Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Hunters in southern Illinois enjoy a rich tradition of hunting on public lands. Each year thousands of hunters from across the nation are attracted to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge to hunt an exceptionally diverse list of species, including trophy bucks, turkeys, small game and waterfowl. In addition to active habitat management, farmers share-crop part of the refuge land, leaving a percentage of the crop in the field for wildlife, which provides excellent hunting opportunities. The refuge hosts special-permitted deer and turkey hunts, which include opportunities for hunters with disabilities and youth. These hunts are well known for their high success rates. The refuge has a rich history in waterfowl hunting and is best known for its abundant waterfowl hunting opportunities along the shorelines of Crab Orchard Lake. While the species listed above constitute the primary drawing card for hunters, the refuge also abounds with a variety of game species, such as dove, squirrel and rabbit, that are open to hunting.

Crab Orchard Hunting Regulations 

Activity

Season

Hunting Area

Special Regulations

YouthFirearmDeer, ADA accessible Firearm Deer

Nov. 18-20 2022

Special Hunt Area

Crab Orchard permits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting.

Firearm Deer

 

Muzzleloader Deer**

Nov. 18-20, 2022

Dec. 1-4, 2022

Dec 9-11, 2022**

Special Hunt Area

Crab Orchard permits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting.

**Williamson County Muzzleloader permits only.

Youth Turkey Firearm and Spring Turkey Firearm

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Special Hunt Area

Permits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting. Approved non- toxic shot required for turkey hunting

YouthWaterfowl Teal, Duck and Geese

Dec.17-18 2022

Hampton Unit Hunt Area

Controlled hunt only. Hunters are required to check in prior to hunting. Hampton Unit will open to waterfowl hunting Wed. thru Sun. beginning December 21, 2022.

Archery Deer

Oct. 1 Nov. 6,  2022

Jan  7th-15th  2023

Special Hunt Area

Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting. January season is antlerless only.

Archery Deer, Youth Deer Firearm, Muzzleloader Deer, Firearm Deer

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Open Hunt Area

Season closed during Firearm deer seasons.

Spring/FallTurkey Shotgun and Archery, Youth Turkey

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Open Area Hunt

Approved non-toxic shot required for shot shells

Teal, Duck, Geese and Youth Waterfowl

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Open Area Hunt

Waterfowl hunting blinds must be a minimum of 200 yards (180 m) apart.

Dove, Quail, Crow

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Open Area Hunt

Approved non-toxic shot required for shot shells.

Rabbits, Squirrel, Bobcat, Coyote

*Illinois state season with state bag limits

Open Area Hunt

Approved non-toxic shot required for shot shells. We prohibit the use of rifles or handguns with ammunition larger than .22 caliber rimfire, except the use of black powder firearms up to and including .40 caliber are allowed.

*See Illinois Digest of Hunting Regulations for specific dates at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting

 

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