"The firearm deer season is a great part of our hunting heritage
in Illinois," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "Thanks to so many
safety-minded hunters, hunting is one of our safest forms of outdoor
recreation, and we want to remind hunters to make safety their first
priority for deer season and whenever they're hunting."
The legal hunting hours for the season are from a half-hour
before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.
In most counties, hunters successful in taking a deer during the
firearm season must register the deer harvest online through the
IDNR website at
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.
Firearm deer hunters in 10 northern Illinois counties are
required to register all deer harvested during firearm season by
taking them to their county check stations (shown
below) between the
hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Biologists will be present at
registration to take samples for testing for chronic wasting
disease. Testing is voluntary, but all hunters with adult deer are
encouraged to participate. The counties where hunters are required
to check in their deer at check stations are:
Boone: Boone County Fairgrounds, 1/2 miles north of Route 76 and
Business Route 20, Belvidere
DeKalb: Shabbona Lake State Park, 4201 Shabbona Grove Road,
Grundy: Gebhard Woods State Park, I & M Canal Trail, 401 Ottawa
Jo Daviess: Elizabeth Community Building, 210 N. West St.,
Elizabeth; next to Highland Community College campus, 1/2 mile west
of Elizabeth business district on Highway 20
Kane: Shabbona Lake State Park in DeKalb County, 4201 Shabbona
Grove Road, Shabbona
La Salle: Buffalo Rock State Park, 3 miles west of Ottawa on Dee
McHenry: Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry Dam Day Use Area, east
of McHenry on River Road, 2.2 miles south of Route 120
Ogle: Castle Rock State Park, 3 miles south of Oregon on Route 2
Stephenson: Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 1 mile east of Route
26 and Fairgrounds Road, Freeport
Winnebago: Rock Cut State Park, Loves Park, Route 173 entrance
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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.
Hunters who provide samples from deer that test positive are
notified by the IDNR.
For more information on CWD in Illinois, check the IDNR website
In addition to the seven-day firearm deer season, other upcoming
firearm hunting seasons in the state are the three-day
muzzleloader-only deer season Dec. 13-15 and the seven-day split
late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season and special CWD deer
season Dec. 26-29 and Jan. 17-19.
In 2012, there were 26 hunting accidents reported in Illinois,
three of which resulted in fatalities. There have been 14 hunting
incidents reported in the state so far during 2013.
Of the hunting incidents reported last year, 11 involved tree
stand falls. When using a tree stand, hunters should make sure they
are using a full-body safety harness, also known as a fall arrest
system or FAS.
Among safety reminders when hunting with a firearm:
Treat every firearm as if it were loaded, and never assume a
firearm is unloaded.
Always point a firearm in a safe direction.
Be sure of your target, and make sure there are no other hunters,
homes, buildings, vehicles or other animals beyond your target.
Keep your finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger
until you are ready to shoot.
Hunters successful in taking deer in Illinois are also encouraged
to consider donating to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger
program. The program allows hunters to donate whole deer for
processing into venison that is provided to food banks, food
pantries and other charitable organizations in local communities
throughout the state. For more information on the program, visit
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check
the IDNR website at
Illinois Department of
file received from
Illinois Office of
Communication and Information]