ILLINOIS (WCIA) — While deer hunting is maybe the most well-known hunting season in Illinois, another hunting and trapping season is increasing in popularity in Illinois: raccoon.

The 2019-20 Illinois Fur Harvest Survey said that sales of furbearer trapping licenses increased to 6,718 in 2019-20, up from 6,463 in 2018-19. During 2018-19, approximately 5,041 raccoon hunters spent 83,632 days afield and 22,631 coyote hunters spent 188,764 days afield. Raccoon pelt sales increased from 44,889 in 2018-19 to 55,070 in 2019-20.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources allows hunting and trapping seasons for the harvest and use of 14 species of “furbearers”, animals valued for their fur. Hunting is legal for 8 species of furbearers, animals valued for their fur, including raccoons, coyotes, striped skunks, opossums, red and gray foxes, bobcats, and woodchucks.

According to their website, the IDNR Division of Wildlife recognizes that regulated trapping is a versatile, safe, effective and ecologically sound means of capturing individual animals without impairing the survival of furbearer populations or damaging the environment.

Below is a list of Illinois furbearer hunting dates, though all furbearer hunting is closed in counties open deer firearm season:

  • Coyote: open year-round,
  • Striped skunk: open year-round,
  • Raccoons: open Nov. 10 – Feb. 15, 2023
  • Opossums: open Nov. 10 – Feb. 15, 2023
  • Red and gray foxes: open Nov. 10 – Feb. 15, 2023
  • Bobcats: open Nov. 10 – Feb. 15, 2023
  • Woodchucks: June-Mar 31, 2023

Complete details on hunting times, regulations, limits and permits, as well as trapping information and additional resources can be found on the IDNR website.