Finding a place to fish in Illinois isn’t terribly difficult. Finding a place to hunt, on the other hand, can be a challenge. Just 2.4 percent of Illinois is publicly-owned. But the state does offer some substantial public holdings, particularly in its southern reaches.

Mississippi River Pools

• 24,878 acres of islands

• Area is intermixed with private lands as well as lands within National Wildlife Refuge systems

• Abundant waterfowl hunting opportunities

Siloam Springs State Park

• 3,323 acres

• Excellent deer, turkey and small game hunting opportunities

• Habitat enhancements including food plots and agriculture

Shawnee National Forest

• 280,000 acres

• Largest public area in Illinois

• Noted for whitetail hunting, also offers excellent turkey hunting

Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

• 16,000 acres

• Deer, small game, turkey and waterfowl hunting

• Free refuge permit required to hunt

Rend Lake State Fish and Wildlife Area

• 18,900 acres of water; more than 20,000 acres of land

• Warmwater fishing opportunities on Rend Lake, streams

• Abundant deer, turkeys and small game hunting opportunities

More Links

Illinois Recreational Access Program

Access Illinois Outdoors

Public Land Harvest Data

Find more public land access opportunities with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Hunt Planner.

Photo: Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge

Photo credit: flickr