JACKSON COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Shotgun deer season officially kicks off in Illinois starting Nov. 18.
No matter if your an expert hunter or a first timer there are some important things to know and remember.
Kris Taylor, a Sargent with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said there are three major things to look at before you head out into the woods.
Tree Stand Safety
Taylor says there are three common types of stands.
- Ladder Stand
- Hanging Stand
- Climbing Stand
"We want people to be aware when they go out to be looking for safety," Taylor said. "We don't want any accidents this year."
He says it's important to make sure your stand is structurally sound. Look at the body of the stand, it's hinges, and cords.
"Make sure there's no cracks in the frame, that one of the cables are frayed," Taylor said.
Taylor says the biggest consideration to have is with the straps of the device.
"A lot of times they're using webbing straps, or ratchet type straps, and those will fail if they use them over consecutive years," Taylor said. "Especially if they leave them out in the woods."
He said if the straps fail a hunter could be hurt by falling out of the tree.
Check your Safety Harness
Taylor says some of the newer harnesses on the market have the ability to lower a hunter slowly to the ground in case of an emergency.
"It has a descending package built into it," Taylor said. "So if a person does fall out of a tree they are able to lower themselves safely to the ground."
He says some of the other types will not do that, so it's important to know the features of your harness.
"In those cases, when attaching the safety harness to the tree hunters need to remember to attach the safety point above their stand itself."
That way if a hunter were to fall they do not fall below their tree stand.
Taylor says it's important to have a cell phone with you at all times, because if you do fall below your tree stand, you could be left hanging for an extended amount of time.
"Sitting there hanging it could cause some damage to the lower extremities if they hang there too long, and that's what we want to avoid," Taylor said.
Wear your Safety Gear
Fashion should not be a concern for any hunter, unless you love orange, because you should be wearing a lot of it.
"They have to wear 400 sq. inches of blaze orange," Taylor said.
That's not an option. Taylor says it's the law in Illinois.
Typically you can wear a standard hunting vest, and baseball style cap in the blaze orange color.
"A hat can have a decal on the front, but it can not be made up of orange camouflage that you may see out there sometimes in the stores, as well as the vest," Taylor said. "It needs to be so they can see you at all times."
Taylor says more than anything the Department of Natural Resources wants people to be safe while they're out there in the woods hunting, and enjoy themselves.