Feeding Wildlife

It is unlawful to make available food, salt, mineral blocks or other products for ingestion by wild deer or other wildlife in areas where wild deer are present at any time.


  • elevated bird/squirrel feeders providing seed, grain, fruit, worms or suet for birds or squirrels located within 100 feet of a dwelling devoted to human occupancy.
  • incidental feeding of wildlife within active livestock operations.
  • feeding of wild animals, other than wild deer, by hand as long as a reasonable attempt is made to clean up unconsumed food.
  • feeders for wildlife other than deer so long as deer are excluded from the feed in and around the feeder by fencing or other barriers.
  • grain or other feed scattered or distributed solely as a result of normal agricultural, gardening or soil stabilization practices.
  • standing, flooded or manipulated natural vegetation or food/seed deposited by natural vegetation.
  • grain or other feed distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown, for purposes of dove hunting.
  • food material placed for capturing or killing wildlife pursuant to 520 ILCS 5/2.37, 2.30, and 1.3.
  • scientific permits issued pursuant to 17 Ill.Adm. Code 520 that allow food to attract wildlife.
  • any other permits issued by IDNR that require the attraction of wildlife for purposes of management, research or control.

Violation of the provisions of this part is a Petty Offense with a maximum fine of $1,000. Hunting deer over bait is a separate offense. (pg 8)

Statewide Regulations FAQs
What are the most frequently cited areas of violation?
A: : Hunting without permission, hunting deer over a baited area, hunting after legal hours, permit violations (no permit in possession or using someone else’s permit), not wearing blaze orange or blaze pink when required, no or wrong license/ stamps, hunting from a vehicle, uncased or loaded gun in vehicle, using shotgun capable of holding more than three rounds, falsifying licenses or permits. (pg 12)

Hunting Deer Over Salt, Mineral or Bait

It is illegal to feed deer at any time and/or harvest deer by the use or aid of bait or baiting of any kind. Despite their widespread availability, deer baits and attractants commonly sold in stores are also illegal to use at any time except for use by properly licensed owners of captive cervids while feeding captive animals. For the purpose of this section, “bait” means any material, whether liquid or solid, including food, salt, minerals and other products that can be ingested, placed or scattered in such a manner as to attract or lure white-tailed deer. “Baiting” means the placement or scattering of bait to attract deer.

For the purposes of taking white-tailed deer, nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent the manipulation, including mowing or cutting, of standing crops as a normal agricultural or soil stabilization practice, food plots or normal agricultural practices, including planting, harvesting and maintenance, such as cultivating, or the use of products designed for scent only and not capable of ingestion, solid or liquid, placed or scattered, in such a manner as to attract or lure deer. (pg 17)

Phone: 217-782-6431

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