Summer Hunting Opportunities at Carlyle Lake

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published July 27, 2021

CARLYLE LAKE – Carlyle Lake offers the outdoor sportsman a variety of late summer hunting opportunities.  The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources work together to manage public lands and waters at Carlyle Lake. More than 10,000 acres of public lands are open to public hunting to which all-current Illinois game laws and regulations are in effect. All hunters are also required to sign in and out daily and record harvest at the nearest hunter sign in box. Access areas are conveniently located around the lake to provide parking and access to public lands.


Squirrel season opens August 1, 2021; shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise to ½ hour after sunset. The daily bag limit is 5 and the possession limit is 10, you may possess no more than twice the daily bag limit. All public lands around the lake are open to hunting with the exception of developed recreation areas and a 100-yard buffer zone around the recreation areas and other posted areas marked “NO HUNTING”.  Both shotguns and .22 rim fire rifles are permitted on Corps of Engineers public lands to hunt squirrels.

Dove season opens September 1, 2021; Statewide regulations apply, except hunting hours are from Noon – Sunset September 1-5. Starting on September 6, hunting hours are from Sunrise – Sunset

The daily limit is 15 and the possession limit is 45.  Several wildlife food plots have been planted around the lake in various crops including sunflowers, corn, and soybeans. Areas that will be available for dove hunting on September 1 include: Bobwhite Access, James Hawn, Mourning Dove Access, Massasauga Access, and Elmwood Access.  Steins Field Access is designated as a special dove hunting area reserved for disabled sportsmen on September 1 and 2.  All disabled sportsmen must apply at the Carlyle Lake Project Office by August 21. Steins Access opens to the public on September 3. Dove hunting at Lotus in the Coles Creek Recreation Area will open on Tuesday September 7, shooting hours are from Noon to Sunset September 7 – 9. Starting September 10, hunting hours are from Sunrise to Sunset. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also offers dove hunting opportunities at Eldon Hazlet State Park and Eckert’s Woods; steel shot is required for dove hunting at IDNR managed areas.

Remember to always practice hunting safety and follow all State of Illinois hunting rules and regulations, as well as U.S. Army Corps of Engineers site specific regulations. For more details or information on outdoor hunting activities contact the Carlyle Lake Project Office at (618) 594-2484 or e-mail us at

Darren Murphy
Kim Hammel

Release no. 21-066