Hunters urged to be safe
By ANN NICCUM, [email protected]
Firearm hunting season in Illinois is just weeks away and the
Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) wants this season to
be a safe one.
Approximately 300,000 hunters will take to the fields and woods to
bag that perfect prize.
But in all the fun, hunting accidents can occur.
In the state of Illinois, there were 30 hunting accidents and two
fatalities in 2006, 31 accidents and two fatalities in 2005 and 33
accidents in 2004.
This season, the IDNR is reminding hunters to be safe and
encouraging them to take a free hunting safety course.
IDNR Acting Director Sam Flood said one way for hunters to keep
safe this season is to take a safety course.
"Enrolling in a hunter safety course and understanding proper
hunting technique is essential to being successful in the field," said
"When hunters take the step to become certified, they're renewing
their commitment to be responsible sportsmen and serve as a positive
role model for young hunters who are following in their footsteps."
In fact, the IDNR offers free hunting safety courses to the public
at various locations throughout the state.
The classes are taught by volunteer safety instructors and include:
instruction on hunting regulations, hunter ethics and responsibility,
archery, firearms, ammunition, first aid, wildlife identification and
There is a minimum of 10 hours of instruction.
IDNR Office of Law Enforcement Director Rafael Gutierrez said the
classes can help prevent accidents from occurring.
"Most hunting accidents can be prevented if hunters act smart and
responsibly -- that includes completing a hunting safety course and
having a good understanding of the hunting regulations," said
"With nearly 300,000 hunters planning to be in the field this
season, following these simple steps can help ensure this hunting
season is a safe and enjoyable one," he said.
Last year, of the 30 hunting-related accidents two were fatal.
Accidents included: 14 Class A accidents involving the discharge of
a hunting device and 16 injuries caused by either falling out of a
tree stand or climbing a tree to get into or out of a tree stand.
IDNR Safety Education Administrator Jeff Hopkins said safety
measures can prevent these injuries and accidents.
"IDNR safety instructors encourage hunters to always use a full
body safety harness when installing or using a tree stand. Hunters
should also make sure their tree stand is installed properly and that
they use a haul line to raise an unloaded firearm or bow into a
stand," said Hopkins.
According to Illinois state law, a hunter safety course is required
for those born on or after Jan. 1, 1980.
Participants must complete the course and pass the final exam
before they are awarded a certificate of competency.
An estimated 17,000 students completed the course in 2006.
For more information on hunter safety education courses and the
complete schedule of IDNR safety education programs, call
1-800-832-2599 or go to the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/lands/education/safety/index.htm.
ŠEdwardsville Intelligencer 2007