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

The stunning bluffs covered in hardwood forests provide a striking backdrop to the Mississippi River as it meanders. Habitat types include areas of open river water, braided river channels, floodplain forests, backwater marshes and adjacent prairies. Hunters are asked to respect “voluntary waterfowl avoidance areas” that are marked with signs and buoys to reduce disturbance to resting and feeding waterfowl from mid-October through mid-November. During the fall migration, deeper waters on the river draw huge flocks of diving ducks, especially canvasbacks, with ring-necked ducks, goldeneye, redheads and scaup also commonly sighted. Marshlands and floodplain forests adjacent to the river attract wood ducks, blue-winged and green-winged teal, mallards, wigeon, gadwall, and pintail. Hunters equipped with a boat and a large spread of decoys can have good hunting opportunities for diving ducks, puddle ducks, and Canada geese. In addition, numerous forested islands on the river offer excellent deer hunting opportunities. Small game and turkey hunters also find success in the floodplain forest. Smaller swaths of prairie land offer chances to hunt doves. Many hunters enjoy the solitude and abundant wildlife on this refuge, which is considered one of the most scenic stretches along the Mississippi River. 

Rules and Policies for the Refuge and Hunting

Pool Maps

Special Hunts for Lost Mound Unit 

Two managed deer hunts, one for youth (ages 10-17) and one for adults with disability (18 and older), are conducted within designated Closed Areas of Lost Mound. All hunters must be accompanied by an adult able-bodied attendant that is capable of tracking and retrieving a deer.

The application period extends from July 1 through July 31 and is open to residents and non-residents. All applications will be entered into a random drawing for 35 hunt sites on August 8.

All hunters, attendants and any accompanying individuals must attend the mandatory hunt site check in and orientation day that corresponds with their hunt. Youth Hunt check in will be held on Saturday November 9 or Friday November 22, and Adults with Disability Hunt check in will be held on Friday, November 15. Location will be the Lost Mound Unit equipment storage building, 3159 Crim Drive, Savanna, IL 61074.

The youth hunt will be held on November 23 and 24 which coincides with the Illinois first firearm deer season. An unfilled Illinois Youth Deer Permit or a Jo Daviess County Permit must be obtained and brought to the orientation. All youth must show certification of completion of a state approved hunter safety course.

The hunt for adults with disability will be held on November 16 and 17 which is the Saturday-Sunday prior to the Illinois Firearms Deer First Season. A minimum P2a Illinois disability classification (or similar disability certification from non-resident states) is required. Wheelchair-bound and amputee hunters will receive priority selection for hunt sites. A Jo Daviess County Deer Permit is not needed in order to apply for this hunt, as this permit is provided by the Refuge.

Youth Hunt Application 

Persons with Disability Hunt Application