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Archery Deer Hunting

The Basics

The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) leases deer hunting property from private landowners throughout Illinois and makes them available for controlled, public access. Archery deer hunters must fill out an online application, and then IRAP serves as the "middle-person" in order to connect hunters to places to hunt while keeping the identity of the hunter and landowner seperate. Thus, hunters are not to contact the landowner, and landowners are not to contact the hunter.

IRAP's 2024 Archery Deer hunting application will be available July 1.

Who: Any legally licensed hunter (Illinois resident or non-resident) who has completed their hunter safety course (if born in 1980 or after) and who complies with all Illinois hunting laws may apply, including:

  • Youth (under the age of 18): All Youth hunters must have a non-hunting, validly licensed supervising adult of at least 21 years of age accompany them. 
  • 1st-Time Adult: (someone who has not archery deer hunted in the past five years)
  • Adult: (any legally licensed hunter over the age of 18)

Preference may be given to youth and first-time hunters, and those who currently serve or have served in the US military.

When: IRAP has three different hunting periods. Each period allows the participant 15 or 16 days of hunting access on leased private property. Each IRAP archery deer period will have a different map showing how many sites are available by county. It's important to check each period's county map to see what is available.

  • Period 1: October 1-15
  • Period 2: October 16-31
  • Period 3: December 16-31

Where: Please see the statewide maps for each archery period below. Updated maps will be posted by July 1.

What: A few sites are "doe only" hunting sites. When applying for an IRAP Archery Deer hunting site, hunters must be willing to harvest a doe should they be awarded one of these sites. Less than 20% of sites are "doe only" sites. 

IRAP's Archery Deer Season application will become available July 1.

Please note that no chnages can be made to applications once application deadlines have passed. 

How it works:

Hunters applying for an IRAP Archery Deer site must complete an online application along with the accompanying liability waiver and non-hunting supervisor, mentor and or observer (if applicable) forms. Only successful applicants will be notified and receive instructions to where their hunting site is located within the county they applied for, along with a site-specific permit granting them access to hunt on the private property.

Additional Information:

If you, the hunter, wish to take a non-hunting adult mentor or observer with you during your hunt, you will need to:

  • Include them in your IRAP application under the "Non-Hunting Mentor" or "Non-Hunting Observer" section
  • Have them sign the liability waiver
  • Make sure they do NOT hunt, carry a firearm, or bow

All youth hunters must have a non-hunting, validly licensed supervising adult of at least 21 years of age accompany them. 

Successful applicants will receive a packet of information, including an IRAP parking and site permit, a map, and directions to the site, approximately 3 weeks before the start of the season applied for.

You may apply for and hunt up to 3 archery deer periods/sites per year on IRAP property.

The hunter's and the landowner's identity are kept private from one another. We ask that the hunter not come in contact with the landowner, unless necessary.

For a list of Participant Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about IRAP Archery Deer Hunting, please click on the button below:  

IRAP Archery Deer Survey: Hunters MUST fill out a survey within 15 days after the completion of each hunt. Future hunting priviledges are dependent on the return of your survey.

IRAP access is provided through cooperation of private landowners

and the IL Dept. of Natural Resources. It is funded in part by a grant from the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture's NRCS Voluntary Public Access-Habitat Incentive Program (VPA-HIP).

Participating is this program is a special privilege.

Please be respectful, ethical and safe.

Leave the site as you found it. Take ALL garbage with you.

Park your vehicle in the designated parking area.