Bow season begins this Friday, experts remind hunters what to have on hand

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Hunters across the Prairie State are getting prepared for Oct. 1, the start of Illinois’ deer archery season.

Before heading into the field, conservation police officer Isaac Gerard wants to remind hunters to follow regulations while searching for their game.

“Immediately tag or put the permit on the deer that you’ve harvested. [It’s] required to immediately place that tag on prior to field dressing, prior to leaving the field. We see a lot of noncompliance with that and that’s something we’re kind of pushing to get more people in compliance,” said Gerard.

This also includes having the correct licenses, habitat stamps, and deer and archery permits.

“We see a lot of trespassing issues [and] neighborly disputes about deer that are harvested and run on to the neighbor’s property,” said Gerard.

Once tags and permits are secured, supplies are next.

Merle Keefer, owner of the Pekin Bass and Bow and a former deer hunter himself, said while they’ve been busy with repairs and selling gear, they’re running into a problem.

“It has been really good. The biggest problem we’re having is product shortage. We’ve had several products that we won’t get for four to five months and bow season is going to be over,” said Keefer.

Despite how busy it gets leading up to the new season, both Keefer and Gerard know hunters are excited.

“With the cool temperatures we had last week, 50 something degrees in the mornings, we started to see people get amped up about going out. [There’s] a lot more scouting going on [as] people on state lands look for the appropriate place to set a stand,” said Gerard. “They are ready. We have had good reports so far. We’ve had some of the hunters with their cameras out, and they’re showing us some nice pictures.”

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