SPRINGFIELD, IL – Hunters in Illinois head to the field this week for the state’s most popular hunting season as the 2009 Illinois Firearm Deer Season opens this Friday through Sunday, Nov. 20-22. The seven-day firearm season will conclude on Dec. 3-6.
“Deer hunting is part of our outdoor heritage in Illinois, and we want to encourage all hunters heading to the field this week for the start of the firearm season to make safety their first priority,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller. “Hunters always need to be conscious of firearm and tree stand safety to ensure a safe and enjoyable hunt.”
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 106,018 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season in 2008. More than 360,000 permits have been issued to date for the 2009 firearm season. For information on remaining permits, check the IDNR web site at http://www.dnr.state.il.us/admin/firearm.htm
The legal hunting hours for the firearm deer season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Hunters successful in taking a deer during the firearm season in most counties must register (check in) the deer they harvest by going online at www.dnr.state.il.us/vcheck or by phoning 1-866-IL-CHECK (1-866-452-4325). Hunters using the online or phone-in system must register their harvest by 10 p.m. on the day they take the deer. It is recommended that hunters using cell phones to register their harvest wait until they are out of the field and have a clear cell phone signal before attempting to make the harvest report phone call.
Firearm deer hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties are reminded to bring their deer to mandatory check stations. Biologists will be sampling adult deer for chronic wasting disease (CWD), to determine areas of infection and prevalence rates. The check station locations are listed below (Note: except for Winnebago County, they are in the same locations as last year):
Boone: Boone Co. Fairgrounds, located one-half mile north of Rt. 76 and Business Rt. 20, Belvidere
DeKalb: Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd., Shabbona
Grundy: Gebhard Woods State Park; 401 Ottawa St., Morris
Kane: Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area, 4201 Shabbona Grove Rd., Shabbona
LaSalle: Buffalo Rock State Park, three miles west of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Rd.
McHenry: Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry Dam day use area, east of McHenry on
River Road, 2.2 miles south of Rt. 120
Ogle: Castle Rock State Park, Rt. 2, three miles south of Oregon
Stephenson: Stephenson Co. Fairgrounds, one mile east of Rt. 26 and Fairgrounds Road, Freeport
Winnebago (NEW LOCATION): Rock Cut State Park (hunters should utilize the Hwy 173 entrance and follow the signs)
Hunters who participate in the CWD sampling can check the status of their deer through the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/cwd/. Hunters who provide samples from deer that test positive are notified by the IDNR.
While not believed to be contagious to humans or livestock, chronic wasting disease is known to spread from animal to animal among deer and elk. The disease affects the brain of the infected animal, causing them to become emaciated, display abnormal behavior, lose coordination and eventually die. Illinois expanded its CWD surveillance effort in 2002 following the discovery of the disease in neighboring Wisconsin.
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations changes for 2009-2010, check the IDNR web site at this link:
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.
• Last year in Illinois, there were 38 reported hunting accidents; 30 were the result of tree stand falls and five of those resulted in fatalities. So far during 2009, there have been 13 reported hunting accidents in Illinois, of which six have involved falls from tree stands.
When using a tree stand, remember the following:
• Check ladder stands before you climb to make sure they are secure.
• Wear a Fall Arrest System/Full Body Safety Harness the moment you leave the ground until you return.
• Use a haul line to raise an unloaded firearm or bow into a stand.
When hunting with a firearm, sportsmen should remember three primary rules of firearm safety:
• Point the muzzle in a safe direction.
• Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.
• Know your target and what is beyond your target.