Deer hunting shotgun season kicks off today in Illinois. Hunters should remember a couple of things so that everyone stays safe and plays fair.
Illinois DNR officers say first; always think twice before you fire a shot. "If you're setting up stands on your property, make sure you know what you're shooting at," says Sergeant Tony Petreikis, Conservation Police Officer. "That bullet or slug rather is not going to travel beyond the deer you're shooting at and hit something else."
As far as injuries go, Illinois DNR says falling out of the tree stand is becoming an even bigger problem.
"Probably the most common accident," Petreikis adds. "People getting injured because they climb in and out of the tree stand and they don't have a safety harness on or while they're in the stand they don't have a harness on."
DNR officials say a harness and little movement are your best bet to stay safe and avoid any spinal injury.
Officers say it's also important to remember some of the rules so you don't get fined. The biggest rule violation: tags on bucks even if you didn't shoot it. That means one person could shoot several deer while marking them as separate kills for a number of individuals.
Illinois DNR says party hunting is a big problem and they're seeing tags for wives and grandmothers saying they shot the deer. Also, remember that you can't leave any bait out for the deer.
Officers say while it may seem like a lot of rules, it's all meant to keep the game fair and safe.
"We try to protect people from other people," Petreikis adds. "We try to protect the resources from being over harvested and then the other thing we want to keep it fair for everyone."
Deer hunting runs through this Sunday and hunters can begin a half hour before sunrise and must end a half hour after sunset.
If you can't make it out this weekend, shotgun deer hunting season continues on November 29th through December 2nd.
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