IDNR announces State and Federal sites open for '20 youth waterfowl hunting seasons


SPRINGFIELD – A number of Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas and recreation areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2020 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt and South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced. Federal sites that fall under the IDNR waterfowl administrative rule that will be open for the youth hunts also are listed below.

At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the Youth Hunt. IDNR is taking steps to protect hunters and staff from the spread of COVID-19. Participants in the Youth Hunt are reminded to follow current public health directives, including maintaining social distancing guidelines, bringing with them masks in case social distancing cannot be maintained and hand sanitizer containing at least 60 percent alcohol. Hunters should check for changes to site-specific regulations and procedures. During the Youth Hunt, the bag limits are the same as during regular seasons.

As part of the Youth Hunt, hunters age 17 or younger may hunt ducks, geese, coots and mergansers as long as they are accompanied by an adult at least 18 years of age. The accompanying adult cannot hunt these species but may participate in other open seasons.

Youth hunters must have a Hunting License, Youth Hunting License, or Apprentice Hunting License. The youth hunter or his or her accompanying adult must have a valid FOID card. The supervising adult does not need to have a hunting license if they are not hunting other species. Youth hunters age 15 or younger are not required to have state or federal duck stamps, however youth hunters age 16 and older must have federal duck stamps even if they are using an Illinois Youth License. Hunters are not required to have an Illinois duck stamp unless they are age 18 or older (NOTE: this is a change from previous regulations). Although Illinois Youth Hunting Licenses are available for hunters up to age 18, federal waterfowl hunting regulations do not allow hunters over age 17 to participate in youth hunts.

Special youth hunts taking place through the Youth Waterfowl Hunting Permit or other youth-only hunts at IDNR sites, are open only to youth hunters age 10–17. These special hunts include:

  • Banner Marsh State Fish and Wildlife Area (Oct. 17, 18)
  • Black Crown Marsh (Oct. 10,11)
  • Clinton Lake State Recreation Area - Salt Creek and Disabled units (Oct. 17)
  • Donnelly/DePue SFWA (Oct. 31)
  • Larry D. Closson State Habitat Area (Oct. 17)
  • Marshall SFWA – Duck Ranch Unit (Oct. 17, 18)
  • Spring Lake SFWA – Spring Lake Bottoms Unit (Nov. 14)
  • Southern Illinois youth waterfowl hunt – Union County and Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Dec. 28).

All other youth hunts are open to those ages 17 and younger.

All waterfowl hunters, including those participating in the Youth Hunt, are required to register with the Harvest Information Program (HIP). In order to register with HIP, hunters will need to have their hunting license number available. Hunters should register for HIP at the license vendor when they buy their hunting license or by calling 1-888-6PERMIT (1-888-673-7648) or online through the IDNR website at

The lists of state and federal sites to be open during the Youth Waterfowl Hunts in the North and  Central zones are:

2020 North Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 10-11)

(State and Federal Sites Open)

Chain O’Lakes State Park; Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area; Heidecke Lake SFWA; Lake DePue SFWA; Sinnissippi Lake Wildlife Area; Mississippi River Pools (All located in North Zone); William W. Powers State Recreation Area

2020 Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Oct. 17-18)

(State, Federal and Private Sites Open)

Anderson Lake SFWA; Banner Marsh SFWA; Braidwood Lake SFWA; Clinton Lake SRA; Coffeen Lake SFWA; Freeman Mine; Henderson Creek SFWA; Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County); Horseshoe Lake State Park (Madison County) (Gabaret, Mosenthein, Chouteau Island Units); Kankakee River State Park; Marshall SFWA; Marshall SFWA - Sparland Unit; Marshall SFWA - Duck Ranch Unit; Mazonia SFWA; Meredosia Lake; Mississippi River Area (MRA) - All sites managed by MRA; Mississippi River Pools (All located in Central Zone); Momence Wetlands State Natural Area; Pekin Lake SFWA; Quincy Bay; Ray Norbut SFWA; Rice Lake SFWA; Sanganois SFWA; Sangchris Lake State Park; Shelbyville SFWA; Spring Lake SFWA; Starved Rock State Park; Weinberg-King State Park - Spunky Bottoms Unit; Woodford SFWA.

For more information on Illinois waterfowl seasons, check the IDNR Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2020-21, which is available at IDNR offices and online through the IDNR website at: For information on IDNR’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Permit special hunts go to:

For IDNR site-specific information: Hunter Fact Sheets - and Hunt Illinois –