Whitetail deer, squirrels, rabbits, Canadian Geese, quail, ducks and wild turkeys are but a few reasons why hunting is so popular in the Shawnee National Forest. The Forest Service manages both forested and open land areas to provide habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.Hunting season, regulations, hunting licenses, special permits or wildlife stamp information can be obtained from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources at www.dnr.illinois.gov .
Fishing is one of those popular sports that are done here year-round. Trophy-sized bluegill, sunfish, catfish, white and yellow bass, crape, and, of course, large-mouth and spotted bass trophies have been taken from area waters. Striped bass and hybrid striped bass can also be caught from the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Fishing enthusiasts, from the worm-and-bobber crowd to those on the tournament circuit, have a field day in April and May as the waters warm and the fish begin to feed actively. The fun for many continues throughout the warm months and into mild southern Illinois winters.
Looking for a challenge? Take your bass or crappie rig and motor the mighty Ohio Rivers and its world-famous Smithland Pool. Anglers call the Ohio River and 22 streams that enter it from Illinois one of southern Illinois’ best kept secrets.
There is no shortage of marinas, boat and motor rentals, or bait and tackle supplies, from private establishments and other agencies that manage lakes in and near the forest. An Illinois fishing license is required.