The youth hunt in the north zone last weekend was a success, as this timely photo from Kane County guide Jeff Norris shows and bodes well for the regular season opener in the north on Saturday.
The string of cold fronts should benefit the opening day on Saturday for waterfowlers in the north zone.
The curveball is crop harvest, which remains far behind (corn was 20 percent complete by Sunday, compared to 80 percent last year).
During the hunting seasons, the extended online Illinois hunting report is usually posted here on Tuesdays. Otherwise, the Illinois Hunting Report comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays.
With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if needed.
If you have suggestions, email me at email@example.com or post in the comments.
Full report follows.
At least on the goose side, hope is up for Saturday's opener.
Guide Matt Porter of Porter's Hunt Club in McHenry put it best:
``This should be the best opening day in several years--lots of geese and ducks. Local geese, and migrators too. The great weather lately has allowed farmers to harvest most of the beans, and some corn already.''
State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla said,
``I heard that there were tons of geese west of the Chicago suburbs. Harvested fields are few so those that are done will be great hunting for some. Ducks produced well in Wisconsin and many of the ducks shot in the northeast part of the state come from Wisconsin. The cold front coming thru late this week should make for a decent opener for many.''
Remember the changes. Canvasbacks are closed for the year. The daily bag on wood ducks increased to three. Scaup bags are split: in the north, the daily bag is one, except from Nov. 4-23, when it is two.
The daily limit of six ducks may include no more than four mallards (two hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, one black duck, and one pintail.
The daily bag on Canada geese is two.
Also, remember white-fronted geese do not open until Oct. 31 in the north.
Central zone youth waterfowl hunt is Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 18-19.
Deciphering the waterfowl surveys, Marshalla said,
``However, I can tell you that duck numbers on yesterday's flight were well below average on the Illinois River but above average on the Mississippi (see attached). At first I thought perhaps the low numbers on the IL may be due to delayed migration. However, numbers being above average on the MS does not support this theory. This tells me that habitat conditions are still poor on most IL sites due to the flood and that the MS must be in somewhat better shape. Carlyle and Rend Lakes have decent moist-soil conditions so should attract good numbers of ducks when the season opens.''
The DU Migration Map is posted here .
Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton said the 2008 Youth Deer Season, last weekend, Oct. 11-12, had a preliminary harvest of 1,040 deer, up from 896 last year. Harvest sex ratios were 514 females: 526 males (49%: 51%). Top five counties were Pike (55), Jefferson (41), Randolph (40), Adams (33), and Fayette (33).
My guess is hot weather over the weekend explains the slowdown in archery harvest, and cooler weather should put more bowhunters back in the stands.
Through the first 13 days (Monday, Oct. 13), reported harvest was 9,679, according to Shelton, which compares to 8,237 in 2007, 11,306 in 2006 and 12,497 in 2005. He said, ``Sex ratios this year so far remain about the same as for the first report (thru Oct 5) at 71.3% female; 28.7% male.''
Top five counties are Pike (545), Peoria (272), Fulton (248), LaSalle (207), and Jefferson (204).
Random daily drawings for firearm/muzzleloader deer permits run through Nov.7.
Season opens Saturday, Oct. 18.
First season runs through Oct. 24. Daily bag is 15.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Season opens Nov. 1.
Archery season opened Wednesday, Oct. 1.
Season, for Sora and Virginia rails only, runs through Nov. 14.
Season ends Dec. 21.
For the few hunters trying, conditions are better with cool weather, leaves are falling and vegatation thinning.
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.