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This weekend kicks off the firearms hunting season in Illinois.

As hunters head out for what is most likely the busiest of the hunting seasons, there are several things for hunters to be aware of. Officer Ray Wichus with the Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police reminds hunters to always abide by the laws with their guns. He also reminds not just hunters, who are required to wear bright colored clothing when hunting, but also those out in rural areas to wear bright colored clothing as a safety precaution, even if they do not believe hunters are out in the area.

[audio:1hunt1.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

This is may be the busiest weekend for DNR CPO's. Officer Wichus says his officers will be out in full force this weekend making sure hunters are complying with the laws. He says most hunters understand and abide by the laws, but with thousands of hunters out there, he understands not everyone will be obeying the rules.

[audio:1hunt2.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

Wichus reminds hunters it is their responsibility to know where they are in relation to private property. Property markings currently are well marked, making it fairly obvious to hunters when they are or are not on private property, which is one area focus for DNR Officers this weekend.

[audio:1hunt3.mp3]A Word From Officer Wichus[/audio]

Wichus says his officers will also be focusing on gun safety. During routine checks, officers will be making sure guns are not loaded and put away properly. He adds they will be focusing on hunters shining on the deer after dark.  The legal hunting hours for the firearm deer season are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The seven-day firearm hunt will conclude December 1-4.

Hunters in Illinois harvested 98,944 deer during the seven-day firearm deer hunting season in 2010. So far this season, more than 327,000 permits have been issued.

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