Illinois hunters gear up for Firearm Deer Season - – Rockford’s News Leader

Illinois hunters gear up for Firearm Deer Season

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Illinois Firearm Deer Season begins Friday, November 22, and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources has several tips for hunters who plan on participating.

The seven-day season runs Friday through Sunday, November 24 and concludes on Thursday, December 5 through Sunday, December 8. The legal hunting hours are a half hour before sunrise to a half hour after sunset.

If a hunter successfully takes a deer, they must register that harvest by 10:00 p.m. on the day they take the deer either online ( or by calling 1-866-IL-CHECK (1-866-452-4325).

In local counties, hunters must register all harvested deer at county check stations between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. They can have their deer checked for Chronic Wasting Disease there as well. The locations of the check stations are as follows:

  • Boone: Boone Co. Fairgrounds - Half mile north of Route 76 and Business Route 20 in Belvidere
  • DeKalb: Shabbona Lake State Park - 4201 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona
  • Grundy: Gebhard Woods State Park/I & M Canal Trail - 401 Ottawa Street, Morris
  • Jo Daviess: Elizabeth Community Building - 210 North West Street, Elizabeth
  • Kane: Shabbona Lake State Park - 4201 Shabbona Grove Road, Shabbona
  • LaSalle: Buffalo Rock State Park - 3 miles west of Ottawa on Dee Bennett Road
  • McHenry: Moraine Hills State Park, McHenry Dam Day Use Area - East of McHenry on River Road, 2.2 miles south of Route 120
  • Ogle: Castle Rock State Park - Route 2, 3 miles south of Oregon
  • Stephenson: Stephenson County Fairgrounds, 1 mile east of Route 26 and Fairgrounds Road, Freeport
  • Winnebago: Rock Cut State Park - Loves Park, Route 173 entrance

Successful hunters can also donate their harvest to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, which takes whole deer, processes them into venison, and then donates the meat to local food banks, food pantries, and other charities. You can find more information on that program at

While hunting, it's important to stay safe. There were 26 hunting incidents reported in Illinois last year, three of which were fatal. So far this year, there have been 14 incidents. The IDNR recommends the following tips:

  • Hunters in tree stands should make sure to use a full body safety harness, or Fall Arrest System
  • Treat every firearm as if it were loaded and never assume one is unloaded
  • Always point the firearm in a safe direction
  • Be sure of your target and make sure there are no other hunters, homes, buildings, vehicles, or other animals beyond your target
  • Keep your finger off the trigger and out of the trigger guard until you're ready to fire

Illinois Conservation Police Officer Dennis Frichtl says along with the safety harness, a tether could save a hunter from a serious fall: "If they use that full harness safety system, in conjunction with a tether, which keeps them connected to a line while they ascend, hunt, and descend the stand, it increases the effectiveness of that safety harness."

For more information on deer hunting regulations, visit

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