|IDNR Reminds Hunters to Make Safety a Priority|
|By Illinois Department of Natural Resources|
|November 14, 2017|
SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Firearm Deer Season opens with the first weekend of firearm hunting on Nov. 17-19, and hunters in Illinois are reminded to make safety their top priority throughout all of Illinois’ busiest hunting seasons.
“This is prime time for hunting in Illinois, and the best way to enjoy an autumn or winter day in the field, in a blind, or in a tree stand is to make sure you’re hunting safely,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne Rosenthal.
The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, which administers the Illinois Hunter Safety Education Program, reports there were 29 hunting incidents last year during all seasons, and 23 of those incidents involved hunters falling from elevated tree stands, or falling while climbing into or out of tree stands.
Hunters using tree stands are reminded to use a Fall Arrest System (FAS) safety harness. Nationally, more than 80 percent of reported tree stand incidents involve hunters who were not using a fall restraint system.
As additional precautions for hunting from elevated stands, hunters should check the harness, straps, ladder and other equipment to make sure they are in good working order. Hunters are also advised to always be aware of weather conditions that could make stands and steps slippery, and to have a mobile phone within reach to call for help, if needed.
Hunters can review tree stand safety online at http://www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/
Illinois’ most popular hunting season, the split seven-day Firearm Deer Season, begins on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 17-19, and concludes on Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 3. Legal hunting hours on those days are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Hunters who take a deer during the firearm season in most Illinois counties must register the deer they harvest online, or through the toll-free phone check-in system. A link to the online deer registration system is available here: https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/HarvestReporting.aspx The toll-free phone deer registration line is 1-866-IL-CHECK (1-866-452-4325). Hunters registering deer through the online or phone systems must do so by 10 p.m. on the day they take the deer.
In many northern Illinois counties where chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been detected in deer, hunters are required to register all deer harvested during firearm season by taking them to a check station (listed below) between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Biologists will be present to take CWD samples for testing at the time of registration. Testing is voluntary, but all hunters with adult deer are encouraged to participate. The counties where hunters are required to check in their deer at check stations are:
Boone: Boone Co. Fairgrounds, 1/2 mi. north of Rt. 76 and Business Rt. 20, Belvidere
Hunters participating in CWD sampling can check the status of their deer (listed by phone number) through the IDNR website. Hunters who provide samples from deer that test positive are notified by the IDNR. For more information on CWD in Illinois, check the website at:
In addition to the seven-day Illinois Firearm Deer Season, other deer hunting seasons in the state include the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 8-10, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season (in select counties) on Dec. 28-31, 2017 and January 12-14, 2018. The Illinois Archery Deer Season, which opened on Oct. 1, is open through Jan. 14, 2018 (except closed in counties open to Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 17-19 and Nov. 30-Dec. 3).
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2017-2018 at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/documents/HuntTrapDigest.pdf