Non-resident bird hunting....


El Mariachi
March 3, 2013, 10:02 PM
Hey Folks, before I really start Googling and prep myself to reading forty thousand-plus pages on this subject on 90 different forums, I think I'm gonna be driving solo from Hell-A to Illinois/Wisconsin this July and meet the Girls at our son's place in either Chicago or at The Dells---and I wanna try my hand at shot gunning for some birds. For the first time (legally that is) in my life, at the ripe old age of 56. So real quick, is it;

1). Real expensive for out of staters to do this? License-wise?

2). Is anything shootable & eatable even in 'season' in July? 'Cuz I just looked at our own Cali DFG regs, and the next bird season isn't 'til like mid August or something. And they seem to end rather quickly, like around Christmas.

3). Would this be an endeavor that after learning the regs & rules that I could try on my own? Or am I looking at pricey guides or group hunts or huge fees for shooting on private tracts and the like?

4). Does having a 4x4 help at all? And a great personality? :D

5). And finally, besides my shotguns (two JC Higgins 12 gauge boltys, an old Belgian 12 gauge SxS and a Winchester 1200 in 20 gauge), is there a whole bunch of extra, expensive accessories that I'll need to bring and/or purchase?

Thanx in advance,


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March 3, 2013, 10:47 PM
Late July nothing is in season in IL except coyotes, maybe crows which I have heard is alot of fun but never done it therfore do not know when the season starts or ends.
Dove season starts September 1st. The IDNR has several areas open to public dove hunting and often times pull up to a farm and a farmer might let you go on his ground. Worst they can say is no. I am not at all familiar with anything near Chicago and don't plan on familiarizing myself in that area of the state.
Quail/Pheasant season typically starts the first week of November in the south season (basically south of Springfield). Not sure for the north but I think it is a week earlier both beginning and ending than the south.
There are several hunting preserves where quail and pheasants are released to hunt. The one I worked at was moderately priced on prices and guide fees but that was a LONG way from the Chicago area. If hunting on a preserve you can buy a special preserve license that is good only on licensed hunting preserves, I used to sell them at our place for about $7 or $8. I think you can by a day or 3 day license in Illinois for near $70 or so (don't hold me to that).

Here are a few links to help you that will hold everything you need to know for hunting in Illinois. The IDNR does a good job of packing 90%+ of the information you need to hunt in Illinois in this one booklet:
*NOTE: this is the 2012-2013 book which ends the end of this month, a new one will come out later in the summer (not in stone on a date0 but typically after July 1st when new laws are usually enacted.
Main Illinois Department of Natural Resources web page:
Transporting a firearms in Illinois:
If an Illinois resident you have to possess a FOID card. You aren't an IL resident so don't worry about it, just stating it. Hoowever there are 2 main things to know:
1: Firearm in a case ( a case can be many things including a box, sack, bag as long as it completely encases the firearm and closes by means of snap, velcro, buttons, zipper, ties etc)
2: The firearm has to be unloaded... meaning ammunition not in the gun itself.
*Note... ammunition can be stored in magazine (if mags are detachable, as long as the mag is not in the firearm)
**Note.... ammunition can be stored in the same case as the firearm as long as the ammunition is not in the firearm

It does not matter where the firearm is in the vehicle as long as it is unloaded and in a case. Speculation that they cannot be within reach of the driver is false, unloaded and in a case is the requirement.
Straight from the Illinois State Police

Non-residents must be legally eligible to possess
or acquire firearms and ammunition. Non residents
are not required to have an Illinois FOID Card. It is
recommended that in order to be in compliance with all
statutes, non-residents transport all firearms:
1. broken down in a non-functioning state; or
2. not immediately accessible; or
3. unloaded and enclosed in a case, firearm carrying
box, shipping box, or other container."

Other than that IDNR Conservation Police Officers are very good at spotting violations of the Wildlife Code and are persistent at catching violators. Most are pretty easy going folks from all of them I have met and they use their discretion wisely. However, know the law, don't be a violator, don't try to hide something from them and be nice to them and it will get you farther in life. Most will give you good advice on where game can be found and might direct you to private landowners if you ask.

If coming later in the year and you are on the south end of the state I might be able to help you out more.

El Mariachi
March 3, 2013, 10:55 PM
Thanx for that great response, B/H. Good info and it's much appreciated. But I failed to mention that since I'm driving from Cali to Illinois, then down to Florida, then back thru the south/western states back here, that I've got at least a dozen states that I can try out along the way...depending on my route (which I think will be via Utah, since I really like it there). basically we'll be driving about 5500 miles thru Middle America.

So you other bird shooters in Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, Az, Florida, Miss, Alabama, Nebraska, Kansas, Tennessee or Louisiana----feel free to pipe in. 'Cuz I need guidance....:D

March 3, 2013, 10:59 PM
Decided I'd help you find more info on Illinois, I guess i am saying illinois is broke and we need out of state dollars coming in.
Hunter fact sheets:

Keep I mind I live over 300 miles away from where the area you are planning to be and I have never been there. I would also say if you wanted to talk on the phone with someone you might try the IDNR regional office for whatever area you will be wanting to hunt in. Chicagoland is region 2, west of that (towards and including Rockford) is region 1.

March 3, 2013, 11:02 PM
If going from Chicago to Florida you will be likely coming down I-57. If you do this in November/December we could meet at Rend Lake for part of the controlled pheasant hunt (pretty good program really but not wild birds).
I don't know that a 4wd truck will be necessary in Illinois unless we get a ton of snow. Most of the places I use 4wd when hunting are private lands, most public lands you will not need it, unless there is snow which isn't usual for November or early December.
You mentioned Kansas....
Kansas has some very good pheasant hunting opportunities. A very good walk in hunting program and an out of state license ran me about $80 or so when I went two years ago. Done that trip several times, very enjoyable. 4wd needed IF and when it rains.

Jim Watson
March 3, 2013, 11:16 PM
Pointer: In Alabama and the rest of the Old South "birds" are Bobwhite Quail. Period.

Hunting seasons are in Fall and Winter, doves in early September the first.

El Mariachi
March 3, 2013, 11:26 PM
Thanx Jim. Ironically, quail are the only birds I've ever hunted. But I'm waaaay too embarrassed to tell y'all the whole story. Maybe next time I'm hammered though, I may gather my nerve and retell it....:D

March 4, 2013, 09:15 AM
In Florida, the preserve season ends sometime in April or maybe early May. Getting quail now is problematical since all the supplies are exhausted. The big quail hunting hotspot is SW Georgia. Look on the State of Georgia website and see what their regs are.

Remember, hunting preserve birds is not hunting. It is shooting if you can get the birds to fly. My dog almost always catches "tame" birds before they jump. Quail and chukar are the most common down here on preserves. The chukars are a poor excuse for real chukar hunting out west in the canyons.

Either of your non-bolt shotguns would be fine with #7 1/2 or 8 shot for quail and #6 for bigger birds like pheasants.

March 4, 2013, 09:27 AM
If you are a out-of-stater coming to the Dells area of Wisconsin(my back yard), for pure pleasure and the best bang for buck on a one time, one day bird hunting experience, you'd be better of going to a shooting preserve. No license needed, many times they have a dog you can use, you are guaranteed to see as much game as you want and in the long run, since a non-resident license is not needed, the cost ain't gonna be that much more, depending on the type and quanity of birds released. BUT........even most shooting preserves are closed in July. Too hot for hunting and they are busy raising their chicks for the fall and winter season. Better off just shooting sporting clays. Also, the Dells is located in an area where most of the huntable land is privately owned and getting access to hunt is tough. Several very large huntable public land parcels are available, about 40-50 miles away, but can be a tough hunt if you don't know them. Some have released pheasants, but special tags and stamps are required to hunt them. Otherwise there are grouse and wild turkey on all of them. Grouse numbers tho, have been quite low lately. None of these are open until September or October. I suggest you go fishin' instead.

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