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Apply for Private Land Access for Spring Turkey Hunting Through IRAP

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Youth and adult hunters can apply now for 2020 spring turkey hunting sites through the Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP), the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today.

The IDNR has leased more than 16,000 acres of private land for the upcoming 2020 Illinois Spring Wild Turkey Season through IRAP, creating 470 public access turkey hunting sites on those properties in 40 counties. Sites are available free of charge to successful applicants during the spring youth turkey hunt and during the third and fourth segments of the spring turkey season.

To participate as a youth hunter (age 17 and under), hunters and their supervisors must fill out an IRAP application and send it in by Feb. 22, 2020 to be eligible for the IRAP youth drawing. A total of 180 sites are available in 38 counties for the two-weekend youth season (March 28-29 and April 4-5, 2020).

More IRAP sites are available for spring turkey season segments 3 and 4 to youth and adult turkey hunters. These sites are open on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible, a hunter must first apply for his or her spring turkey permit through the IDNR lottery for an IRAP-eligible county (see the map on the IRAP webpage). Once a hunter receives their spring turkey permit, she or he may apply for an IRAP turkey site in the county for which they received their turkey permit. Preference is given to youth hunters and first-time adult hunters. The IDNR spring turkey permit first lottery application deadline is December 1, 2019. IDNR spring turkey hunting information can be found at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/TurkeyHunting.aspx.

“The Illinois Recreational Access Program has been extremely popular and continues to expand as it adds more private property for access by hunters,” said IDNR Director Collen Callahan. “Through IRAP, landowners allow public access to their property in exchange for a lease payment, a habitat management plan, and assistance with habitat restoration of their property. It is an ideal public/private partnership that benefits the habitat, participants, and landowners.”

Applications for IRAP Turkey Hunting sites can be found online at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP/Pages/First-time-Adult-turkey-hunting-.aspx.

Only successful applicants will be notified by mail regarding the location of their hunting site, be provided a map and an IRAP site permit allowing them to hunt on their assigned privately-owned turkey hunting site. For youth season, hunters will also need to purchase an over-the-counter IDNR youth turkey permit after they have received their IRAP site permit packet.

Turkey hunting on IRAP leased property is available during three spring turkey seasons:
Youth Season: March 28 – 29 (statewide) and April 4 – 5 (statewide)
Third Season: April 17 – 22 (south zone); April 24 – April 29 (north zone)
Fourth Season: April 23 – April 29 (south zone); April 30 – May 6 (north zone)

The IRAP program is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. To date, IRAP has leased more than 23,000 acres in 47 counties to provide for various public access opportunities such as turkey, archery deer, small game, waterfowl, and upland bird hunting; pond and riverbank fishing; boat access on public waterways; and, access for hiking, birding and outdoor photography.

For more information, visit: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/IRAP/Pages/default.aspx or e-mail dnr.irap@illinois.gov.