SPRINGFIELD — A number of Illinois state parks, state fish and wildlife areas, state conservation areas and state recreation areas will be open to youth waterfowl hunting during the 2021 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 announced recently.
Some federal sites that fall under IDNR waterfowl administrative rule also will be open for the youth hunts.
At most sites, regulations that apply during the regular waterfowl hunting season apply during the Youth Hunt. 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 if allowed at the site.
Youth hunters must have a hunting license, youth hunting license or apprentice hunting license. The youth hunter or his or her appropriately licensed accompanying adult must have a valid FOID card. 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 (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. Additional information about hunting license requirements and regulations can be found in the 2021-22 Digest of Illinois Hunting and Trapping Regulations online at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/Pages/HuntTrapDigest.aspx.
Participants in the Youth Hunt will be required to observe all guidance from the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health at the time of the hunts regarding face coverings and social distancing.
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. 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. 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 online through the IDNR website.
The lists of state and federal sites to be open during the Youth Waterfowl Hunts in the North, Central, South Central and South zones are listed online at https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/Pages/default.aspx.