer or parts of a deer to a meat processor without the temporary harvest tag (paper leg tag) with the Confirmation Number written on it. The tag and confirmation number must remain with the deer while it is processed, then must remain with the processed deer until it is at the legal residence of the person who legally took or possessed the deer. For counties with a check station during the firearm deer season, and counties open to the Special CWD Deer Season, it is unlawfull to deliver a deer or parts of a deer to a meat processor without the plastic leg tag that is affixed at the check-in station. This leg tag must remain attached to the leg of the deer until it is processed, then must remain with the processed deer until it is at the legal residence of the person who legally took or possessed the deer.

10. What about harvesting a white deer?

It is unlawful to take an all white white-tailed deer at any time.

11. When is it illegal to carry a bow and arrow during the archery season?

It is unlawful to carry a bow with a nocked arrow in the field, except during legal hunting hours.

12. If Im a non-resident and want to hunt in Illinois, what do I need?

Refer to Getting Started for rules, regulations & laws.

13. If Im a minor and want to hunt or trap in Illinois, what do I need?

Refer to the Hunting & Trapping Information. This will also give you information on statewide regulations.

14. When is Firearm Deer Season in Illinois?

The weekends before (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and after Thanksgiving weekend (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday). There is also a split seven-day late-winter season in December & January. Check the hunting site for more info on dates.

15. How many firearm deer hunting permits are remaining for a certain county?

Check the Hunting site for available permits or call 217-782-7305 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM Monday - Friday. Turkey permits are also listed.

16. What types of licenses, permits, or stamps do I need to fish or hunt?

Please check the License/Stamps and Hunting application form index on our home page, since requirements vary based on age and other factors and some dates and rules may change from year to year.

17. Where can I go for state facts, symbols and fun things for kids to learn?

We have a great educational site.

18. Where can I find information on your Financial Aid & Grants Programs?

Information can be found on our Financial Assistance, Grants Program or Financial Assistance programs.

19. I just bought a boat, what do I need to do to register it?

Obtain an application from either a boat dealer, currency exchange, DNR office, state park, or download from our watercraft page. Complete the application and send in the top copy to us. Keep the middle copy with you until you receive registration documents from us. Your copy allows you to use the watercraft in the interim. The back side of the application identifies registration fees and other documents (title, Certificate of Origin, Dept. of Revenue receipt, etc.) which needs to be sent to us. Please allow 8 weeks for processing; during the peak boating season the processing time may increase. You may also call us at 217-557-0180 or 1-800-382-1696 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Friday.If the watercraft has never been registered and titled in Illinois, complete the application as a "NEW" registration.

20. Must I register my inflatable boat(s)?

Illinois law includes inflatable boats in the definition of "watercraft" and as such, they must be numbered in accordance with the law. Complying with this law presents certain problems for owners of inflatable boats. Most commonly used materials for numbering boats won't hold up well on inflatables. The most common means of compliance is to affix the numbers and expiration decal to a board which is then attached to the grab rail allowing it to hang over the side in the location where numbers would normally be painted. There are two companies (that we know of) that offer methods to affix numbers directly to a rubber boat:

1) Inland Marine, 1320 Cape Coral Highway, Cape Coral, FL (813) 463-7552 offers a stencil and paint that will adhere to rubber and flex without flaking off.

2) West Shore Marine, 208 Beacon St., Marblehead, MA (617) 639-0480 sells numbers and letters made of the same material that the boats are made of and can be permanently glued on.

21. What types of services and/or permits does the department issue?

IDNR issues many types of permits and has various services, some of which are:

  • Water Resources, call 217-785-4863
  • Coal Mining & Reclamation, call 217-785-5199
  • Aggregate Mining and Storage Certifications, call 217-785-9019
  • Blasting License, call 217-785-0356
  • Mining Certification (first class papers, Mine Manager, Metal Mine Foreman, etc.) call 217-782-0120
  • Oil and Gas permits, call 217-782-3718
  • Wildlife Rehabilitator, Cross Bow, Falcony permits, Ginseng, Mounting, Salvage & Timber Buyers Licenses, call 217/782-6431
  • Collection & Research in IL State Parks, Forest & Conservation Areas call 217-785-8774
  • Deer, turkey, Pheasant, Goose and Duck Reservations for Public Hunting areas, call 217-782-7305
  • Fishing licenses, resident & non-resident, call 217-782-2965
  • Fish & Game Buyers, Dealers, Retailers and wholesalers permits/licenses, for fishing licenses, commercial, or Furbearer permits, Possession of Wildlife, or Taxidermy permits, call 217-785-3423
  • Possession of Endangered or Threatened Species, call 217-785-8774
  • Professional Geologists, call 217-333-5111
  • Scientific Collecting Permits, call 217-785-8547
  • Special Land Use or Utilities Permits, call 217-785-1188
  • Wildlife Importing/Exporting or Wildlife Nuisance Permits (game/furbearing), call 217-217-782-6384
  • Wildlife Nuisance Permits (non-game) call 217-782-6384
  • Activity Permits in Parks - call the site where the event will be
  • Aquaculture and Game Breeders call 217-785-3423
  • Collection and Research in IL Nature Preserves, call 217-785-8686

22. Do you have a listing of frequently asked phone numbers?

  • BOAT (watercraft) registration/title 217-557-0180 or 1-800-382-1696
  • Renew your watercraft by phone: 1-866-867-3542
  • Crossbow applications and information is 217-782-6431
  • Deer Permits 217-782-7305
  • FOID Cards (State Police) 217-782-7980
  • Hunting & Fishing Licenses 217-782-2965
  • Internship Programs 217-785-8591
  • Law Enforcement 217-782-6431
  • Migratory Rules & Regulations Office of the Migratory Bird Management (Federal) Jim Kelley, USFWS Region 3 Office-Ft. Snelling MN 612-713-5409
  • Poacher Hotline 1-877-236-7529
  • Road Kill (Questions) 217-782-6431
  • Safety Education 1-800-832-2599
  • Snowmobile registration and Information 217-557-0180 or 1-800-382-1696
  • Target Poachers 1-877-236-7529
  • Turkey Permits and Information 217-782-7305
  • All other questions (main number) 217-782-6302