Wild Turkey Population
Number of Licenses Sold Annually
State habitat stamp, $5; hunting license, $12; resident spring turkey lottery application, $15; please check Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for specific prices and requirements.
Cost of Resident License and Permit
$165 to $187
State habitat stamp, $5; nonresident hunting license, $57 ($35 for five-day license); nonresident spring turkey lottery application, $125; please check Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations for specific prices and requirements.
Cost of Non-Resident License and Permit
Historically, turkeys were eliminated here by 1910. According to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, starting in 1959, trapped turkeys from other states were transferred to begin restoration efforts (the 1970s through 2003).
Illinois now has turkeys statewide in areas with suitable habitat.
There's about 700,000 acres of public land in the state, including 290,000 acres of federal ground and the 280,000-acre Shawnee National Forest in southern Illinois. Knocking on private-land doors can also get you on some decent hunting opportunities.
The good news is Illinois has had two solid years of turkey production success. Inclement weather had resulted in decreased poult production in previous years. Recently, however, sources say warm summer weather has seen something of a surge in nesting and poult observation. Late hatches from renesting is also a factor, as hens persevere to raise broods.
As hunting harvest numbers go, 13,701 spring birds were taken in 2022, which is a slight increase from 2021.
Nonresident hunters are currently challenged by an intricate lottery system (limited to the second and third lotteries), but residents can apply in all three.
That said, Illinois remains a state worth checking out on your spring turkey tour, tags providing.
Go here for more Realtree turkey hunting.