Can You Bow Hunt During Rifle Season in Illinois? Understanding the Regulations


Hunting is a popular sport that many people enjoy. However, it can be confusing to know what hunting regulations are in place and when you can hunt certain animals. One question that often comes up is whether you can bow hunt during shotgun season in Illinois.

Illinois Hunting Regulations

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) regulates all hunting activities in the state. They have specific rules regarding what weapons can be used during different seasons and for which animals. In general, the IDNR allows bow hunting for most game species throughout the year, but there are some restrictions during shotgun season.

Shotgun Season Dates

In Illinois, shotgun season typically runs from mid-November through early December each year. During this time, hunters are only allowed to use shotguns or muzzleloaders with specific ammunition types. The use of bows is prohibited during this time period except for those who have a disability exemption permit.

Disability Exemption Permit

If you have a physical disability that prevents you from using a firearm or muzzleloader but still want to participate in hunting during shotgun season, then you may be eligible for an exemption permit issued by the IDNR. This permit allows individuals with disabilities to use archery equipment instead of firearms or muzzleloaders.


While bow hunting is generally allowed in Illinois throughout much of the year, it is not permitted during shotgun season except under certain circumstances such as having a disability exemption permit. It’s important for all hunters to follow these regulations so that they can ensure their safety while enjoying this exciting sport.