Message from IDNR Director Colleen Callahan
Special to The Source Newspaper
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Director Colleen Callahan has a message for the public.
The fall always marks the busiest time of year for hunters in Illinois. With archery deer and turkey seasons underway and firearm deer and turkey, waterfowl and upland hunting on the way, now is a good time to remind everyone of the importance of making safety a priority while hunting this fall. Illinois Conservation Police officers are in the field throughout the year, and they will be out this fall enforcing hunting regulations and working to ensure the safety of hunters.
Last year in Illinois, there were 20 reported hunting-related incidents, two of which resulted in fatalities. Ten of the reported incidents involved injuries resulting from discharge of a hunting device — three involving firearms and the other seven involving archery equipment. Incidents like those serve to remind hunters and all of us how important it is to properly transport and handle firearms, and how crucial it is for hunters to identify a target before firing.
Thirteen of last year’s hunting incidents involved elevated tree stands and blinds. While hunting from a tree stand is popular, preventable incidents occur every year while hunters are installing their tree stands, climbing into or out of them, or sitting in them. Hunters who plan to use a tree stand should always inspect the stand thoroughly and follow manufacturers’ instructions for installation and use.
Illinois Department of Natural Resources Safety Education staff also remind hunters to use a Fall Arrest System/Full Body Harness (FAS/FBH) when using a tree stand. They can save your life. In 12 of last year’s reported hunting incidents, conservation police noted in their reports that no Fall Arrest System was in use. For information on tree stand safety, take the free online course at https:// www.huntercourse.com/treestandsafety/.
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources takes hunter safety very seriously. We offer hunter education courses, available throughout the year, taught by certified safety instructors who volunteer their time providing information and demonstrations on safe, proper hunting practices. Online courses are also available.
For more information on hunter safety in Illinois, contact IDNR Safety Education at 1-800-832-2599 or visit IDNR’s safety education page at dnr.illinois.gov.