Hunt Illinois: Website does good by permits/seasons, but leaves mess of safety classes by 102 counties

A new website, Hunt Illinois, pulls together public hunting information in Illinois, but leaves some mistakes in place, such as listing safety classes by 102 counties rather than by date; at least a good usable calendar has permit and season dates in one place.

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A screen shot of the new Hunt Illinois website. Credit: Dale Bowman

A screen shot of the new Hunt Illinois website.

Hunt Illinois, website, outdoors

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources announced today the release of the Hunt Illinois website, which pulls together public hunting information in Illinois.

Good, it’s a shift in the right direction.

The most usable part, by my view, is the calendar with listings of permit and season dates.

But it leaves in place one of the most galling features in my view, both as a dad and an outdoors professional.

The listings for safety classes remain by 102 counties rather than by date. That just blows my mind.

Here’s why it matters. The kids who are hardcore hunters will find a way to squeeze in their hunter safety classes, but the kids who will hunt as a social or family activity need all the help they can get. As an outdoors and hunting community, those tangential kids may be the most important ones to keep in the fold.

Sorting through class listings by county is infuriating, if you are a parent trying to squeeze another event into a kid’s schedule of band, soccer, church youth group, Scouts, theater, National Honor Society, music lessons and family events. Trust me I know this firsthand on multiple occasions.

I don’t think I’m much different than other parents in this: I would be willing to drive roughly 1 12 hours to take a kid to a class. In our case, that means 14 counties. Do you know what a pain in the ass it is to wade through 14 counties of listings instead of just going down one listing by date?

Most things are made easier by having them online, not in the case of listing hunter safety classes by county.

What makes this even more galling is that the IDNR at one time did it right. Make it 20-plus years ago. One day John Allen, then PIO for the IDNR in Chicago (back then there was such a position), on his own initiative, started compiling a statewide list of classes and sending them out weekly. If I remember right, he pulled the list together on Friday afternoons, which tend to be a bit of a down time. His list was a freaking dream. I say that both as a dad and as a member of the outdoors media relaying information of what and when classes are available.

I groused and digressed. Now I am done.

Here is the announcement from the IDNR:

IDNR Launches New ‘Hunt Illinois’ Website SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) today announced the launch of the new Hunt Illinois website – an online resource for Illinois residents and visitors to the state interested in hunting in the Land of Lincoln. The website includes information on Illinois hunting seasons, places to hunt, licenses and permits needed, hunting and trapping regulations, hunter harvest reporting, hunter safety, wildlife management, and conservation programs. The new Hunt Illinois website is an easy-to-use one-stop resource for hunters to find just about everything they need to know about planning a hunt, no matter the species, no matter the season, said IDNR Hunter Heritage Program Manager Jared Duquette. The new website was developed by the IDNR in cooperation with the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center, with funding support from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wildlife Restoration Program. The Hunt Illinois website can be accessed through most desktop and laptop computer web browsers, or by using most mobile devices, at

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