The big news is the opening of archery deer and turkey on Wednesday, Oct. 1.
And we will go to a Buck of the Week, such as Steven Hanson's last fall, as soon as good photos start piling up. I would guess late October or early November.
Topping the report this week is a Q & A with Tom Micetich, Illinois deer project manager.
The extended online version of the Illinois Hunting Report, the paper version appears in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here late on Tuesdays.
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We begin with the Micetich Q & A.
Doe Q & A with Micetich
In general, the percentage of does within the statewide harvest and what it means for the growth of does as a percentage of the statewide herd?
Antlerless deer make up about 60% and does make up about 46% of the overall statewide harvest. Essentially this means that we take about 5 females for every 6 males. Given the annual fawn crop in which fawns are produced at fairly equal sex ratios, and given that most deer do not live to a ripe old age, that's not a formula for producing a herd with sex ratios that are skewed out of balance.
In particular, the hot buck areas of the counties around the Golden Triangle, where does are nearing what some locals consider the breaking point?
We have areas where there are too many deer - not just does - even in counties with relatively low deer densities. Unfortunately, where income from "trophy bucks" drives a landowner's management decisions, there is not enough pressure on the female segment of the herd. Negative impacts to agricultural and other interests, by their neighbors' improper deer "management" are a concern to IDNR.
The question should be: "Are adequate opportunities for doe harvest being made available by the State of Illinois, so that landowners (or other controllers of access) can properly manage deer on their property?" With 100+ days of bow hunting; 7 firearm; 2 youth; 3 muzzleloader; and, in most places, 3 late-winter season days - coupled with the fact that at the end of the deer permit issuance process, permits remain for antlerless only hunting in most counties - I would have to say that there are ample opportunities for herd control. Unfortunately, those not willing to allow adequate access, and subsequent doe harvest necessary for herd control are the same ones screaming at DNR to do more.
The problem is one of hunter access to areas with problematic deer numbers. Controllers of access don't want to mess up their "buck hunting" or "video schedules" by having to deal with doe hunters. I have spoken with landowners and outfitters complaining of too many deer. At the same time, many have complained that their family/friends or clients didn't get "either-sex" permits. My suggestion to obtain available antlerless permits and emphasize doe hunting on their properties to control those problems which they identified, results in a response like, "We just buck hunt" or, "I can't make enough money off of doe shooters." Rather than address deer problems, many simply refuse to allow enough doe hunters to access their property.
And ultimately, when or are we looking at an earn-a-buck program?
Any landowner/controller of property can institute "earn-a-buck" whenever/wherever they believe it to be necessary to curb herd growth in their neighborhood without a State law.
The Department did so on many of its own properties over the past several years. Typically, it takes about three years (sometimes only two) for hunters to quit coming ... an indication of a successful herd reduction effort. After control there is a return to "statewide regulations." Admittedly, we welcome more hunters than the average landowner, so success is far more easily achieved; in a shorter period of time. But, it can be done.
Landowners/outfitters that have used it, recognize the value of "earn-a-buck." Forcing those operators who have properly managed their property into "earn-a-buck" in order to address the problems created by those who have not, is simply wrong.
Archery season opens Wednesday, Oct. 1. And the fields will look much different than for the opener last year.
Crop harvest finally started in earnest last week, but it remains far behind last year. Through Sunday, corn harvest was only 4 percent complete, compared to 56 last year; soybeans 6, compared to 37 last year.
Random daily drawings for firearm/muzzleloader deer permits run through Nov.7.
Archery season opens Wednesday, Oct. 1.
First season runs through Oct. 24. Daily bag is 15.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Season, for Sora and Virginia rails only, runs through Nov. 14.
Season ends Dec. 21.
Most public sites closed to squirrel hunting with the start to archery. But on private land the season goes on, and conditions are quickly improving with falling leaves and dying ground vegatation.
The DU Migration Map is posted here .
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.