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Ride-Along With a Conservation Officer During Shotgun Season
Firearm deer season actually begins 30 minutes before sunrise, which is when most conservation officers start their day.
But the real activity doesn't pick up for an hour or two later, when the hunters start coming out of the woods.
"We'll look for hunters," conservation officer Kevin Bettis said. "And we tend to, unless we have a violation that occurs, we don't like going in and ruining a hunter's hunt that day. If I see a hunter coming out of the field, we'll go up and we'll check and make sure they have their permits and licenses."
They also check for the required blaze orange gear and to make sure their shotgun's magazine doesn't hold more than two rounds.
This is the first time Brian Atterberry has ever been checked.
"Fine with me," Atterberry said. "I'm not doing anything illegal, so I'm not worried about it."
Some hunters are appreciative that the officers keep everyone operating within the law.
"I like it," Bill Bates said. "It keeps the people that are trespassing off your property, and it keeps everybody honest."
These guys don't necessarily crack down hard, even when they find some violations with hunters' paperwork.
"I issued them some warnings and gave them the proper documentation, and hunters' digest, items like that," Kevin Bettis said. "So they can prepare themselves in the future. They had a nice little buck, made sure they know the rules and regulations and made sure it was tagged properly."
And sometimes they even have to help settle arguments.
The Department of Natural Resources expects nearly 240,000 hunters to take part in the firearm season, and there are only about a 100 officers out in the field to maintain order--which means it could be a very busy weekend for those officers.
Reporting in Menard County, Mike Brooks, ABC NewsChannel 20.