How to Get Started Allowing Hunting on Private Property

by | Jun 29, 2023 | Family Farm, Wills and Trusts

Hunting has long been a cherished tradition and recreational activity for many individuals. Understanding the requirements and options for hunters is crucial, whether you’re experienced or just starting out. In Illinois, prospective hunters need a hunting license, state habitat stamp, and special permits to hunt game. However, there is a lesser-known permit program that provides numerous benefits — the landowner permit. In this blog post, we will explore the advantages of hunting on private property as a beneficiary through a landowner permit, even if you don’t own the land yourself.

The Basics: What is Required to Hunt in Illinois?

Before delving into the benefits of a landowner permit, it is essential to understand the standard requirements for hunting in Illinois. Any prospective hunter must obtain a hunting license, which is available for purchase from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). Additionally, a state habitat stamp is mandatory, as it helps support wildlife management and habitat restoration efforts.

To hunt specific game, such as deer or turkey, hunters need to apply for a permit. However, this is where things can become more complicated. Applying for a permit involves fees and, in some cases, a public lottery system. It’s important to note that fulfilling the requirements and paying the fees does not guarantee a permit, as there may be limited availability.

The Benefits of a Landowner Permit for Hunting on Private Property

Thankfully, applicants who find difficulties with the traditional permit fees and public lottery system may benefit by applying for a landowner permit. This special permit is available when a landowner owns 40 acres or more of land. There are several advantages to obtaining a landowner permit for hunting:

  1. No Permit Application Fee: One of the primary benefits of a landowner permit is the landowner permit does not require an application fee for qualified Illinois residents. While other hunters may have to pay significant amounts to obtain the necessary permits, as a holder of a landowner permit, you can save a substantial amount of money.
  2. No Lottery System: Another advantage is that securing a landowner permit does not rely on an unpredictable public lottery system. The lottery system determines who receives permits when there is a high demand and limited availability. By securing a landowner permit, you can avoid the uncertainty and potential disappointment of not receiving a permit through the lottery.
  3. Access to Private Property: Hunters interested in hunting on only the qualifying land may achieve their goal by securing a landowner permit. You can access the landowner’s private qualifying land with a landowner permit.

Do You Have to Own Land to Apply for a Landowner Permit?

No, you do not have to be a landowner to secure a landowner permit. The landowner of a qualifying land may establish and fund their trust in a way such that certain beneficiaries of the trust may apply for the landowner permit. So, people who own qualifying land outright may use a trust to expand or control who can apply for the landowner permit.

Get Started Allowing Beneficiaries to Hunt on Private Property

In Illinois, obtaining the necessary permits can sometimes be complex and costly. However, the landowner permit offers a unique opportunity for qualifying landowners to share the benefits of hunting without the burden of permit fees and the uncertainty of the public lottery system.

If you’re looking to hunt on someone else’s private property or thinking of allowing others to hunt on your land, exploring the option of a landowner permit can open up new possibilities. To learn more about the process, start here at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website (bullet points #4-5 under “2. Where can I hunt in Illinois?”) or give us a call at 217-726-9200 to schedule a consultation.

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, be sure to check out this article entitled “Accessing Private Lands for Hunting in Illinois” from the Outdoor Illinois Journal.