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Conservation Corner

Archery deer opportunities in Rock Island and across Illinois

Thu, August 16, 2018

An excellent article on archery deer hunting opportunities in Rock Island and across Illinois.

Rock Island has begun accepting applications for the 2018-19 archery deer hunting season. The season runs parallel to the dates set by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for the rest of the state.

Applications can be obtained at the Rock Island Police Department’s front desk, Rock Island Parks and Recreation Office, or online at All potential hunters must return their completed applications along with their proficiency card to the Police Department by 5 p.m., Aug. 31, in order to be considered for a permit. Deer hunting will be permitted on a select number of sites pending City approval.

Residents with questions regarding the Deer Management Program should contact Deputy Police Chief Jason Foy at 309-732-2701. All approved hunters will be required to attend a mandatory meeting to be scheduled at a later date.

If you would like to hunt elsewhere in the state, there is a program which could allow you to hunt on private land. The ILDNR is providing public outdoor recreational access and other opportunities on private lands through the Illinois Recreational Access Program. More than 95 percent of land in Illinois is privately owned, making access for new hunters very difficult.

ILDNR created this program by utilizing resources obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service Voluntary Public Access–Habitat Incentive Program. This results in hunting and fishing opportunities for hunters without having to complete with other individuals for the same public areas.

Using VPA-HIP grants, ILDNR is helping private landowners protect and restore their properties. Landowners who choose to lease their property to IRAP receive a comprehensive habitat/forestry management plan and are eligible for assistance to implement habitat restoration projects.

Since IRAP’s inception in 2011, more than 17,600 acres in 48 counties have been leased for outdoor recreational activities. IRAP has written more than 70 habitat/forestry plans, conducted invasive species control on nearly 6,000 acres, treated more than 2,340 acres using prescribed burning and prepared miles of burn breaks, implemented 682 acres of timber stand improvement and restored 350 acres of land with grass and tree planting.

If you are interested in hunting on one of these properties, first you will need to apply. The ILDNR website has all the materials needed, as well as the counties that have properties available. Locally, Whiteside and Lee county have properties for archery deer hunting. Some of the highest profile deer hunting counties such as Pike, Calhoun, Fulton, and Schuyler also have properties available.

Applications for this fall’s deer archery program are due Aug. 24, so registrations must be completed soon. If you are fortunate to be drawn, you receive two weeks of exclusive access to the property. For most properties, two applicants will be selected, each getting two separate weeks to hunt the ground.

But, deer hunting is not the only activity available. Spring turkey hunting, fishing on private land shorelines, non-motorized boat access, outdoor hiking and photography, and small-game hunting are also available on these properties.

A little work digging through the ILDNR website can open multiple opportunities for hunting if you are willing to plan ahead. With all the time you spend in the outdoors, taking the time during the offseason to set yourself up for success is well worth the hour it will take you on your computer learning all the available programs the ILDNR has set up to expand hunting and fishing opportunities statewide.

World Outdoors columnist Jeremiah Haas can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).