Effective January 1, 2023, a new Illinois law will allow hunters to use centerfire, single-shot rifles in certain calibers for deer hunting.
Several of Nachusa’s units are closed during firearm hunting season:
There are units with a partial closing. The following are closed before 9am and after 2pm during firearm hunting season:
Firearm Season Dates
The season runs the Friday through Sunday before Thanksgiving (1st season) and the first full Thursday through Sunday in December (2nd season).
November 30 thru December 3 Firearm Season
Former landowners that still retain hunting rights at Nachusa, plus neighboring landowners, may also hunt during the firearm season of Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Do not hike our trails at Stonebarn Savanna and Jay Meiners on these dates.
Archery Deer Season
Archery deer season is from the beginning of October through the middle of January.
Who Can Hunt at Nachusa?
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.
Nachusa currently has no openings for new hunters, and adding any in the near future is not anticipated.
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.
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 the Illinois Department of Natural Resources Online Permit Application and the Nachusa Hunting Facts.
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