ILLINOIS (IRN) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is promoting hunting safety this season with a reminder that the most common safety issues do not involve firearms.
As hunting season begins in Illinois, the department spokeswoman Rachael Torbert said the most common cause of hunting accidents in Illinois involve tree stands. Last year, 19 hunting accidents were reported in all hunting seasons in Illinois. Fourteen of those involved tree stands.
Torbert said that just because a tree stand was secure last season “doesn’t mean it is secure now.”
“Make sure you check that before you go out,” she said.
IDNR Volunteer Services Coordinator Hannah Brewer said hunters who use tree stands should use a fall arrest system.
“With most accidents that occur with tree stands, we see that people are not using their fall arrest system,” she said.
Firearm deer season begins the weekend before Thanksgiving. Brewer said that as hunters head out for firearm season it is also important to remember some basic gun safety tips.
“Treat every firearm as if it is loaded, so never assume that a firearm is unloaded,” she said.
She also said to make sure to always keep a firearm pointed in a safe direction.
The IDNR also recommended that hunters ensure heating sources are properly ventilated in hunting cabins and boats, wear appropriate high-visibility clothing while hunting and be familiar with the area where they will be hunting.
The busiest hunting season in Illinois is the seven-day firearm deer season, according to the IDNR. That season begins Nov. 22 to Nov. 24, and will conclude Dec. 5 to Dec. 8.
The Illinois Archery Deer Season opened on Oct. 1 and continues through Jan. 19, 2020. Archery deer season is closed during the firearm deer weekends except in those counties where firearm deer hunting is not permitted.