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Ample hunting opportunities prompt safety-tip reminders

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is offering safety tips as hunters head for the field this fall and winter.

Illinois provides ample opportunity for hunters in the coming months, with seasons for fall and winter waterfowl, upland game, fur-bearer and deer, both firearm and archery.

IDNR said it has investigated seven hunting incidents already in 2020, compared with 20 in 2019. Half of last year’s incidents involved elevated tree stands.

Agency safety education administrator Jeff Hopkins said “fall arrest system” safety harnesses should always be used with tree stands. Safety guidelines include making sure the stand is installed correctly and examining the harness and straps for wear and the ladder for working order.

Safety educators and state conservation police also stress the importance of firearm safety. That includes always assuming a firearm is loaded, always pointing it in a safe direction, making sure that beyond the target there are no other hunters, buildings vehicles or other animals and keeping the finger outside the trigger guard and off the trigger until ready to shoot.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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