SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (KMOX) – Firearm deer hunting season kicks off this weekend in Illinois and the state’s Department of Natural Resources is urging hunters to make safety a priority.

There were 29 reported hunting accidents last year in Illinois. DNR spokesman Ed Cross says 23 of those involved a hunter falling out of a tree stand.

“We really recommend using a harness to kelp keep yourself secure in your tree stand. You can never be too safe when it comes to that situation and falls do happen every year,” he says.

Cross says the harness should have a fall arrest system and you should check straps before using. Hunters are also advised to keep an eye on the weather, carry a cell phone, wear bright orange and always point a firearm in a safe direction.

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