Woman dressed warmly in camouflage and standing in marsh reeds aims a shotgun into the air

Hunters in southern Illinois enjoy a rich tradition of hunting on public lands. Each year thousands of hunters from across the nation are attracted to Crab Orchard National Wildlife Refuge to hunt an exceptionally diverse list of species, including trophy bucks, turkeys, small game and waterfowl. In addition to active habitat management, farmers share-crop part of the refuge land, leaving a percentage of the crop in the field for wildlife, which provides excellent hunting opportunities. The refuge hosts special-permitted deer and turkey hunts, which include opportunities for hunters with disabilities and youth. These hunts are well known for their high success rates. The refuge has a rich history in waterfowl hunting and is best known for its abundant waterfowl hunting opportunities along the shorelines of Crab Orchard Lake. While the species listed above constitute the primary drawing card for hunters, the refuge also abounds with a variety of game species, such as dove, squirrel and rabbit, that are open to hunting.

Crab Orchard Hunting Regulations 

ActivitySeasonHunting AreaSpecial Regulations
Youth Firearm Deer, ADA Accessible Firearm DeerNov. 22-24, 2024Special Hunt AreaCrab Orchard permits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting.
Firearm Deer and Muzzleloader Deer

Nov. 22-24, 2024

Dec.5-8, 2024

*Dec.13-15,2024

Special Hunt Area

Crab Orchard permits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting.

Williamson County Muzzleloader permits only.

Youth Turkey Firearm and Spring Turkey Firearm**Illinois State season with state bag limitsSpecial Hunt AreaPermits administered through IDNR. Hunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting. Approved non- toxic shot required for turkey hunting.
Youth WaterfowlDec. 14, 2024#Hampton Unit Hunt AreaControlled hunt only.  Hunter are required to check in prior to hunting.
Duck, Geese and TealDec. 18, 2024 to Jan. 30, 2025#Hampton Unit Hunt AreaHampton Unit will be open to waterfowl hunting Wed. thru Sun. beginning December 20, 2023. Motorized boat prohibited.
Archery Deer

Oct. 1 – Nov. 17, 2024

Dec 9th- Jan 19th 2025

Special Hunt AreaHunters are required to check in at the Visitor Center prior to hunting. January season is either sex.
Archery Deer, Youth Deer Firearm, Muzzleloader Deer, Firearm Deer**Illinois State season with state bag limitsOpen Hunt AreaSeason closed during Firearm deer seasons.
Spring/Fall Turkey Shotgun and Archery, Youth Turkey**Illinois State season with state bag limitsOpen Hunt AreaApproved non-toxic shot required for shot shells
Duck, Geese, Teal, and Youth Waterfowl**Illinois State season with state bag limitsOpen Hunt AreaWaterfowl hunting blinds must be a minimum of 200 yards (180 m) apart. Hunters must anchor boat blinds on the shore or anchor them a minimum of 200 yards (180 m) away from any shoreline.
Dove, Quail, Crow**Illinois State season with state bag limitsOpen Hunt AreaApproved non-toxic shot required for shot shells
Rabbit, Squirrel, Bobcat, Coyote**Illinois State season with state bag limitsOpen Hunt AreaApproved non-toxic shot required for shot shells. We prohibit the use of rifles or handguns with ammunition larger than .22 caliber rimfire, except the use of black powder firearms up to and including .40 caliber are allowed.

*Williamson County Muzzleloader Permits only

**See Illinois Digest of Hunting Regulations for specific dates at www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting

#Hampton Unity open to Special Hunt Area Deer and Turkey

Related Documents
CrabOrchard_Hunt23.pdf

Crab Orchard 23/24 Hunt Map