The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

November 18, 2012

Hunters should focus on safety during the hunt

BY SAM VAN CAMP
Commercial-News

DANVILLE — With the first segment of the firearm deer season ending today, hunters might review safety measures while they are in the field during the rest of the deer hunting season be it firearm or archery.

Illinois law requires that anyone born on or after Jan. 1, 1980, must successfully complete a hunter safety course before a regular Illinois hunting license is issued.

The No. 1 cause of hunting incidents in Illinois is falling from a tree stand. Of the 14 hunting-related incidents reported in 2011 that did not involve discharge of a firearm or bow, 13 of them were tree stand falls. We have had it happen here in Vermilion County more times than one would think.

When using a tree stand, remember the following:

Check ladder stands before climbing to make sure they are secure.

Wear a Full Arrest System/Full Body Safety Harness when leaving the ground until returning to the ground from the tree stand.

Use a haul line to raise and lower your equipment and unloaded firearm or bow before attempting to get it in or out of your tree stand.

When hunting with a firearm, sportsmen should remember three primary rules of firearm safety:

Know your target and what is beyond your target.

Point the muzzle in a safe direction.

Treat every firearm as if it were loaded.

Other upcoming firearm hunting seasons in Illinois include the second firearm season Nov. 29 – Dec. 2, the three-day Muzzleloader-only Deer Season on Dec.r 7-9, and the seven-day split Late-Winter Firearm Antlerless-only Deer Season and Special CWD Deer Season on Dec. 27-30 and Jan. 18-20.

Hunters are reminded that 10 fewer counties will be open for the Late-Winter season in 2012-13 (see map at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Documents/LateWinterDeerSeasonMap.pdf).

Hunters successful in taking a deer during the firearm season in most counties must register the deer they harvest online through the IDNR website at http://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/HarvestReporting.aspx or by telephone at 1-866-IL-CHECK (1-866-452-4325).

Hunters using the online or phone-in system must register their harvest by 10 p.m. on the day they take the deer. It is recommended that hunters using cellular phones to register their harvest wait until they are out of the field and have a clear cell phone signal before attempting to make the harvest report phone call.

Sam Van Camp writes about the outdoors on Fridays and Sundays. Call him at 662-6559. Fax: 446-6648. E-mail: pamnsam@nwcable.net