The opening of the squirrel hunting season in Illinois is another opportunity to spend time together outdoors

August 1 is the start of the Illinois squirrel hunting season. Hunters can hunt squirrels from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. | Photo by Matt Schuckman

QUINCY — Jeff Remington’s 6-year-old son, Noah, noticed the gun case leaning against the cabinet near the garage door and was instantly curious.

“Is it time to go hunting?” she asked.

Not yet, but it was time to gear up, which is why the Ruger .22 rifle was in the hard travel case. Remington made plans to meet a friend at his property in north Adams County so they could aim his rifles, and Noah hoped he could tag along.

“I want to teach him all about the outdoors,” Remington said. “Learning to hunt is not just about hunting. It’s all about preparing and taking care of your equipment and your crops afterwards. So of course I would take it with me.”

They stopped to pick up some needed supplies (coffee, milk, and donuts) and then drove 25 minutes to their friend’s farm.

It was then that the avalanche of questions began.

“Why aren’t we hunting today?” Noah asked.

Hunting season hasn’t opened yet, was the reply.

“Why not?” Noah asked.

There are certain days set aside to hunt different animals. You have to hunt within those time frames.

“So what can we hunt right now?” Noah asked.

Swim until August 1 when Illinois chipmunk season opens.

“Can we kill squirrels?” Noah asked emphatically.

His dad told him that once the season starts they will go squirrel hunting together.

That day has finally come.

Monday is the unofficial start of hunting season. The frog hunt began a month ago, but the start of squirrel season means the opportunity to hunt and harvest larger animals is upon us. September 1 marks the beginning of pigeon season with deer archery season on October 1 and duck season later that month.

Squirrel hunting regulations allow harvesting to take place from half an hour before sunrise to half an hour after sunset. The daily limit is five squirrels and the possession limit is 10.

“I really want to go duck and deer hunting,” Remington said. “But taking Noah squirrel hunting is easier. We take a walk in the woods and there is less stress and fewer worries. It’s a good way to teach him about safety and ethical practices.

“More than anything, it’s a great way to spend time together. Isn’t that the best lesson we can teach our children, take advantage of the time we spend together and not let those moments slip away?

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