Illinois Hunting License | Helpful Guide

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You might have been all set to hunt some eastern strain turkeys until you realized you were missing one thing, a hunting license. A hunting license allows you to enjoy the abundant wild game species in Illinois besides the popular turkey and deer. Some of these species include pheasant, bobwhite quail, squirrel, rabbit, coyote, and fox. But where do you start? Don’t you worry; here is all the information you need. This article covers:

  • Types of hunting licenses in Illinois
  • How long the licenses last
  • Where you can buy the license
  • How much the hunting licenses cost
  • Current hunting season in Illinois

Types of Hunting Licenses in Illinois

Broadly, the licenses are divided into resident and non-resident licenses. Resident licenses are for those who have been continuously living in the state of Illinois for at least 6months. The types of licenses available for the residents are:

Regular Resident Licenses

  • Resident hunting license- covers hunting of all the wildlife species
  • Resident lifetime hunting license- similar to the above but for a lifetime
  • Resident lifetime sportsmen’s combination hunting/fishing license
  • Resident sportsmen’s combination hunting/fishing license

Senior Licenses

These licenses are available for those who are aged 65 years and above. It also has both annual and lifetime options.

  • Resident senior hunting license
  • Resident senior sportsmen’s combination hunting/ fishing license
  • Resident super senior hunting license
  • Resident super senior sportsmen’s combo hunting/ fishing license

Veteran Licenses

If you are a veteran, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) offers you reduced cost hunting licenses. You will need to first undergo a verification process by presenting official forms that prove you served.

  • Resident veteran hunting license
  • Resident veteran sportsmen’s combination hunting/ fishing license

Military Fee Exemption

For members of the US military who are still on active duty, the licensing fee is exempted. You will need to appear in person in the IDNR headquarters in Springfield. The exempted fees include camping, hunting, and fishing.

Youth License

If you are 18 years and under, you qualify for a youth license. You don’t have to possess hunter safety certification before you are awarded this license in Illinois.

Apprentice License

People who want to learn about hunting sports are given a hunting apprentice license. It is available for both residents and non-residents. One can also get it at any age. Once obtained, it can be used on both private and public land provided it’s under the supervision of a licensed hunter who is at least 21 years of age. Additionally, the supervisor will need to have a hunter education certificate when it comes to public property hunting supervision.

Nonresident Hunting Licenses

If you are not a resident of Illinois, you have three different license types that you can choose from as follows:

  • Non-Resident hunting license
  • Non-Resident hunting license (5day)
  • Non-Resident hunting preserve license

How Long the Licenses Last

The validity of a license varies from one type to another. The yearly hunting licenses are the most popular and are valid until March the following year. That means that any license you purchase throughout the year will expire by March no matter the period between purchase and the expiration month.

A non-resident hunting license with five days validity is designed for those visiting the state for a hunting trip. You can always purchase another license for more days.

Hunting enthusiasts can choose the lifetime license option. It allows the holder unlimited access to hunting and fishing activities for as long as they are alive. It is cost-effective if you do a lot of hunting and can afford paying a large sum at once.

Where You Can Buy the License

You have 3 different options when it comes to where to buy your hunting license. The first option is to buy it online. The procedure is quite simple. On the website list of hunting licenses, find your preferred license, and click on the ‘Ónline’ button. On the next page, find the section with a link on the hunting/ fishing license and proceed to identify yourself and make the payments. You will receive your license that you can print and use.

The second option is getting a license from a local license and permit vendor. You can search for the vendor nearest to you on the official IDNR website.

Your third option is to purchase a license via the phone. You will need to call 1-888-673-7648, and you will be guided through the process. Once you complete your payment, your license will be sent to you. You can also purchase stamps through this method.

How Much the Hunting Licenses Cost

License prices vary from type to type. The current cost of each of the type of license mentioned above is as follows:

Regular Resident Licenses

  • Resident hunting license: $12.50
  • Resident lifetime hunting license: $360.00
  • Resident lifetime sportsmen’s combination hunting/fishing license: $765.00
  • Resident sportsmen’s combination hunting/fishing license: $26.25

Senior Licenses

  • Resident senior hunting license: $6.50
  • Resident senior sportsmen’s combination hunting/ fishing license: $13.50
  • Resident super senior hunting license: $1.50
  • Resident super senior sportsmen’s combo hunting/ fishing license: $2.75

Veteran licenses

  • Resident veteran hunting license: $6.50
  • Resident veteran sportsmen’s combination hunting/ fishing license: $13.50

Youth License: $7.00

Apprentice License: $7.50

Nonresident Hunting Licenses

  • Non-Resident hunting license: $57.75
  • Non-Resident hunting license (5day): $35.75
  • Non-Resident hunting preserve license: $12.50

Current Hunting Season in Illinois

At this time of the year, it’s spring turkey season. The season is almost ending, and if you haven’t brought home a turkey yet, it’s probably time you got that license and headed out. You can hunt the turkeys from half an hour before sunrise to 1 pm.

If you don’t make in time for the turkeys, remember coyotes and striped skunks are hunted all-year-round. You can practice your hunting skills on them. You can also find a farmer with a wild hog problem, get a permit, and get hunting any time of the year.


Illinois has one of the best hunter licensing systems. It has options that suit everybody’s hunting needs. It’s no wonder it produces some of the most exceptional hunters. You can easily obtain your license online, through a local vendor or by telephone. With all the hunting opportunities throughout the year, you better get a hunting license as soon as you can.

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