2021 Illinois Turkey Season Forecast/Past Season Reports | OTC Tags Go On Sale 3-9-21

Updated: Mar 17

Spring is making its appearance a little more every day with later sunsets and warmer temps. For hunters, that means one thing... turkey season will be here soon!



2021 seasons kick off on April 5th in the southern part of the state and April 12th in the northern zone.


IDNR lists all season dates and hunting regulations here - https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/Documents/2021%20Spring%20Turkey%20Hunting%20Information%20Sheet.pdf


At this time I do not have the full breakdown of 2020 harvest reporting. However, Illinois turkey hunters experienced a 23.5% success rate in 2019 up from 21.5% in 2018. This could be a result of weather, as turkey seasons are short and the pre-breeding activity of the birds can change drastically based on the conditions. 2018 we experienced much colder than average temps in the month of April, whereas 2019 was near average.


2019 Harvest Report - https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/wildlife/Documents/2019%20Illinois%20Spring%20Turkey%20Summary.pdf


2018 Harvest Report -

https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/conservation/wildlife/Documents/2018%20Illinois%20Spring%20Turkey%20Summary.pdf


Public land hunters could experience some great hunting this year as many sites were closed to hunting during the spring of 2020. Covid-19 shutdowns prevented many hunters from heading into the field to fill tags, which could result in peak populations in those areas.


OTC TAGS GO ON SALE MARCH 9TH, 2021


For those of you who may have missed your application period for the three Illinois lotteries, any leftover tags will go on sale March 9th, 2021.


Here is a link to the current tag availability - https://www2.illinois.gov/dnr/hunting/Documents/2021%20Permits%20Remaining%20After%20Third%20Lottery%20-%20COUNTY.pdf


Good luck to all turkey hunters this spring!