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IDNR accepting applications for youth hunting opportunities on private land through IRAP

SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is accepting applications from youth shotgun and youth and adult archery hunters for fall 2022 deer hunting on private land through the Illinois Recreational Access Program, commonly known as IRAP.

IDNR has leased more than 16,400 acres of private land for the fall 2022 deer season through IRAP, creating 380 public access deer hunting sites in 42 counties. Sites are available during the youth shotgun period in October and for archery deer hunting during the entire month of October and the latter half of December. There is no cost to participants.

IRAP deer hunting applications are accepted online only and must be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 10. Hunters may submit up to three IRAP deer hunting applications per year, one for each IRAP deer hunting period (youth shotgun, second and third IRAP periods).

Deer hunting on IRAP-leased property is offered during the following 2022 hunting periods:

  • Youth shotgun: Oct. 8-10
  • Youth and adult archery:
    • Period 1: Oct. 1-15
    • Period 2: Oct. 16-31
    • Period 3: Dec. 16-31

A lottery will take place when more applications are received than there are sites available.

To participate, youth hunters must not have reached their 18th birthday by the first day of the hunting period, and they must be accompanied by an adult who is at least 21 years old.

Adult archery deer hunters must be at least 18 by the start of the archery deer period for which they're applying. All adult hunters born in 1980 or later must have completed an IDNR-approved hunter education course and must have an Illinois hunting license and a valid IDNR archery deer hunting permit for the county in which they're applying to hunt (if awarded a site).

Successful applicants will be notified by mail about three weeks prior to their assigned hunting period, upon which they will receive a map with coordinates, driving directions and an IRAP site permit allowing them to hunt on their assigned, privately owned deer hunting site.

IRAP is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service. To date, IRAP has leased more than 27,000 acres in more than 50 counties to offer various public access opportunities, such as turkey, archery deer, youth shotgun deer, small game, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, and pond and riverbank fishing.

IRAP provides hunters and families opportunities to participate in time-honored outdoor traditions while restoring the quality of Illinois' private lands.