Friday, November 16, 2012
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Illinois firearm deer season opens this weekend

7-day season is Nov. 16-18 and Nov. 29-Dec. 2

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[November 16, 2012]  SPRINGFIELD -- Hunters in Illinois head to the field this week for the state's busiest and most popular hunting season -- the firearm deer season -- which begins Friday through Sunday. The seven-day firearm hunt will conclude Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

"Illinois has a great hunting tradition, and the firearm deer season is a special time for hundreds of thousands of hunters in our state," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller. "I want to remind hunters to be safe while enjoying the firearm deer hunt and all outdoor activity in Illinois."

Hunters in Illinois harvested 98,820 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season in 2011. So far this season, approximately 334,000 permits have been issued. For information on remaining permits, check the IDNR website at this link:

The legal hunting hours for the firearm deer season are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.

Hunters in most counties who are successful in taking a deer during the firearm season must register the deer they harvest online through the IDNR website at
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 cellphones to register their harvest wait until they are out of the field and have a clear cellphone signal before attempting to make the call to report the deer harvest.

Firearm deer hunters in the 10 counties listed below are required to register all deer harvested during firearm season at the check stations between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Biologists will be present to take chronic wasting disease test samples at the time of registration. Testing is voluntary, but all hunters with adult deer are encouraged to participate.

Note: Successful Kendall County firearm deer hunters are also encouraged to bring their adult deer to a check station in one of the adjacent counties for testing, as IDNR needs additional samples from this county to properly evaluate the status of CWD.

Check stations

  • Boone County -- Boone Co. Fairgrounds; one-half mile north of Route 76 and Business Route 20, Belvidere

  • DeKalb County -- Shabbona Lake State Park; 4201 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona

  • Grundy County -- Gebhard Woods State Park; 401 Ottawa St., Morris

  • Jo Daviess County -- Elizabeth Community Building; 210 N. West St., Elizabeth, one-half mile west of business district on Highway 20, next to the Elizabeth campus of Highland Community College

  • Kane County -- Shabbona Lake State Park (in De Kalb County); 4201 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona

  • La Salle County -- Buffalo Rock State Park; three miles west of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road

  • McHenry County -- Moraine Hills State Park; McHenry Dam Day Use Area, east of McHenry on River Road, 2.2 miles south of Route 120

  • Ogle County -- Castle Rock State Park; Route 2, three miles south of Oregon

  • Stephenson County -- Stephenson County Fairgrounds; one mile east of Route 26 and Fairgrounds Road, Freeport

  • Winnebago County -- Rock Cut State Park; Loves Park, one mile west of Perryville Road on Hart Road

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Hunters who participate in the CWD sampling can check the status of their deer (listed by phone number) through the IDNR website at

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.

Other upcoming firearm hunting seasons in Illinois are the three-day muzzleloader-only deer season Dec. 7-9, and the seven-day split late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season and special CWD deer season Dec. 27-30 and Jan. 18-20. Hunters are reminded that 10 fewer counties will be open for the late-winter season in 2012-13 (see map at

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


Hunting safety

Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, must successfully complete a hunter safety course before being issued a regular Illinois hunting license.

The most common cause of hunting incidents in Illinois is falling from a tree stand.

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, 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.

[Text from Illinois Department of Natural Resources file received from the Illinois Office of Communication and Information]

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