Hunters Reminded to Use Safe Practices in the Field this Fall Hunting Season

Chris McCloud
Hunters Reminded to Use Safe Practices in the Field this Fall Hunting Season
SPRINGFIELD, IL � With archery season just around the corner for fall deer and turkey hunting, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is reminding all hunters to make safety a top priority when in the field this year.

While hunting is one of the safest forms of outdoor recreation, thanks to the diligence of law abiding and safety-minded hunters, incidents do happen.  Last year in Illinois, there were 26 hunting incidents, one of them fatal.  There have been six hunting incidents reported in the state so far in 2012. 

�Whether in a blind or a tree stand, it is crucial that hunters are acutely aware of their surroundings, including the locations of fellow hunters.  Never take a shot without knowing what is beyond your target, and always be extremely careful when ascending or descending from a tree stand,� said IDNR Director Marc Miller.

Of the 14 hunting-related incidents reported in 2011 that did not involve discharge of a firearm or bow, 13 of them were tree stand falls.  When using a tree stand, hunters should use a full body safety harness (also known as a Fall Arrest System or FAS).  

This year in Illinois, the archery deer and fall archery wild turkey seasons open October 1 and continue through January 20, 2013; the seven-day firearm deer season is November 16-18 and November 29-December 2.

A new state law in Illinois takes effect this fall allowing expanded use of crossbows during the Illinois archery deer and fall archery wild turkey hunting seasons. A legally permitted archery hunter may use a crossbow from the second Monday following Thanksgiving through the end of the archery hunting seasons. For the upcoming season, those dates are December 3, 2012 through January 20, 2013. Illinois law continues to allow use of a crossbow throughout the entire archery season by persons age 62 or older and handicapped persons who are issued crossbow permits by the IDNR.

Hunters in Illinois harvested 181,411 deer during all firearm and archery seasons last year. The legal hunting hours for the firearm deer season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.

For more information on all Illinois hunting seasons, check the IDNR website at

Hunting Safety Facts:
� Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980, must successfully complete a hunter safety course before a regular Illinois hunting license is issued.
� The number one cause of hunting accidents in Illinois is falling from a tree stand.
� When using a tree stand, remember the following:
 Check ladder stands before climbing to make sure they are secure.
 Wear a Fall Arrest System/Full Body Safety Harness when leaving the ground until returning to the ground from the tree stand.
 Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment and unloaded firearm or bow into a tree stand.

When hunting with a firearm, sportsmen should remember three primary rules of firearm safety:
 Know your target and what is beyond your target.
 Point the muzzle in a safe direction.
 Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

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