Officials trying to clear up firearm-deer confusion

By Gary Scott on November 30, 2015 at 7:14am

As the firearm deer hunting season resumes in Illinois this upcoming weekend, Department of Natural Resources officials are reminding hunters how the new concealed carry laws apply when you are hunting.

John Williamson is a Department of Natural Resources Conservation Police officer in central Illinois. He explains all wildlife laws supersede the conceal carry laws in Illinois.

“You need to make sure that the gun that you are carrying is legal for what you’re hunting. If you are archery deer-hunting, you cannot have a firearm in your possession, concealed-carry permit or not. You are now violating the wildlife code if you have a firearm in your possession,” he says.

Williamson says they have received a lot of questions about carry a firearm on an ATV while hunting and Williamson indicates carrying on an all terrain vehicle is also illegal.

“[We had] a guy talking about, once he gets back to his four-wheeler, can he put his conceal-carry gun back in, and [the answer is] no, you cannot. It’s your roadway vehicle, so if you get back to your car, say you’re going back for lunch, you get on a four-wheeler, you can’t, but once you get in your vehicle, you’re gonna go back on the roadway, that sort of thing, then you can have your concealed-carry weapon,” explains Williamson.

“It is confusing, but it’s things you gotta go through.”

There is special information on how the wildlife code and the conceal carry codes work in Illinois. Williamson indicates that in pamphlet form that can be obtained through any DNR regional office. He encourages all hunters to review that before taking their registered firearms out with them.

Hunters in Morgan County bagged 525 deer in November, compared to 466 in 2014. Scott County had 276 compared to 225 last year; Cass County saw 490 over 410 last year. Greene County hunters were able to get 770 deer, up from 633 last year.

Information from the RFD Radio Network was used in this story.