Youth waterfowl hunts slated

A number of Illinois state parks, fish and wildlife areas, conservation areas and recreation areas plan to be open for 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, has announced.

Federal sites that fall under the IDNR waterfowl administrative rule also scheduled to be open for youth hunts.

At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the youth hunt. 

IDNR noted that steps are being taken to protect hunters and staff from the spread of COVID-19.  

Participants in the youth hunt are being 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. 

IDNR said that 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. IDNR noted 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. 

Special hunts on the schedule include a Southern Illinois youth waterfowl hunt at the Union County and Horseshoe Lake SFWA on 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. 

IDNR said 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

State and federal sites which are scheduled to be open during the youth waterfowl hunts include:

2020 South Central Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 7-8), State and Federal Sites Open

Campbell Pond

Carlyle Lake SFWA

Kaskaskia SFWA

Kinkaid Lake SFWA

Mississippi River 

Oakwood Bottoms

Pyramid State Recreation Area (Captain, Denmark, Galum, and East Conant Units)

Rend Lake Project Land and Waters

Shawnee National Forest

Ten Mile Creek SFWA

2020 South Zone Youth Waterfowl Hunt (Nov. 14-15), State and Federal Sites Open

Bluff Lakes 

Cache River SNA

Cape Bend SFWA

Chauncey Marsh SNA

Crab Orchard NWR

Cypress Pond SNA

Deer Pond SNA

Devil’s Island

Dog Island

Embarras River Bottoms SHA

Fort Massac (Kerr Farm Unit)

Horseshoe Lake SFWA (Alexander County)

LaRue Swamp 

Mermet Lake SFWA

Mississippi River

Newton Lake SFWA

Saline County SFWA

Sielbeck Forest SNA

Shawnee National Forest

Union County SFWA

For more information about Illinois waterfowl seasons, check the IDNR Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2020-2021, which is available at IDNR offices and online through the IDNR website at 

For information about IDNR’s youth waterfowl hunting permit special hunts go to


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