The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has selected season dates and submitted waterfowl hunting zone lines for 2021-25 to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
The 2021-25 hunting seasons regulations were developed based on a review of scientific information and input from waterfowl hunters and are intended to provide the most opportunity for hunters while protecting waterfowl resources.
The federal wildlife agency regulations require states to establish zone lines for a five-year time period, and the agency establishes the frameworks within which states must select their regulations.
For the 2021-25 seasons in Illinois, waterfowl hunting zone lines have not changed from previous years.
In reviewing biological data such as waterfowl abundance and hunter harvest, as well as preferences expressed in hunter surveys, IDNR opted to make no changes to zone boundaries.
Later dates to begin duck and goose hunting seasons in Illinois were adopted for 2021-25.
Hunter surveys showed that later dates were preferred in each zone. Those preferences were balanced with biological data to avoid mismatches of season timing and peak waterfowl abundance, average freeze up dates, or conflicts with other hunting seasons such as the first firearm deer season.
In general, season dates are similar to those used in previous years, but trend later, such as the opening date in 2023 in the Central Zone of Oct. 28 rather than Oct. 21.
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