“This is prime time for hunting in Illinois, and the best way to
enjoy an autumn or winter day in the field, in a blind, or in a
tree stand is to make sure you’re hunting safely,” said Illinois
Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Wayne Rosenthal.
The IDNR Office of Law Enforcement, which administers the
Illinois Hunter Safety Education Program, reports there were 29
hunting incidents last year during all seasons, and 23 of those
incidents involved hunters falling from elevated tree stands, or
falling while climbing into or out of tree stands.
Hunters using tree stands are reminded 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.
As additional precautions for hunting from elevated stands,
hunters should check the harness, straps, ladder and other
equipment to make sure they are in good working order. Hunters
are also advised to always be aware of weather conditions that
could make stands and steps slippery, and to have a mobile phone
within reach 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
• Keep their finger out of the trigger guard and off the trigger
until they are ready to shoot.
Illinois’ most popular hunting season, the split seven-day
Firearm Deer Season, begins on Friday through Sunday, Nov.
17-19, and concludes on Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 30-Dec. 3.
Legal hunting hours on those days 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 the toll-free phone check-in system. A link to the
online deer registration system is available here:
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 many 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 Co. Fairgrounds,
1/2 mi. north of Rt. 76 and Business Rt. 20,
Shabbona Lake State Park,
4201 Shabbona Grove Rd.,
Gebhard Woods State Park,
401 Ottawa Street,
Elizabeth Community Building,
210 N. West St.,
1/2 mi. west of business district on Hwy. 20, next to the
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Use Boone, DeKalb, Kendall, or McHenry check station
Kankakee River State Park Visitor Center,
4 mi. northwest of Bourbonnais at 5214 W. State Rt. 102
Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area,
4.5 mi. west of Yorkville at 13608 Fox Road
Buffalo Rock State Park,
3 mi. west of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road
Pontiac Sportsman’s Club,
northwest of Livingston Co. Fairgrounds at 18663 4-H Park Road,
Pontiac (just west of I-55)
Moraine Hills State Park
McHenry Dam Day Use Area,
east of McHenry on River Rd.,
2.2 mi. south of Rt. 120
Castle Rock State Park,
3 mi. south of Oregon, IL
1 mi. east of Rt. 26 and Fairgrounds Rd.,
Plaines Game Propagation Center,
east of I-55 at 30550 S. Boathouse Road,
Rock Cut State Park,
6425 Hart Rd.,
Loves Park, 0.9 mi. east of N. Perryville Rd. on Hart Rd.
Hunters participating in 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:
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. 8-10, and the seven-day
split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and
Special CWD Deer Season (in select counties) on Dec. 28-31, 2017
and January 12-14, 2018. The Illinois Archery Deer Season, which
opened on Oct. 1, is open through Jan. 14, 2018 (except closed
in counties open to Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 17-19 and Nov.
For more information on Illinois deer hunting regulations, check
the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations
[Illinois Department of Natural