“There is no better place to participate in and celebrate our
hunting heritage than right here in Illinois during the fall,”
said Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director
Wayne Rosenthal. “No matter the hunting seasons, we want hunters
to enjoy their time in the field, and to be safe while doing
The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, which administers the
state’s Hunter Safety Education Program, has investigated 10
hunting incidents so far during 2016, eight of which involved
hunters falling from elevated tree stands or falling while
climbing into or out of tree stands.
In 2015, there were 25 hunting incidents reported in all hunting
seasons in Illinois. Among the hunting incidents reported last
year, 15 involved tree stands.
The IDNR reminds hunters using tree stands to use a Fall Arrest
System (FAS) safety harness. Nationally, more than 80 percent of
reported tree stand incidents involve hunters who were not using
a fall restraint system.
Hunters should also check the harness, straps, ladder and other
equipment before use to make sure they are in working order; be
aware of weather conditions that could make stands and steps
slippery; and, have within reach a mobile phone to call for
help, if needed. Hunters can review tree stand safety online at
Safety educators and IDNR Conservation Police also remind
everyone hunting with a firearm to:
Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, and never assume a
firearm is unloaded;
Always point a firearm in a safe direction;
Be sure of the target, and make sure there are no other hunters,
homes, buildings, vehicles or other animals beyond the target;
Keep their finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger
until they are ready to shoot.
Illinois’ most popular hunting season, the seven-day firearm
deer season, begins on Friday through Sunday, Nov. 18-20, and
will conclude on Thursday through Sunday, Dec. 1-4.
The Illinois Firearm Deer Season legal hunting hours are
one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset.
Hunters who take a deer during the firearm season in most
Illinois counties must register the deer they harvest online, or
through a toll-free phone check-in system. The online deer
registration is available through this link:
The toll-free phone deer registration line is 1-866-IL-CHECK
(1-866-452-4325). Hunters registering deer through the online or
phone systems must do so by 10 p.m. on the day they take the
In a number of northern Illinois counties where chronic wasting
disease (CWD) has been detected in deer, hunters are required to
register all deer harvested during firearm season by taking them
to a check station (listed below) between the hours of 8 a.m.
and 8 p.m. Biologists will be present to take CWD samples for
testing at the time of registration. 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 Co. Fairgrounds, 1/2 mi. north of Rt. 76
and Business Rt. 20, Belvidere
- DeKalb: Shabbona Lake State Park, 4201 Shabbona Grove
- Grundy: Gebhard Woods State Park, 401 Ottawa Street,
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- Jo Daviess: Elizabeth Community Building, 210 N. West
St., Elizabeth, IL, 1/2 mi. west of business district on
Hwy. 20, next to the Highland C.C. Elizabeth campus
- Kane: Use Boone, DeKalb, Kendall, or McHenry check station
- Kankakee: Kankakee River State Park Visitor Center, 4 mi.
northwest of Bourbonnais at 5214 W. State Rt. 102
- Kendall: Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area, 4.5
mi. west of Yorkville at 13608 Fox Road
- LaSalle: Buffalo Rock State Park, 3 mi. west of Ottawa
on Dee Bennett Road
- Livingston: Pontiac Sportsman’s Club, northwest of
Livingston Co. Fairgrounds at 18663 4-H Park Road, Pontiac
- McHenry: Moraine Hills State Park McHenry Dam Day Use
Area, east of McHenry on River Rd., 2.2 mi. south of Rt. 120
- Ogle: Castle Rock State Park, Rt. 2, 3 mi. south of
- Stephenson: County Fairgrounds, 1 mi. east of Rt. 26 and
Fairgrounds Rd., Freeport
- Will: Des Plaines Game Propagation Center, east of I-55
at 30550 S. Boathouse Road, Wilmington
- Winnebago: Rock Cut State Park, 6425 Hart Rd., Loves
Park, 0.9 mi. east of N. Perryville Rd. on Hart Rd.
Hunters participating 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 website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/CWD.
For a detailed information sheet on firearm deer hunting in counties
with check stations for chronic wasting disease sampling, go to the
IDNR website at:
In addition to the seven-day Illinois Firearm Deer Season, other
deer hunting seasons in the state include the three-day
Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec. 9-11, and the seven-day split
Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer
Season (in select counties) on Dec. 29, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017 and
January 13-15, 2017. The Illinois Archery Deer Season, which opened
on Oct. 1, is open through Jan. 15, 2017 (except closed in counties
open to Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 18-20 and Dec. 1-4).
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations:
[Illinois Department of Natural