Tuesday, January 31st, 2023
Tuesday, January 31st, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

Those in the know knew: rifle hunting was allowed in late season

Apparently using rifles to hunt deer was allowed in counties that were open to the 2023 late winter and CWD special seasons.

If you knew, you knew.

Hunters who spent weeks monitoring the media or the DNR website were left in the dark as Jan. 1 came and went with no word on pending administrative rules that would allow single-shot rifles during the two weekends of hunting this month.

Even on Jan. 15, the last day of the deer season, on DNR’s website – under the “Deer” tab and at the top of the main page – this is what was found: “Effective January 1, 2023, a new Illinois law will allow hunters to use centerfire, single-shot rifles in certain calibers for deer hunting. Administrative rules are still being developed to accommodate the new law. For additional information, please review the following list of frequently asked questions and answers.”

THOSE LISTS OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS provide no insight, either, so it was assumed by most that rifle hunting would have to wait until next season.

But I discovered on Jan. 17 that the Illinois Conservation Police Facebook page had, without fanfare, posted the following on Dec. 28: “Administrative Rules pertaining to deer hunting with single shot rifles have now been approved. During the January 1, 2023, and January 13-15, 2023 portions of late winter and CWD seasons, in counties open to those seasons, licensed hunters with a current, valid firearm deer permit, youth deer hunt permit, CWD season deer permit, or late winter season deer permit may use single shot rifles and ammunition meeting the requirements provided in the Public Act.”

The Dec. 28 post provided several links to “more information” about the seasons – none of which led to any announcement that the administrative rules had been approved or that rifles could be used to hunt during the two late-season weekends.

The main DNR Facebook page shared the Illinois Conservation Police post. Other than that, there was not a hint.

My suspicion is that DNR purposefully kept the rifle hunting news low-key. Under the radar, you might say. The rules were passed late in the game. And the weapon and ammo restrictions in the new rifle law have caused much confusion among hunters. Suddenly swinging open the doors to rifle use may have added even more confusion. It actually makes sense to me.

All that aside, this seems like a good time and place to ask, “Did anybody kill a deer using a rifle?” I’d like to know.

SPEAKING OF “I’D LIKE TO KNOW,” we are again seeking nominations for the Illinois “Outdoor Person of the Year.”

Once a year, we ask you and the rest of our readers to help us select an honoree. The people who’ve been spotlighted in past years have come from a variety of backgrounds and had a variety of interests, but they all had one thing in common: they each made an effort to promote, educate or enhance the state’s outdoors. There are no specific requirements. We’re just looking for those who have made a difference. I’m asking you to nominate someone in the state who you feel fits the bill. You can email me at the address below or lick a stamp and send to P.O. Box 216, Sparta, Il. 62286.

The deadline is March 1.


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