Hunters and the law

To the editor,

Since we are now in the firearm deer season, perhaps it would be interesting to review some of the laws and regulations with which hunters are already (presumably) familiar.

I paraphrase these from the IDNR publication “Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2009-2010”: (1) Hunters must obtain permission from the landowner before entering his or her land, regardless of whether or not the land is fenced or posted.

(2) Illinois law does not grant the right of trespass for the purpose of retrieving wounded or crippled wildlife or hunting dogs.

(3) It is illegal to hunt within 100 yards of an inhabited dwelling if hunting with a bow and arrow or shotgun, or 300 yards if using a rifle, handgun or deer slugs.

(4) It is illegal to hunt or shoot along, across, or from a public roadway. (5) It is illegal to hunt deer from a motorized vehicle, and (6) to hunt deer at night.

In my experience, all of the above laws, and more besides, are often ignored and the problem increases each year. Sadly, I have seen a growing disregard for these laws in my own neighborhood.

Routinely, summer or winter, local poachers have hunted in my woods, often using our private drive to gain access. Someone has built a permanent deer stand so close to our property line that he can shoot over both sides of the fence.

I have had mangled deer carcasses dumped on my lane; deer have been shot over my fence and left there to rot. I have been frightened by hunters approaching my house; on one occasion, one of them ran towards me, firing a shotgun in the air as he came. There have been more incidents of this kind than I can recount here.

Yesterday, Nov. 27, I found four bow-hunters in my woods who were reluctant to leave. One of them announced that he would leave my property after he had found a lost arrow. Later, standing beside his truck parked on my private road, he offered to let me use his cell phone if I wanted to call the Sheriff.

Because of these and many other unpleasant incidents over the years, I will never give hunters permission to enter my land. At this point, I am wondering if any of the hunting laws are enforced in our area. (Of course one might say that our police have more important work than enforcing hunting laws or property rights.)

Can anyone enlighten me on this? Would it be at all useful to increase the existing fines and penalties for breaking these laws? No threatening phone calls, please.

Sincerely, Loretta Vincent, Cobden

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        The Gazette-Democrat

        112 Lafayette St.
        Anna, Illinois 62906
        Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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