The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) has released important dates for the 2022-2023 waterfowl season.

This is the second year of a five-year waterfowl season plan that was developed in 2020. This fall, Illinois will open the regular duck, Canada goose and snow goose seasons on October 22 in the North Zone, October 29 in the Central Zone, November 12 in the South-Central Zone and December 3 in the South Zone.

White-fronted goose (specklebelly) seasons will open October 24 in the North Zone, November 5 in the Central Zone, and on the same dates as duck season in the South Central (November 12) and South zones (December 3).

The daily limit is six ducks of any species; however, daily limit can consist of no more than the following four mallards, of which no more than two can be hen mallards, three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasback, two black ducks, one pintail and one mottled duck.

Scaup (bluebills) will have a daily limit of two for the first 45 days of the season in each zone and one for the last 15 days of the season in each zone. The daily bag limit of mergansers is five, only two of which may be hooded mergansers. The possession limit for ducks and mergansers is three times the daily bag limit (18 and 15, respectively) by species and sex.

During the regular season, Canada goose daily limits will be three with a possession limit of nine. White-fronted goose daily bag limits will be two with a possession limit of six. The snow goose daily bag limit is 20 birds, with no possession limit, during the fall and winter seasons. The spring Light Goose Conservation Order will open January 20 in the North Zone and February 1 in the Central, South Central and South zones, ending April 30 in all zones. There is no daily bag or possession limit on snow, blue and Ross’ geese during the spring conservation order.

Teal season is underway statewide in all zones until September 25, with a daily limit of six and possession limit of 18. Rail (Sora and Virginia only) is open statewide in all zones through November 18, with a daily limit of 25 and possession limit of 75. Snipe is open statewide in all zones through December 25, with a daily limit of eight and possession limit of 24. Canada goose (early season) closed September 15 in all zones.

The third lottery for Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permits closes on September 28. Click here for further information or to apply. 

Additional details on waterfowl seasons are included in the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2022-2023 available on the IDNR website. The Illinois waterfowl hunting zone maps and anticipated season dates for the 2021-2025 seasons are available on the IDNR website.

Sunrise and sunset times are not included in the Hunting and Trapping Digest again this year. Hunters can find their local sunrises and sunsets here.

IDNR is working with other state and federal agencies to monitor for outbreaks of the H5N1 strain of HPAI that was observed in Illinois during the spring of 2022. Similar mortality events may occur as waterfowl arrive in Illinois from northern breeding grounds during the fall migration. IDNR reminds waterfowl hunters to take precautions and thoroughly cook game meat to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Avoid handling sick or dead waterfowl found in the field. Do not allow dogs and other pets to consume waterfowl that died from unknown causes. Further guidance for hunters can be found here.

If five or more wild birds are found deceased of unknown causes in one location, contact an IDNR district wildlife biologist immediately. A list of IDNR district biologists and the counties they serve, along with their phone numbers and email addresses can be found here.