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Upland Game Hunting

The Basics

The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) leases upland game and rabbit hunting property from private landowners throughout Illinois and makes them available for controlled, public access. Upland Game 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's 2024 Upland Game hunting applications will be available October 4. Rabbit may also be harvested while Upland Game hunting. 

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 waterfowl 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 offers upland game and rabbit hunting during the last 3 weekends of December. Sites are reserved for a 2-day hunt on Saturday and Sunday. The 2024 Upland Game hunting dates are December 14-15, 21-22, and 28-29.

Where: Please see IRAP's statewide Upland Game with Rabbit hunting map below for site availability by county. Sites can accommodate up to 4 people total, which includes a non-hunting mentor and or observer, if applicable, and their dogs. 

What: IRAP's 2024 Upland Game hunting application will be available October 4.

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

How It Works:

Hunters applying for an IRAP upland game site must complete an online application along with the accompanying liability waiver and non-hunting supervisor, mentor and or observer (if applicable) forms. 

If applying as a group, a "group organizer" must be selected. Each group member must then fill out an individual application and list their group organizer. Please determine who will be the group organizer prior to applying, as each person in the group must indicate the same group organizer to ensure they are included in the same group assignment.

Each upland game hunting site can accommodate a group of up to four people. Please note that if you decide to take an additional non-hunting supervisor, mentor or observer, then that person must make up one of the four within your group. 

Additional Information:

If you 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. The supervising adult must make up one of the four in a group.

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.

Sites are to be accessed by foot traffic only. 

Dogs are allowed and must be kept in close range of the hunter.

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's Upland Game and Rabbit hunting, please click on the button below: 

Hunters MUST fill out a survey 15 days after the completion of each hunt. Future hunting privileges are dependent on the completion of your survey. 

IRAP access is provided through the cooperation of private landowners and the IL Department of Natural Resources.

Participating in 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 vehicle in designated parking area.