This is the second extended Illinois hunting report posted here. It should become a regular feature on Tuesdays through the hunting seasons. If you have suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments.
My hope was to have an updated photo of a plate like this one (a dove breast and jalapeno slices wrapped in bacon plated with fresh tomato, sweet corn and grapes) from the opener a couple years ago. Unfortunately, I opted for Iroquois County SWA, where I was lucky enough to draw a stake, but I did not even fire my gun.
Here's the opening numbers in order for select public sites. (I updated again with the new apparent state public leader, pulled from PrairieStateOutdoors.com.)
Site: hunters, doves bagged, dph
Madigan SP: 30, 427, 14.2
Sangchris Lake SP: about 50, about 650, about 13
Shelbyville SFWA: 108, 1,196, 11.1
Jim Edgar-Panther Creek SFWA: 152, 1,509, 10
Matthiessen SP: 116, 919, 7.9
Kankakee SP: 87, 648, 7.5
Des Plaines SFWA: about 115, 700-plus, 6.1-plus
Green River SWA: 146, 841, 5.8
Shabbona Lake SRA: 60, 276, 4.6
Silver Springs 127, 234, 1.8
Chain O'Lakes SP: 25, 8, 0.3
Iroquois County SWA: 58, 17, 0.3
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2008-09 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2008-09 Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, click here.
For the Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons), click here.
First season runs through Oct. 24. Daily bag is 15.
Opening day results for some public sites were posted above.
Maybe the cold snap and rain mid-week will bring fresh birds into northern Illinois.
Otherwise, I think it is wise to remember biologist John Cole's one piece of advice: ``If you don't have access to good sunflowers, wait till corn and soybean harvest begins in your area and try hunting recently harvested fields. Success can be improved under these conditions by using decoys.''
Early Canada goose season runs through Sept. 15. The big change is to a daily bag of five in the central and north zones. The daily bag in the northeast remains five and in south zone remains two.
Slow harvest continues to make access a problem.
As of today, Tuesday, Sept. 2, permits will be issued for deer hunters at Heidecke Lake and Goose Lake Prairie. If they stick it on their dashboard, they can then begin seasonal scouting.
Remember the deer meetings start tonight across the state. Click here for statewide details.
Season opens Saturday, Sept. 6, and runs through Sept. 21.
Aerial surveys on Tuesday showed the Mississippi River holding about twice the 10-year average for teal: 4,650 vs 2,451 blue-winged and 1,300 vs 456 green-winged. The Illinois River was about average: 10,070 vs the 10-year average of 11,069 for blue-winged and 6,450 vs 4,287 for green-winged.
Spoon River Bottoms/Emiquon are holding the most: 4,200 BWT and 3,800 GWT.
State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla sent a bunch of information, the key piece might be at the very end, where he warns hunters to learn to identify teal before shooting.
Here is his overall assessment: ``Last year's teal harvest by zone was: North - 3,725 hunters hunted 12,595 days to shoot 5,810 teal. Central zone had 6,298 hunters hunt 23,731 days to take 16,600 teal. South zone had 3,187 hunters hunt 10790 days to take 7,139 teal. The remaining teal harvest was in unknown zones. Overall the average teal hunter hunted 3.60 days and took 0.62 teal per day or 2.21 teal per hunter for the season.
``Teal numbers are very good this year with blue wings at 6.6 million (45% above average) and green wings at 3.0 million (over 50% above average). Normally Illinois hunters take about 80% bluewinged teal and 20% greenwinged teal during the September teal season. As blue wings leave in mid-Sept. the green wings start showing up to replace their numbers. Hunters should remember that shooting a wood duck or other species during teal season is a class A misdemeanor with a minimum $500 fine and up to $5,000 fine if you plead not guilty, must appear in court and automatic license suspension for a year if charged with this offense. Learn to identify teal and if you are not sure, don't shoot!''
Season is Saturday, Sept. 6-Nov. 14 for Sora and Virginia rails only.
Season is Saturday, Sept. 6-Dec. 21.
Marseilles, Silver Springs and Kankakee River opened to squirrel hunting this week. Iroquois County SWA is having a banner year for squirrels (not sure if one hunter is doing extremely well or if there is a bumper crop of squirrels.)
The DU Migration Map should be posted here beginning the first week of September.