Q. Can I use a centerfire rifle for hunting in
Illinois? Or handguns?
A. Under Illinois law, the following species
may be taken with a rifle or handgun: coyote,
striped skunk, woodchuck, squirrel, rabbit,
raccoon, opossum and red and gray fox. We
do not regulate the caliber of handgun or rifle
that may be used; except on state-owned or
managed areas, which normally allow only
the use of shotguns or .22 caliber rimfire ri-fles.
Squirrel, furbearers and woodchuck
hunters may use a .17 caliber rimfire rifle on
some state-owned or managed areas. No ri-fles
may be possessed in the field, however,
during firearm deer season except that trap-pers
may carry a .22 rimfire rifle to dispatch
animals during firearm deer season. Certain
handguns are lawful for deer hunting (see
pages 16 & 18 for regulations).
In addition to the Department's site specific
regulations, many cities or counties may
have local ordinances prohibiting the use of
certain firearms. It is important, therefore,
that you also check with your local police
agencies before you hunt. At all times when
in possession of firearms, hunters must also
comply with the other firearms regulations as
outlined in the Illinois Criminal Code.
Q. Can I use walkie-talkies or cell phones to
keep in touch with my hunting partners while in
the field hunting?
A. Yes. There is nothing in Illinois conserva-tion
law that prohibits the use of these com-munication
devices while hunting.
Q. Can I use a scope on my gun or bow?
A. Yes. There is nothing in Illinois conserva-tion
law that regulates the use of scopes for
guns including muzzleloaders or bows while
Q. Can I use a shotgun primer as a percussion
cap for my muzzleloader?
A. Yes. A shotgun primer is a type of per-cussion
cap and therefore legal for use in
hunting with muzzleloaders.
Q. Can I use mechanical deer decoys or
electronic calls for deer hunting?
A. Yes. Illinois law does not prohibit the use
of mechanical deer decoys or electronic calls
for deer hunting. (Note: both electronic turkey
decoys and electronic calls are ILLEGAL for
Q. Do I need a F.O.I.D. card to hunt with
A. Yes. Illinois residents possessing or using
modern muzzleloading firearms are required
to have a valid F.O.I.D. card. Only antique
firearms (other than a machine gun) which,
although designed as a weapon, the Depart-ment
of State Police finds by reason of the
date of its manufacture, value, design, and
other characteristics is primarily a collector's
item and not likely to be used as a weapon,
is exempt from the F.O.I.D. law.
Q. Is there a set distance from a roadway I
have to be in order to hunt?
A. No. There is no set distance. It is simply
unlawful to hunt, trap, or discharge a gun or
bow and arrow device along, upon, across or
from a public roadway, highway, or right-of-way.
(See page 12 of the digest for further
explanation). The only exception is that any
person who hunts on any property operated
under a Migratory Waterfowl Hunting Area
Permit where the principal use is to take wild
geese, cannot hunt geese from a pit or blind
that is within 200 yards of a public right-of-way
that is adjacent to any State or Federal
Q. Is there a set distance from another per-son's
property I must be in order to hunt?
A. No. But there are a couple of issues to
keep in mind. One, you must have permis-sion
to hunt from the landowner or tenant be-fore
you enter their property. That includes
tracking wounded game. Although it is illegal
to kill game and not make an attempt to re-trieve
it, your attempt ends if you are not
granted access to the property where the an-imal
goes. Second, you cannot hunt within
100 yards of an inhabited dwelling if hunting
with bow and arrow device or shotgun loaded
with shot shells (or 300 yards if using a rifle,
handgun, or deer slugs) unless you have per-mission
from the person occupying the
dwelling. You could theoretically be on your
own property but if it is too close to another
person's dwelling, and you don't have per-mission
from the person who occupies that
dwelling, you can't hunt there.
Holders of commercial migratory waterfowl
area permits where the primary use is to take
wild geese, cannot have a blind or pit that is
located less than 100 yards from the bound-ary
of the property on which the blind or pit is
Q. How may I safely and legally transport
a firearm in a vehicle?
A. You must possess a valid Firearm
Owner’s Identification Card (F.O.I.D.) and the
firearm must be unloaded and enclosed in a
case (see definition of “case” in the “DEFIN-ITIONS”
section on page 9). Unloaded and
properly enclosed firearms can be placed
anywhere in the vehicle. (See transporting
bow and arrow devices in vehicles - page
Q. May I carry a firearm in a rack in my back
window, say in a pickup truck?
A. Yes, if you have a valid F.O.I.D. and the
firearm is unloaded and in a case. However,
in this situation you would need to have a
side mirror on the truck for an unobstructed
view to the rear of the vehicle. Consider one
thing: a gun displayed in a window could in-vite
Q. How may I safely and legally transport am-munition
in a vehicle?
A. The location of ammunition being trans-ported,
including ammunition being trans-ported
in loaded magazines, is not regulated
as long as the firearm is unloaded and en-cased,
and the resident possessing the
firearm/ammunition holds a valid F.O.I.D.
Q. How may I legally transport firearms and
ammunition in another state?
A. The particular state in which you will be trav-eling
should be contacted for that information.
Q. How can a non-resident without a F.O.I.D.
card legally transport a firearm in a vehicle?
A. Non-residents must transport their
firearms unloaded and enclosed in a case
(see Transporting Firearms and Bow and
Arrow Devices in Vehicles, page 12). In addi-tion,
the firearm must not be immediately ac-cessible
or must be broken down in a
Q. Where can I get more information on trans-porting
A. For more information, contact: Illinois State
Police at (217) 524-2525, or the F.O.I.D. Of-fice
at (217) 782-7980, www.isp.state.il.us; or
Department of Natural Resources’ Clearing-house
at (217) 782-7498, www.dnr.state.il.us
and ask for the brochure “Transport Your Gun
Legally – Commonly Asked Questions on
Q. Can I use an elecronic call to hunt coyote
A. Yes. They can also be used at night when
night hunting is allowed.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
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