Last year, I scoured the internet trying to find some public hunting land in Illinois that was close to where I live. Finding another hunting spot would allow me to have more places to hunt. This in turn would allow me to keep the pressure on each stand low while also giving me more location choices for different wind directions. All in all, a better shot at seeing as many deer as possible.
After searching around my county and state DNR website, I found several public hunting lands. Only one of which was within my county. Though it was considered in my county, only a portion of the land was within my county borders. The vast majority of the land was in a neighboring county. I was really looking to find something really close to home. After about an hour of digging, I finally came across an article that talked about my county forest preserve offering deer hunts. It was in a lottery system, but it was definitely worth the shot!
To my dismay, there was a really short window that I had to get my application in, so I set an alarm on my phone and patiently waited. Once the time came and I had put in the application, I again had to patiently wait for the remaining 3 weeks of the application period until the drawing. When I got the email that my wife and I had been drawn, I rushed to call her and give her the good news.
Hunting within public land usually comes with some extra rules and regulations. Usually regarding stand type and placement. There are also usually rules regarding how close you can gut a deer to public paths. Separate zones within a single track of land may also occur. The program that I am being a part of is no exception.
The county deer program that I am lucky enough to be a part of this fall is also only available to members of my county. Along with the the residency restriction, participants must qualify on the range. 8 out of 10 shots must hit within an 8 inch circle. For anyone who regularly practices, this should be no problem. However, simply stating that stipulation helps weed out people who aren’t confident in their shot. A mandatory orientation meeting where they will go over other restrictions and hand out zone maps takes place in a couple weeks. After that, I will have a much better idea of how things will work.
I am extremely excited to add another piece of ground to my list of options this fall. More details to come once I have taken a look at the specific zone I will get to hunt. Happy Hunting!