Illinois Hunting Laws and Regulations

Passing this Hunting safety course will complete your online safety education for Illinois.

Who is required to complete hunter education in Illinois?

According to Illinois law, all hunters born after January 1, 1980, must complete hunter education certification unless they can provide proof of previously holding a valid hunting license in Illinois or another state.

Is completion of a Illinois state agency-approved course required in order to buy a license?

Yes, in many cases. In order to buy a license, Illinois requires that first-time hunters born after January 1, 1980, must first complete a course approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and IHEA-USA.


Hunting education is currently required in several U.S. states and Canadian provinces.


All U.S. states, provinces, and countries that have mandatory hunter education requirements will accept the Hunter Education Certificate. Likewise, Illinois will accept Hunter Education certifications that are issued by other jurisdictions that meet official IHEA requirements. (This is known as “reciprocity.”)

Illinois-Approved Hunting Course

The Illinois Hunter Ed Course is approved and accepted by Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

What Makes a Course Approved?

To be approved by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, a course must teach hunters to become:

  • Safe (by following all hunting safety rules)
  • Responsible (about hunting, wildlife, conservation, and hunting laws)
  • Knowledgeable (by knowing and demonstrating acceptable behavior and attitudes while hunting)
  • Involved (in joining and participating in hunting and conservation organizations)

Meets IHEA-USA Standards

This Illinois Hunter Ed online hunting education course was developed in accordance with the standards set forth by IHEA-USA and meets the requirements of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources hunter safety mandate.

About the Standards

In 1999 the International Hunter Education Association (IHEA-USA) adopted a set of performance guidelines for basic hunter education courses. These standards have been used internationally by hunter education administrators to evaluate minimum core content in hunter education courses. Industry partners, including the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and Hunter Ed, have used the revised standards to develop new student manuals and alternative delivery methods for hunter education.

Our Commitment to Hunter Education

Hunter Ed is committed to making sure Illinois hunter education students learn the skills and information needed to have a safe, successful, and fun hunt. We strive to ensure this Illinois online hunter safety course helps you become a more knowledgeable and ethical hunter. Educated hunters play an important role in making Illinois a leader in conservation and wildlife management.

We accomplish that goal by working with Illinois Department of Natural Resources and IHEA-USA to produce a course that’s accurate, interesting, and easy to understand.

As a new hunter, you can be proud of your contributions to wildlife conservation and your role as a steward of our natural resources.

Need help? Here are the answers to the questions Illinois Hunting students most frequently ask.

Frequently Asked Questions