The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) is encouraging youth and adult hunters to plan now to enjoy spring turkey hunting during the 2018 Illinois Spring Turkey Season, with access to excellent turkey habitat available through IRAP.
IRAP, a program of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR), has free hunting sites available to the public for the upcoming youth turkey hunting season, and seasons 3 and 4 during the regular spring turkey season in 2018.
A recommended first step for adult hunters is to apply for the first lottery drawing for 2018 Spring Turkey permits. The application deadline for the first lottery is Dec. 1. To participate as a youth hunter, one must first fill out an IRAP application and send it in by February 23, 2018 to be eligible for the youth drawing. A total of 190 sites are available in 44 counties for the two-weekend youth season.
Another 180 sites are available in 45 counties to turkey hunters for spring seasons 3 and 4. These sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible, a hunter must first apply for his or her spring turkey permit through the IDNR lottery (first lottery application deadline: Dec. 1). Once they receive their permit, hunters can apply for an IRAP turkey site. Preference is given to youth hunters and first-time adult hunters (those who have not hunted turkey in the past five years). In 2017, nearly all who applied secured a hunting site. IDNR spring turkey permit information can be found at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/turkey/Documents/SpringTurkeyPermitInformation2018.pdf