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Furbearer Hunting and Trapping

In Illinois, 14 species are classified as furbearers, all of which can be legally hunted and/or trapped during regulated seasons. More than 75 state, federal and international laws apply to the hunting and trapping of furbearers in Illinois. Such laws set standards for animal welfare and place limits on hunting and trapping so that animals are not endangered by these activities. For more information on Illinois Furbearers, visit our Furbearer Guide here.

What are the requirements for hunting and trapping Furbearers in Illinois?

  • In order to trap furbearers in Illinois, a person needs to obtain: a valid trapping license and a state habitat stamp. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1998, is required to complete a trapper education course before purchasing a trapping license.
  • In order to hunt furbearers in Illinois, a person needs to obtain: a valid hunting license and a state habitat stamp. Anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 may not be issued a hunting license unless he or she presents a valid Hunter Education Certificate of Competency issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Safety Education Division or another state.
  • For youth hunting and trapping requirements, please check the Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest.
  • If hunting or trapping bobcat, they will also need a Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Permit
  • You can purchase a license and habitat stamp online through ExploreMoreILover the counter from a license vendor, or by calling 1-866-452-4325.

Where can I trap furbearers in Illinois?

  • Trapping is allowed on private property IF you have permission from the landowner or tenant. IDNR has a Land Access Permission Card to facilitate this approval.
  • IDNR allows furbearer hunting and/or trapping at many of our owned or managed sites.
  • Hunting/trapping bobcats is prohibited in an area bounded by Interstate 39/ Route 51 on the west side and U.S. Route 36 on the south side. To see a map of counties included in the bobcat hunting and trapping zone, check the furbearer section in the Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest.

When can I trap furbearers in Illinois and when can I apply for a bobcat permit?

  • Illinois has set different dates for hunting and trapping various species of furbearers. Please check the furbearer section in the Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest for specific dates or the Seasons calendar on Hunt Illinois.
  • Bobcats are the only furbearer that requires a permit before hunting or trapping. Limited permits are allocated by a lottery and the application period is September 1-30. Apply by logging in to your ExploreMoreIL account and navigating to “Applications” to find the “Bobcat Hunting and Trapping Application – Code 304” to apply for a bobcat permit. A non-refundable application fee of $5.00 plus taxes and fees is required. Applicants who did not receive a permit the previous year will have a preference by being part of the initial random drawing. If any additional permits remain to be allocated after that drawing, a second drawing will take place for all of the individuals who received a permit the previous year.
  • Please allow 2-3 weeks after the close of the lottery to see if you were awarded a bobcat permit. To see if you were successful or not, please log in to your ExploreMoreIL account and select “Purchase History”. If you have Privilege Code 1300 – Bobcat Lottery Permit then you were successful! If you do not see the Privilege 1300 and only have the application listed under “Purchase History”, then you did not get a permit. IDNR will mail the successful applicants a temporary bobcat permit within 2 weeks of running the lottery.

What do I do once I harvest a furbearer?

  • Bobcat and river otter are the only furbearer species that require any additional reporting or tagging.
  • After a successful bobcat harvest, the purchase of a pelt tag (code 306) is required within 48 hours of the harvest. Pelt tag purchases are only available online by logging in to your ExploreMoreIL account and clicking on "Buy Licenses/Permits" tab then navigating to the Hunt/Trap tab to purchase a "Bobcat Pelt Temp Permit - Code 306". The price for the pelt tag is $5.50 plus vendor fees. You will be mailed an official CITES pelt tag within 2-3 weeks after purchasing a permit.
  • After a successful otter harvest, the purchase of a pelt tag (code 303) is required within 48 hours of harvesting that otter. Pelt tag purchases are only available over the counter from a license vendor. You will be mailed an official CITES pelt tag within 2-3 weeks after purchasing a permit.
  • An official CITES tag must be permanently affixed to the green hide of each bobcat or otter (including a whole, un-skinned carcass) before it is exported outside the United States or transferred to a fur buyer, fur tanner, taxidermist or manufacturer (a manufacturer is an individual who dresses and fabricates green hides into fur garments or products). Tagging and transportation requirements can be further explained in the Illinois Hunting and Trapping Digest

Visit the new Hunt Illinois website for all your hunting and trapping needs.

Features include:

  • Information by Species – Located on the homepage and has all hunting and trapping management information for all game species. Find season dates, hours, and harvest limits for all hunting/trapping methods, in-depth, season specific regulations, permit and lottery application information, harvest data and much more.
  • Hunting Site Info – Previously called Hunter Fact Sheets, this is where hunters can access public hunting/trapping site information.
  • Trapping Information – Includes credentials needed, dates & limits, regulations, helpful videos and links to additional resources.
  • Hunt Planner – Allows hunters and trappers to find public hunting sites near them, in a county, in a region or anywhere in the state then by species they want to hunt, how they want to hunt (bow, handgun, muzzleloader, rifle, shotgun and traps) and by the season they want to hunt.
  • Hunt Map – Interactive map to locate a public hunting site with species and season filters.
  • Seasons calendar – Shows every species that is open to hunting and/or trapping in any given month of the year. 

Related Links

Not sure where to begin? Visit our Getting Started page.