Illinois waterfowl hunting: Clarifying youth hunt age

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Decoy spread in a field a few years ago.
Credit: Dale Bowman

There has been some confusion on ages for the youth waterfowl hunts in Illinois.

With the central zone youth waterfowl hunt this weekend, now is probably a good time to clarify.

Here is the clarification from Randy Smith, Illinois’ wetland wildlife program manager:

We have gotten a few questions on the upcoming Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season. The US Fish and Wildlife Service changed the age to participate in the federal 2-day Waterfowl Youth Hunt to 17 and under. Illinois has changed eligible age for our Youth License to include 18 year olds. As you can imagine, both changes occurring in the same year has created some confusion. Adding to the fun, permit hunting sites listed in the Youth Hunting ad rule (685) have another set of ages. Below is a brief summary to help sort it out. Statewide Federal Youth Waterfowl Hunting Season (the weekend preceding the regular duck season opener)

  • Hunters 17 and under can participate in the 2-day Waterfowl Youth Hunt. 18 year olds cannot participate.
  • Youth hunters 16 and 17 need their state and federal duck stamps.
  • An adult at least 18 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field. This adult cannot

hunt geese, ducks, coots or mergansers but can participate in other open seasons. Youth Waterfowl Permit Hunts (Banner Marsh, Donnelly/DePue, Spring Lake Bottoms, Union, Horseshoe) · Only hunters age 10-15 are allowed to participate. Other Youth Waterfowl Hunts Donnelly/DePue · Hunters under the age of 15

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