Hunters Reminded to Make Safety their Top Priority during Illinois Firearm Deer Season

Chris Young
Hunters Reminded to Make Safety their Top Priority during Illinois Firearm Deer Season
SPRINGFIELD, IL � The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reminds hunters to make safety their top priority as they head to the field for the first segment of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season this weekend.  The seven-day firearm deer season in Illinois this year is Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7.

�Deer hunting is a time-honored Illinois tradition for thousands of sportsmen and women, and we want all hunters to be safety conscious while enjoying our heritage,� said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

Illinois Firearm Deer Season legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

Hunters who are successful in taking a deer during the firearm season in most Illinois counties must register the deer they harvest either through the IDNR website at or by phoning 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 10 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 their county check stations (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. N. of Rt. 76 and Bus. Rt. 20, Belvidere
� DeKalb:  Shabbona Lake State Park; 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd., Shabbona
� Grundy:  Gebhard Woods State Park/I & M Canal Trail; 401 Ottawa St., Morris
� Jo Daviess:  Elizabeth Community Bldg.; 210 N. West St., Elizabeth - 1/2 mi. W. of business district on Hwy. 20, next to Highland C.C. Elizabeth campus
� Kane:  Shabbona Lake S.P. (De Kalb Co.); 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd., Shabbona
� La Salle:  Buffalo Rock State Park; 3 mi. W. of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Rd.
� McHenry:  Moraine Hills State Park; McHenry Dam Day Use Area, E. of McHenry on River Rd., 2.2 mi. S. of Rt. 120
� Ogle:  Castle Rock State Park; Rt. 2, 3 mi. S. of Oregon
� Stephenson:  Stephenson County Fairgrounds; 1 mi. E. of Rt. 26 and Fairgrounds Rd., Freeport
� Winnebago:  Rock Cut State Park; Loves Park, Rt. 173 entrance

Hunters participating in the 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 IDNR website at

In addition to the seven-day Illinois Firearm Deer Season, other upcoming firearm hunting seasons in the state include the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 12-14, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season on Jan. 1-4, 2015 and January 16-18, 2015.  For more information on open counties and other details regarding the Late-Winter season, check the IDNR website at
In 2013, there were 27 hunting incidents reported in Illinois, and there have been 10 hunting incidents reported in the state so far during 2014. 

Among the hunting incidents reported last year, 16 involved tree stand falls.  When using a tree stand, hunters should make sure they are using a Fall Arrest System (FAS) safety harness. 

When hunting with a firearm, hunters should:
� Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, and never assume a firearm is unloaded;
� Always point a firearm in a safe direction;
� Be sure of the target, and make sure there are no other hunters, homes, buildings, vehicles or other animals beyond the target;
� Keep their finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger until they are ready to shoot.

Hunters are encouraged to consider those less fortunate and donate to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program.  The program allows hunters to donate whole deer for processing into venison that is provided to food banks and food pantries in local communities throughout the state.  For more information on ISAH, click on the IDNR website at

For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check the IDNR website at

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