The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has published the preliminary rules on centerfire rifle and handgun hunting, which was passed into law earlier this summer.
First, these rules do not go into effect until Jan. 1 so it is still illegal to use a rifle to hunt deer in Illinois this fall. Early next year the IL DNR expects to put out more information, but here is what has been shared in the hunting digest.
Like any new rule, paying close attention to the definitions is very important. First, “centerfire” means a gun that will only fire a round that contains the primer in the center of the cartridge and not in the rim of the cartridge. This eliminates .22 Long Rifle and several other commonly used calibers for small game hunting.
Next, “single shot” means a gun that is either manufactured or modified to only be capable of holding a total of ONE round in the magazine and chamber combined. Single shot does not include: (a) a rifle in the possession of a person who is also in possession of or in close proximity to a magazine that would allow the rifle to be capable of holding more than one round or (b) a revolver.
A gun shall be considered single shot if there is no magazine in the possession of, or in close proximity of a hunter in the field and the gun can only hold a total of one round. Therefore, the way this is written, an internal magazine commonly found in bolt action rifles would not be legal to use for deer hunting.