Crossbow Hunting in Illinois 2020
Crossbow Deer Hunting in Illinois Laws 2020
Crossbow whitetail hunting in Illinois is legal throughout the entire archery season regardless of age or physical ability. What affect will this have on the deer population and hunting in the state? We’ll touch on that in a moment but for now lets look at the pros and cons of Illinois crossbow hunting.
The sheer speed and power of the new generation of crossbows are in a category by themselves when compared to regular archery equipment. Pinpoint accuracy and not having to worry about pulling a bow back when a deer is in close are advantageous. Most crossbows use scopes as sights which helps to accommodate youth hunters. Crossbows combined with a adjustable tripod make a deadly accurate combination that brings consistent patterns at longer distances obtainable. You can have zero knowledge of regular archery equipment and be very proficient with little practice required with modern crossbows.
However, crossbows do have there “drawbacks”. Crossbows are generally heavier and more cumbersome to carry. (Not to mention most crossbow hard cases take up 1/2 a truck bed!) A hunter has to be mindful of the space around the crossbow when he’s pulling the trigger, being sure not to interfere with the bows limbs during the shot process. That means you can not use a tree or corner of a box blind to steady your aim as you can do with a gun. The reloading process is exactly that; a process. You can pretty much forget about getting another quick shot off, especially if your hunting out of a treestand! At the end of each unsuccessful hunt you have to discharge the crossbow, which requires you to have a target and an extra regular tipped bolt. Or you can simply shoot a discharge bolt into the ground, as long as the ground isn’t frozen!
The Illinois Crossbow Effect?
Overall, the new crossbow hunting law will open up more hunting opportunities to those who are not familiar with regular archery hunting equipment and allow children that do not have the ability or the knowledge required to be sufficient with regular archery equipment. Some may argue that crossbow hunting will be detrimental to the overall deer herd.. But will it?
More hunting opportunities equal more deer harvested. I wouldn’t be surprised if the IDNR sees a bump in archery tag sales and overall archery harvest this year. Which might reduce the population marginally. But is that really a bad thing for Illinois? Deer numbers are strong and healthy in most areas of the state.
The boom of the trophy hunting era has put an emphasis on hunting big bucks. Guided hunts and leases have sky rocketed and most hunters that lease or hunt with an outfitter are only interested in harvesting a trophy buck. Which has led to an influx of does and overall deer. More deer equal lower overall habitat health, which equals bucks that are not reaching there full potential due to lack of prime browse and stressors that come with an overpopulated carrying capacity. Yes, some hunters will complain that they are seeing less deer and the IDNR needs to restrict hunting methods. Yet, in the long run if more does are harvested and the carrying capacity is below what it should be it will be in the best interest of all hunters and lead to a healthier deer herd, in turn helping bucks reach their full potential of antler development.
Illinois Crossbow Laws
Crossbow hunting in Illinois is legal without restrictions throughout the entire archery season. Previously, the law only allowed hunters to hunt with a crossbow if they were 62 and older or if the hunter obtained a doctors note due to physical disability. For more information on laws and regulations on crossbow hunting visit the IDNR website here>>
If your interested in crossbow hunting in Illinois, we are running a late season, 4 night/3 day crossbow hunt for $1,650. To check out our regular deer hunting rates and dates for this upcoming season click here>>
Last Updated: December 4th, 2019