Hunting Accident File > Safe Hunting?: > 2007

IL - Lots of hunting accidents in the past three years

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 Flood.

"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 conservation.

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 Gutierrez.

"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

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