Illinois lawmakers vote to advance bill to extend state’s firearm deer season

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(The Center Square) – Illinois lawmakers want to give deer hunters one more day to bag that prized buck. 

House Bill 3344 passed from a committee Monday. It would require the state’s various opening deer hunting seasons to be expanded to four days, an extra day from the current firearm season window.

“It’s been brought up to me many times,” said State Rep. Andrew Chesney, R-Freeport, who sponsors the bill. “It would also be a little closer to the rut,” he said, referencing deer mating season when bucks are more active.

Chesney said it’s likely to help mitigate the spread of another affliction the state has been struggling with; chronic wasting disease. 

“We spend over a million dollars to test deer to try to combat waste disease,” he said. “The more deer harvest that we can have to try and give these hunters who are still paying their permit fees, it’s a better practice and will be welcome by anybody who likes to enjoy deer hunting.”

The measure passed unanimously and now needs a vote on the House Floor before being considered in the Illinois Senate. 

In Illinois, archery season begins in October and lasts through Mid-January. The four-day provision would be for the state’s firearm season, which was Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 3-6 in 2020.

He told the House Agriculture and Conservation Committee that the Illinois Department of Natural Resources would likely add the extra day to the beginning of the first season since the weather would likely be more hospitable.

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