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Illinois Legalizes Crossbows During Archery Season

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(Photo by Dave Willman/​

Just in time for the October 1st opener for archery hunting in Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed a bill into law that legalizes the use of crossbows during archery season.

The bill penned by Rep. Jerry Costello II (D) was introduced early last February and has passed through the Illinois house in April and the senate in May. On Monday, September 11th Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law.

Now hunters that choose to use a crossbow to harvest their turkey or deer will get a jump on hunters that elect to use a firearm by 21 days for turkey and 48 days for deer.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources issued an announcement on the DNR website that we have posted below:

SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois may use crossbows during archery hunting seasons, including the Illinois Archery Deer Season and the Illinois Fall Turkey Archery Season beginning on Oct. 1.

Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law House Bill 2893, which amended the Illinois Wildlife Code to repeal restrictions on the use of crossbows during archery hunting seasons in Illinois.

Illinois law previously allowed the use of crossbows for archery hunting by persons age 62 or older, and those persons with disabilities who qualified for a crossbow permit issued by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR).  In addition, the previous law allowed certain youth hunters to use crossbows, and allowed all archery hunters to use crossbows beginning the Monday after the second firearm deer season.

The 2017-18 season dates for archery deer and fall turkey archery hunting in Illinois are Oct. 1, 2017 through Jan. 14, 2018.  Archery seasons will be closed Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3 during the Firearm Deer Season in those counties open to firearm deer hunting."

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