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Active Duty Military

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is offering an Armed Forces Special Pass to military members who live in IL and who have served abroad, including guard or reserve members called to active duty. The special pass provides camping, fishing and hunting fee exemptions for qualified military members, guard and reserve members who can apply within two years of their return from abroad or release from mobilization.

Governor Rod R. Blagojevich signed legislation authorizing the IDNR to provide the fee exemptions, acknowledging the contributions of Illinois residents who are returning from service abroad or who were mobilized by the President as an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, the IL National Guard, or the Reserves of the United States Armed Forces.

The Armed Forces Special Pass provides qualifying military members, and guard and reserve members who were mobilized, to camp at IDNR campgrounds (camper responsible for utility, rent-a-tent and cabin fees) free of charge. The pass also offers a combined Sportsman’s License and Habitat Stamp for hunting and fishing, and an archery or firearm deer permit if requested and available.

Military members are eligible for free sport fishing, hunting and camping for one year for each year (and portion of one year) served.

To receive an Armed Forces Special Pass from the IDNR, qualifying military members must appear in person at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources headquarters, One Natural Resources Way, Springfield, within two years of their return from abroad or release from mobilization, provide verification of dates of service, and provide a photo ID.

Disabled Veterans


If you are a Veteran you are exempt from a hunting and fishing license (see source). You are also exempt from purchasing a Habitat stamp. To be exempt you must be able to show proof of disability with a Veteran’s disability card ( at least 10% service connected). This card is available at your local Veteran’s Affairs office.


1. Military veterans may receive a Hunter Safety Card by completing the online portion of Hunter Safety requirements, without taking the field portion course.  To obtain a Hunter Safety Card, veterans must provide the DNR their online hunter safety voucher and military duty documentation.

2. Illinois Department on Natural Resources sites requires IL residents to possess a Class 2 or 2A disability card in order to be eligible for discounts.

Class 2:

A Class 2 disability is any type of disability which renders a person unable to engage in any substantially gainful activity, or which substantially impairs the person’s ability to live independently without supervision or in-home support services, or which substantially impairs the person’s ability to perform labor or services for which he/she is qualified or significantly restricts the labor or services which he/she is able to perform.

Class 2a:

A Class 2a disability is a Class 2 disability which renders a person unable to walk 200 feet or more unassisted by another person or without the aid of a walker, crutches, braces, prosthetic device or a wheelchair, or without great difficulty or discomfort due to the following impairments: neurologic, orthopedic, respiratory, cardiac, arthritic disorder, blindness, or the loss of function or absence of a limb or limbs.


DISABLED VETERAN: The State of Illinois grants FREE hunting and fishing licenses to veterans who:

  • have a service connected disability (10% and up)
  • are in receipt of total Veterans’ Administration (VA) disability pension
  • are in receipt of military disability retirement pay and can present a letter from the Veteran’s Administration showing the veteran would be entitled to VA compensation at a rate of 10% or greater if military pay was waived.

** Former prisoners of war without a service-connected disability or who are not receiving a disability pension ARE NOT ELIGIBLE for the free hunting and fishing license.

License Information

General Hunting Fishing
Purchase License Online Hunting License Information Fishing License Information
Duplicate / Replacement Lifetime Licensing Lifetime Licensing
License Agent Listings Hunting Regulations Fishing Regulations
Permits Gun Regulations Disabled Veteran License Information

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