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  The Issue of Hunting and Trapping in Illinois 

Hunting and trapping have played an important part in the lives of North Americans for thousands of years. Within the past 200 years, these activities provided food, clothing and income for Illinois families.

Biologist with Bobcat
Illinois biologists safely trap and tranquilize a bobcat for radio-collaring and extended study. License fees and special taxes from trappers and hunters further Illinois conservation efforts.
Photo by Alan Woolf

Today, hunting and trapping play an important, but evolving, role in Illinois:

  • Regulated hunting and trapping are tools to manage wildlife populations.
    Hunters and trappers help reduce property damage and public health threats caused by wildlife. They also check wildlife in rural settings when animals become too numerous.
  • Biologists use traps to control common furbearers that prey on rare and endangered plants and animals. Biologists also use traps to capture and release furbearers unharmed as part of scientific monitoring and research. Illinois DNR often works with licensed trappers in all these efforts.

Eastern prairie fringed orchidBeaver
The federally threatened Eastern prairie fringed orchid is protected in Illinois by trapping beavers that flood areas where orchids grow.
Orchid photo by Rob Simpson/Painet Inc.
Beaver photo by Steve Wayne Rotsch/Painet Inc.

  • License fees paid by hunters and trappers provide a majority of funding to further wildlife and habitat management in Illinois.
  • Trapping provides products that people use everyday. In addition to fur garments, hundreds of everyday items such as soap and paint are made from animal products that come from trapping.

Illinois DNR Believes in the Importance of Careful Stewardship
Some people oppose hunting and trapping, because they believe it is wrong to use animals for human benefit. Others believe that animals have the same rights as humans. Some folks have misconceptions about how hunting and trapping affect wildlife populations in Illinois. Others doubt the humaneness of these activities. Illinois DNR does not share any of these beliefs.

Illinois DNR believes that with careful, responsible and humane stewardship, Illinois furbearers and wildlife can be managed as valuable, renewable natural resources to benefit society and wildlife.

Old hunters
Historically, hunting and trapping provided food, clothing and income for Americans.
Photo by LOGICSTOCK/Painet Inc.

Hunting and Trapping Furbearers

 Welcome and Overview
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Wild Illinois History - Interactive Game
Take the Illinois DNR's Hunting and Trapping Quiz

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