Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Illinois [No]

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Pigeons are beautiful birds but the source of property damage and health risk. There are multiple ways to eliminate them from your surroundings. So, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Illinois?  

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Illinois. The federal authorities do not protect Feral pigeons and Eurasian collared doves. Hunters can take them down any time of the year. The Migratory pigeons are under the protection of Illinois wildlife. It is illegal to trap and kill them.  

Pigeon shooting is easy as long as you know the rules. To learn more about pigeon killing, shooting, and hunting in Illinois, read the article till the end.   

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Illinois?  

In Illinois, it is legal to hunt and eat all pigeon species. According to wildlife research, there are seven pigeon species in Illinois, including the Mourning dove, white-winged dove, Barbary dove, Band-tailed pigeon, Inca dove, Eurasian collared dove, and Rock pigeon.

The wildlife authorities allow the hunting of Eurasian collared doves and Rock pigeons all year. To hunt Migratory pigeons and doves, hunters will have to wait for the Small bird hunting season.  

Every year pigeon and dove hunting in Illinois is divided into two seasons. Typically, the first hunting season begins on the 4th of September and ends 14th of November. The second hunting season starts on the 26th of December and ends on the 9th of January.  

Hunters must remember there is a daily bag count and possession limit for each pigeon species during hunting season. However, there is no hunting limit for the Feral pigeon and Eurasian collared dove.  

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Illinois?  

In Illinois, it is illegal to take down Migratory pigeons and doves off-season. The mourning dove, white-winged dove, Barbary dove, Band-tailed pigeon, and Inca dove are in Illinois for a short period. These pigeons and doves are part of the Migratory pigeon treaty.  

Migratory birds or pigeons are the specie of bird that usually returns back to their home and babies once the season ends. The Migratory bird treaty act forbids killing, trapping, capturing, and trading of protected species. This act was signed in 1918 between the USA and other foreign countries. So, hurting Migratory pigeons and doves for no apparent reason is a felony offense.   

Hunting of Migratory pigeons and doves is limited to a few days yearly. Hunters who wish to hunt during the gaming season must register for the hunting festival and obtain their permits. 

Additionally, there are no restrictions on eating pigeon meat in Florida. However, it is better to avoid unprotected pigeon meat.  

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Illinois State 

Hunting laws in each state ensure the safety of hunters, wildlife, and properties. Needless to say, these laws are basic guidelines for every hunter. It is essential for hunters to go through them and understand them clearly before planning to participate in a small game festival.

Following are some laws that govern pigeon shootings in Illinois. 

Hunting License  

In Illinois, all hunters must complete the Hunter education program to obtain a hunting license. The course has ten hours of instruction and covers all the basics of hunting, including weapons, ethics, and responsibilities. At the end of the Hunting course, participants must pass the test to obtain a certificate.  

The course is free of charge for students 17 and below. But people aged 18 and above will have to pay fees for the course. On completing of Hunter education course, federal authorities issue a hunting license to the individuals.

The charges for the hunting license vary on age and background. A youth hunting license is for people 16 and below. The youth hunters must be under the direct supervision of adult licensed hunters of 21 years.   

The Illinois hunting law allows the hunter to use firearms and bow and arrow for pigeon hunting. The only firearm hunters can use for shooting Migratory pigeons and dove is a shotgun ten gauge which can hold up to three shells. The shotgun length must not be larger than 26 inches, and the barrel must be less than 18 inches. However, the state allows air rifles only for Feral pigeons.  

Hunters also have the option to use archery equipment for hunting Migratory and Feral pigeons. Archery equipment also includes crossbows. However, the state forbids the use of poisonous arrows.   


Hunting on private land is legal when you have permission from the landowner or tenant. However, people who own the land and their tenants can hunt freely without a permit.

The land access permission card known as ‘Property only hunting’ is for landowners that meet all the criteria. The land must be forty acres and three hundred yards from the dwellings.  

On-Site Clothing 

When participating in a hunting festival, hunters must wear a solid blaze orange or pink hat, cap, and backpack. It is illegal to wear camo-printed garments on the hunting site.  

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons In Illinois State? 

Hunting pigeon is legal in Illinois, and there are laws to help hunters. Reading the pointers below will help hunters clarify shooting and hunting pigeons according to the law.   

  • Complete the hunting education certificate course and purchase the hunting license online or via the Illinois wildlife agent.  
  • Then apply for a permit if you are planning to hunt on private land.   
  • Register online ahead of the gaming festival to participate in a small bird game to hunt Migratory pigeons and doves.   
  • Wear blaze orange or pink garments on the hunting field for your recognition.   
  • The legal weapon for hunting pigeons is a shotgun and archery equipment. Hunters can use air rifles only for hunting Feral pigeons.  
  • The poisonous shots, decoys, and electronic calls for hunting Migratory pigeons are illegal.   
  • Make separate bags for the harvest of each pigeon species.   
  • It is unlawful to shoot more pigeons than the daily bag count and possession limit.  
  • Submit daily bag count online on the Illinois wildlife website y filling out the forum.   


The increase in the sky rodents population has made things difficult for many people in different USA states. Therefore, Illinois wildlife authorities do not protect pigeons. It is still illegal to hunt Migratory pigeons and doves off-season. Hunters can hunt Feral pigeons and Eurasian collared doves all year.  

It is mandatory for people who wish to hunt in Illinois to complete the Hunting certificate course to purchase a license. After obtaining a hunting license, hunters can also participate in small games to hunt Migratory pigeons and doves. According to the Illinois wildlife website, this year, the Small bird game started on the 4th of September and will end on the 9th of January.