How To Get A Bow Hunting License In Illinois

As an avid outdoorsman and bow hunter, I can attest to the thrill and satisfaction of hunting with a bow in Illinois. However, before you can embark on this exhilarating adventure, it’s crucial to obtain a bow hunting license from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR). In this article, I will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to get a bow hunting license in Illinois, based on my own experience and knowledge.

Step 1: Complete a Hunter Education Course

Prior to applying for a bow hunting license in Illinois, you must successfully complete a hunter education course accredited by the IDNR. This course not only ensures that you have the necessary knowledge and skills to hunt safely, but it also familiarizes you with the state’s hunting laws and regulations.

Here is a link to the IDNR website, where you can find more information about hunter education courses and upcoming class schedules.

Step 2: Obtain your Illinois Hunting License

Before you can apply for a bow hunting license, you must first obtain a valid Illinois hunting license. This license serves as the foundation for all hunting activities in the state, including bow hunting. You can purchase your hunting license online through the IDNR website or in person at a designated hunting license vendor.

Here is a link to the IDNR online licensing system, where you can purchase your Illinois hunting license.

Step 3: Purchase a Habitat Stamp

Alongside your hunting license, you must also purchase an Illinois Habitat Stamp. The funds generated from the sale of habitat stamps are dedicated to supporting conservation efforts and maintaining wildlife habitats across the state.

You can purchase the habitat stamp online through the IDNR website or at a designated hunting license vendor. Remember to carry your hunting license and habitat stamp with you at all times while hunting.

Step 4: Apply for the Bow Hunting License

Once you have completed the hunter education course, obtained your Illinois hunting license, and purchased the habitat stamp, you are now eligible to apply for the bow hunting license. The IDNR offers two types of bow hunting licenses: the Resident Archery Deer Permit and the Non-Resident Archery Deer Permit.

If you are a resident of Illinois, you can apply for the Resident Archery Deer Permit. Non-residents must apply for the Non-Resident Archery Deer Permit. The application can be submitted online through the IDNR website or via mail.

It’s important to note that there are specific hunting seasons and bag limits for bow hunting in Illinois. Familiarize yourself with these regulations before heading out into the field.


Bow hunting in Illinois is a rewarding and challenging pursuit that requires a bow hunting license from the IDNR. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can ensure that you are legally and responsibly engaging in this thrilling outdoor activity. Remember to always prioritize safety, respect the environment, and abide by the hunting laws and regulations set forth by the state. Happy hunting!