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Turkey Hunting

The Basics

The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) leases turkey hunting property from private landowners throughout Illinois and makes them available for controlled, public access. Turkey 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 separate. Thus, hunters are not to contact the landowner, and landowners are not to contact the hunter.

IRAP begins accepting Spring Seasons 3 & 4 and Youth Turkey applications on December 1, 2023. Please see the dates below for application deadlines. 

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 hunted turkey 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 leases turkey hunting for Youth Season and Seasons 3 & 4 only. 

2024 Youth Season: 2 weekends-statewide

  • March 30-31
  • April 6-7

2024 3rd Season:

  • April 19-24 (South Zone)
  • April 26-May 1(North Zone)

2024 4th Season 

  • April 25-May 1 (South Zone)
  • May 2-May 8 (North Zone)

Where: IRAP leases over 20,000 acres of private land across approximately 48 counties in Illinois for turkey hunting. Most sites are at least 40 acres, and all have been evaluated for turkey activity to provide the highest probability of a good hunting experience.

What: IRAP began accepting Spring Turkey hunting applications on November 20, 2023. Please see below for application deadlines.

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

Please do not apply until after you have received your 2024 Turkey Permit for one of IRAP's available Spring Turkey seasons.

Youth Season

IRAP's final Youth Season application deadline was 5pm, Wednesday, February 21, 2024

3rd & 4th Season

IRAP’s 3rd and Final Application Deadline for 3rd & 4th Seasons was 5pm, Tuesday, February 27, 2024. 

IRAP's 3rd and 4th Season Application reopened at 8am on Tuesday, March 12, 2024 to accept applications from OTC Permit Sales. 

IDNR Over-the-Counter Turkey Permit Sales

IRAP updated its list of sites per county corresponding with OTC permits on March 15, 2024.

The final deadline to apply for a remaining IRAP site was 5pm, Monday, March 18, 2024.

All remaining IRAP sites were filled on a first come, first served basis starting March 12th, in conjunction with the OTC sales.

NOTE: Participants are only allowed 1 site award per county per season. Applications for an additional county award in the same season will not be granted unless the site will otherwise go used. 

To locate a permit vendor in your area, please visit: ExploreMoreIL - Agent Locator

How It Works:

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

For YOUTH season: Youth hunters must complete the Youth application by the final deadline.

A lottery will be held after the application deadline. Successful applicants will receive confirmation from IRAP at least 3 weeks prior to the start of the hunting season. Once IRAP has confirmed that the applicant received a site, the youth hunter can purchase an over-the counter youth turkey permit.

For Spring Season 3 and 4: the applicant must first obtain a county specific turkey permit through the IDNR permit system (lottery). IRAP participants will only be allowed to hunt 1 county per season.

Please look at the statewide IRAP Turkey Site Availability Maps (above) –  Once an applicant receives their IDNR turkey permit, they should immediately fill out an IRAP Turkey application.

IRAP will hold a lottery after each of the 3 IDNR Lottery Application periods within a few days of the posted results. You can check the status of your Spring Turkey application by visiting the following link: Turkey Lottery Application Status (

IRAP staff will notify participants of whether they were awarded an IRAP site and post an updated map or list of remaining IRAP counties/sites after each lottery, before the conclusion of the following IRAP Lottery Application Period. 

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.

Youth may apply for 1 county in each season per year - Youth, 3rd & 4th Seasons.

Adults may apply for 1 county in 3rd & 4th Season each year.

If IRAP has remaining sites at the time of OTC sales, youth and adults are allowed to apply for an additional county in a season.

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 more information about turkey hunting in Illinois, please visit IDNR's Turkey Hunting site. 

IRAP Turkey 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 designated parking area.