SPRINGFIELD – With the fall hunting season quickly approaching in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is encouraging hunters to take a free Illinois Hunter Safety Education Course offered through the department.
“Safety must remain the top priority when hunters are out in the field regardless of age or expertise,” said IDNR Director, Marc Miller. “The best insurance a hunter can carry with them is the knowledge gained through a hunter safety education course.”
Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after January 1, 1980 must successfully complete a free hunter safety education course before an Illinois hunting license can be issued. The courses are coordinated by the IDNR and are taught by volunteer safety instructors. The courses include instruction on hunting regulations, hunter ethics and responsibility, archery, firearms, ammunition, first aid, wildlife identification and conservation. A minimum of 10 hours of instruction is involved.
While the courses are a must for young and novice hunters, many states now require hunters of all ages to furnish evidence of having completed a hunter education course before they will be issued a non-resident hunting license. Those who complete the course and pass the final exam receive a certificate of competency.
“Hunting is a lifetime recreational activity enjoyed by hundreds of thousands throughout the state,” said IDNR Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins. “The Illinois Hunter Education Program is dedicated to improving safety and to developing an attitude of respect for wildlife and the environment.”
For more information on hunter safety education courses and the complete schedule of IDNR safety education programs, check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/safety or call toll-free 1-800/832-2599.