New laws allow hunters to wear blaze pink, stiffen penalties for poaching

Illinois is giving hunters a new color option and getting tough on deer poachers.

Illinois is giving hunters a new color option and getting tough on deer poachers.

A new law requires poachers who illegally kill or capture whitetail antlered deer in Illinois to pay restitution to the Department of Natural Resources. Gov. Rauner signed House Bill 5317 which takes effect immediately and fines poachers $1,000 plus $500 to $750 per antler point depending on the number of points. The fine is an additional $500 per antler point for deer with 8 to 10 points. The restitution jumps to $750 per point for deer with 11 or more antler points.

Ed Cross with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources said poaching is a problem.

“Poaching is taking a deer illegally whether that be shooting one without a tag, shooting one without a license, shooting one out of season, shooting one over bait,” he said. “Certainly poaching is something that our conservation police take very serious and this law will hopefully serve as a deterrent for those who would be poachers.”

Another bill is designed to increase both safety and clothing options for hunters in Illinois.

House Bill 4231 allows Illinois hunters to wear fluorescent pink as an alternative to blaze orange. While the color may be different, there are certain caveats.  

“If you were to purchase a blaze pink hunting vest or hunting jacket or hunting parka, it has to be a solid 400 inches,” Cross said. “It can’t be a combination of camo and pink.”

One of the reasons the bill’s sponsors chose pink was research showing it stands out from trees that turn orange in the fall.  

“Sometimes they can be a bright orange, so this is another way to provide a safe opportunity for hunters and blaze pink will help stand out and will keep hunters safe,” Cross said.

Hunters can wear blaze-pink starting Jan. 1. Other states including Wisconsin, Colorado, New York and Minnesota also allow blaze pink.

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