SPRINGFIELD, IL – Illinois’ most popular hunting season begins this Friday, November 18 through Sunday, November 20 as hunters head to the field for the opening weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season. The seven-day firearm hunt will conclude on December 1-4.
“Firearm deer season in Illinois is an anxiously awaited time of year for thousands of hunters,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Marc Miller. “We encourage hunters to enjoy their outdoor heritage and time afield, but to always make ethics and safety top priorities, for the good of the sport.”
“Conservation Police Officers will be out in full force during the firearm deer season,” said IDNR Conservation Police Chief Rafael Gutierrez. “We will be conducting airplane details in addition to our regular checks to prevent poaching and protect hunting opportunities for the thousands of legal sportsmen and women in the field.”
Hunters in Illinois harvested 98,944 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season in 2010. So far this season, more than 327,000 permits have been issued. For information on remaining permits, check the IDNR website at this link: http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/Deer.aspx
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 the deer they harvest online through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/HarvestReporting.aspx 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 cellular 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, JoDaviess, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson, and Winnebago counties are reminded to bring their deer to mandatory check stations by 8 p.m. on the day they harvest a deer. 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: the check station locations are the same as last year, except for the addition of the JoDaviess County check station at Elizabeth):
• 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
• JoDaviess: Elizabeth Community Center, 111 E. Myrtle St., Elizabeth; ½ mile west of business district on Hwy 20, next to Highland Community College, Elizabeth campus.
• 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: 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 (listed by phone number) 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 infected animals, 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, 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 22 reported hunting accidents, 11 involving tree stands (two fatalities)
• 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