State stresses safety in second season
SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) is hopeful for a successful harvest among hunters who have permits for the second firearm deer season which begins today and runs through December 2. IDNR is also reminding hunters to continue to exercise caution while in the field after a fairly safe first season (Nov. 16-18).
“Hunters in Illinois enjoyed a relatively safe opening weekend to the firearm deer season by being prepared and using caution while in the field,” said Acting IDNR Director Sam Flood. “While two hunters unfortunately passed away from natural causes in the field, there were no reported fatalities involving hunting accidents during the first season. The safer people are the more enjoyable it is for everyone.”
Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 85,490 deer during the opening weekend with good weather through out much of Illinois. The top five harvesting counties were Pike (2,610), Adams (2,140), JoDaviess (2,055), Fulton (2,003), and Jefferson (1,997).
Weather for the second season could be hit or miss after today with widespread rain forecasted for Saturday and Sunday. Highs are expected to be in the 40s and lows in the 30s. There is a chance for some snow and freezing rain at times but the dominant feature will be the rain.
IDNR reminds all hunters in the seven northern Illinois counties participating in CWD testing that mandatory check stations will be open during the second season. In addition, because of the discovery of CWD in LaSalle County near the Grundy County line this past summer, a new voluntary check station is open for the firearm season this year in Seneca for registering and sampling deer taken by hunters in LaSalle and Grundy Counties. While the LaSalle/Grundy check station is not mandatory (hunters may choose to report harvest from those counties using the automated system), hunters are encouraged to bring their LaSalle/Grundy deer to this check station to allow them to be tested for CWD.
The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 7-9. The Late-Winter Antlerless-only firearm deer season and the Special CWD deer season are Jan. 18-20, 2008. The state’s 2007-08 archery deer season continues through Jan. 17 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season Nov. 29-Dec. 2).