Youth and Adult Opportunities Available for Firearm and Archery Deer Hunting

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced that it is taking applications from youth firearm deer hunters and youth and adult archery deer hunters for Fall 2021 deer hunting on private land through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP).

The IDNR has leased 13,365 acres of private land for the Fall 2021 deer hunting season through IRAP, creating 323 public access deer hunting sites in 39 counties. Sites are available for the 2021 Youth Firearm Deer Season (Oct. 9-11, 2021), and for youth and adult archery deer hunting the entire month of October and December 16-31, at no cost to participants to access those sites. To apply, a licensed hunter must submit an online application.

To participate as a youth hunter, applicants must have not reached their 18th birthday by the first day of the hunting period and must be accompanied by an adult of at least 21 years of age. Adult archery deer hunters must be at least 18 years of age by the start of the archery deer period they are applying for.  All hunters must have completed a Department-approved Hunter Education Course (if born in 1980 or after) and have acquired an Illinois hunting license, habitat stamp and a valid IDNR Archery Deer Hunting permit to hunt at an IRAP site. IRAP archery deer hunting applications must be submitted online by 5:00 p.m. Aug. 13, 2021. Hunters may submit up to three IRAP deer hunting applications per year, one for each IRAP deer hunting period. A lottery drawing will be held when more applications are received than there are sites available.

Applications for IRAP Youth Firearm Deer Hunting sites can be found online HERE.

Applications for IRAP Youth and Adult Deer Hunting sites can be found online HERE.

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

Deer hunting on IRAP leased property is available during the following hunting periods:

• Youth Firearm Period: Saturday-Monday of Columbus Day Weekend, Oct. 9-11, 2021;
• Youth and Adult Archery Periods: Period 1 is Oct. 1-15, 2021; Period 2 is Oct. 16-31, 2021; Period 3 is Dec. 16-31, 2021.

The IRAP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service Voluntary Public Access Habitat Incentive Program. To date, IRAP has leased more than 26,000 acres in 49 counties to provide for various public access opportunities such as turkey, archery deer, youth firearm deer, small game, waterfowl and upland bird hunting, and pond and riverbank fishing. IRAP serves to re-connect families to the outdoors, and to carry on hunting traditions while improving the habitat.

For more information about IRAP, visit: or e-mail