Nachusa’s hunters are an important resource to the preserve, as they help control our deer population. Nachusa’s hunting program, which is operated by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), is very unique, as it is not open to the public, and each hunter is required to volunteer a minimum of 20 hours annually. Most of them volunteer much more.
TNC limits the number of hunters to 20 for safety reasons. Due to the nature of the preserve with visitors, volunteers, and stewardship activities, the same hunters are kept year–to–year as long as they complete their stewardship hours. New hunters are selected from the pool of applications if a current hunter drops out.
Contact Nachusa Grasslands to inquire about an application for the hunting wait list.
TNC allows no public hunting of any species on the preserve, although they do partner with several local agencies in providing a place for youth turkey and pheasant hunting.
Archery deer season is from the beginning of October through the middle of January.
Several of Nachusa’s units, including Orland, Tellabs, Bennett, Brandt, Didier, Meiners Wetlands, Clear Creek Knolls, Clear Creek Knolls South, Thelma Carpenter, and Senger Williams, are closed during shotgun hunting season for deer, which runs the Friday through Sunday before Thanksgiving and the first full Thursday through Sunday in December. In 2017, the dates are November 17 to 19 and November 30 to December 3.
The Nachusa State Habitat Area on the north side of Stone Barn Road west of Carthage Road is a 72–acre property owned by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. The Nature Conservancy currently has a 15–year lease for management and restoration of the site. Upland game (pheasant, quail, rabbit, and Hungarian partridge) hunting permits may be obtained through an online lottery conducted each August. For additional information, see these links about an Online Permit Application and Nachusa Hunting Facts.