SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Deer hunters are gearing up for Illinois’ most popular hunting season – the seven-day firearm deer hunting season scheduled for Nov. 19-21 and Dec. 2-5.

“Interest in deer hunting in Illinois appears to be at an all-time high and we appreciate the support of hunters participating in our deer seasons,” said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Joel Brunsvold. “Hunters play a crucial role in our deer management program and we wish them a safe and successful season.”

Again this year, hunters with permits for the firearm season may use shotguns, muzzleloading rifles and handguns to harvest deer. For the first time this year, permits were issued for firearm deer hunting in the portion of Kane County west of Illinois Rt. 47. Hunters harvesting deer in Kane County should take their deer to a check station in an adjacent county, as no check station will be available in Kane County for the firearm season.

Hunters who harvest deer in 31 select counties are encouraged to participate in the voluntary sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD) that will be conducted at those counties’ check stations (see list below). The IDNR, in cooperation with the Illinois Department of Agriculture, will collect and test more than 5,000 tissue samples from deer as part of the state’s ongoing CWD surveillance program.

New cases detected during and following last year’s deer hunting seasons in Illinois brought to 65 the total number of CWD cases found in the state since the first was discovered in Illinois deer in Boone County in November 2002. All of the CWD cases found in Illinois to date are from wild deer taken by hunters and wildlife personnel in Boone, DeKalb, McHenry and Winnebago counties in northern Illinois.

Illinois has conducted increased surveillance for the disease since the discovery of CWD-infected deer in neighboring Wisconsin during the 2001-2002 season. Chronic wasting disease is a fatal neurological disease found in deer and elk that has been diagnosed in both wild and captive herds in western states for many years. CWD is not known to be contagious to people or livestock.

In Illinois, the 65 deer found positive for chronic wasting disease are from more than 10,000 animals tested. All samples were taken from deer harvested by hunters throughout the state – and from deer taken by personnel from the IDNR, U.S. Department of Agriculture and local agencies in northern Illinois. The sampling results include 34 deer that tested positive for CWD in Boone County, 23 in Winnebago County, and four each in DeKalb and McHenry counties.

County check stations at which CWD sampling will occur during the 2004 firearm deer hunting season:

    Boone – Boone County Fairgrounds, Belvidere Cass – CCMI Warehouse, Rt. 78 and125, Virginia Coles – IDNR Office, Rt 16 west of Charleston DeKalb – Shabbona Lake State Park Edgar – Paris Police Dept. Firearms Range Edwards – Farmer’s Packing near Albion Gallatin – Patton’s Truck Stop, Rt. 1 and 13 near Junction, IL Grundy – Gebhard Woods State Park west of Morris Hamilton – Hamilton County Conservation Area near McLeansboro Henderson – Vancil’s Locker Service, Stronghurst Henry – Johnson Sauk Trail State Park near Kewanee Jersey – Sheriff’s Dept., Jerseyville Jo Daviess – Elizabeth Community Building, Elizabeth Kendall – Silver Springs State Park, Yorkville Lee – Lilja Tiling Co., Amboy Livingston – Pontiac Sportsman’s Club, Pontiac Logan – Edward Madigan State Park, Lincoln Marshall – Marshall State Fish and Wildlife Area, Kinmundy Mason – Havana Fisheries Headquarters, Havana Massac – Veaches Service Station, U.S. 45 and 145, Metropolis McDonough – Argyle Lake State Park, Colchester McHenry – Sportsman’s Choice, Rt. 14 and 47, Woodstock Menard – New Salem Station, Rt. 97 south of Petersburg Ogle – Castle Rock State Park, Oregon Putnam – Putnam County Natural Lands Area, McNabb Saline – Strictly Outdoors, Harrisburg Scott – Little Oil Co., Winchester Stephenson – Tri-Lake Sporting Goods, Rt. 20 and 73 south of Lena Wabash – Beall Woods State Park, Rt. 1 south of Mt. Carmel Warren – Monmouth Grain and Dryer, Monmouth Winnebago – Rockford Speedway, Rt 173 at Forest Hills

The primary sampling in the 31 counties will be conducted during the first segment of the firearm deer season, Nov. 19-21. Sampling will also be conducted at check stations in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties during the second segment of the firearm deer season, Dec. 2-5.

For more information on state deer hunting regulations, check the 2004-2005 Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations or the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/admin/systems/Digest/index.htm.

For more information about chronic wasting disease, check the IDNR web site at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/programs/CWD/Pages/default.aspx.