First firearm deer season set in Illinois
The first firearm deer season for 2020 in Illinois is set for Nov. 20, 21 and 22.
The second firearm deer season is scheduled Dec. 3, 4, 5 and 6.
Muzzleloader-only deer season is set for Dec. 11, 12 and 13.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources, IDNR, notes that hunters may also use a muzzleloader permit with a muzzleloading rifle during the second firearm season in early December.
IDNR encourages all hunters to think safety before, during and after their time in the field.
When utilizing a tree stand, IDNR said hunters should check that their stand is installed properly.
Hunters should check the harness and straps and replace worn straps if needed...and check the ladder and other equipment before they hunt to make sure they are in working order.
Hunters also need to be mindful of weather conditions that could make stands and steps slippery, and they should have a cellphone within easy reach to call for help, if needed.
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.
Other safety considerations include ensuring heating sources are properly ventilated in hunting cabins and boats, wearing appropriate, high visibility clothing while hunting (including blaze orange or blaze pink when required), and being familiar with the area being hunted.
The Illinois archery deer season opened Oct. 1 and continues through Jan. 17, 2021.
Archery deer season is closed during the firearm deer weekends except in those counties where firearm deer hunting is not permitted.
IDNR also has announced changes to 2020-2021 deer hunting procedures at state sites.
The changes, health and safety protocols implemented in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, will provide greater protection to both the hunting public and site staff during the season.
IDNR said that hunters should follow all public health guidelines issued by the Illinois Department of Public Health, including wearing masks when social distancing cannot be achieved and refraining from congregating in parking lot areas.
Through responsible actions, hunters can help ensure that site hunting programs continue to offer Illinoisans healthy outdoor recreation opportunities, IDNR advised.