Big bucks are moving. That's the main story of Illinois hunting.
This time of the year, with the rut, is how we get Downstate living rooms with walls filled like this.
As Park Ridge realtor Dave Olzeski, a hard-core bowhunter, put it on Friday: ``[I] saw several large bucks throughout today. They were roaming and not chasing. The wind, cold, rain and snow got them moving.''
Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton backed that up, ``Harvest rates [for bowhunters] over the weekend were significantly higher than in the past, with harvests higher than 2500 on both days, in spite of windy conditions.'' His latest figures for deer hunting are detailed below.
And, at least in northeast Illinois, Sunday's weather brought a spike in waterfowl hunting at public sites.
During the hunting seasons, an extended online version of the Illinois Hunting Report, which comes at the end of the Midwest Fishing Report in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, is usually posted here on Tuesdays. This one was posted on a Monday.
With the aerial surveys for waterfowl being flown (they are weather dependent), I will update if deemed important.
If you have suggestions, email me at email@example.com or post in the comments.
Full report follows.
Here are the preliminary archery deer harvest figures through Sunday, Nov. 9 from Shelton:
``This year is 36,761, lagging slightly behind previous years' totals: 38809 (2007), 40415 (2006), and 40542 (2005).
Daily harvest sex ratios have been running about 60% males or slightly higher during the past week, with the cumulative harvest ratio to date at 44% male:56% female.
Harvest rates over the weekend were significantly higher than in the past, with harvests higher than 2500 on both days, in spite of windy conditions.
Top five counties are Pike (2180), Fulton (1020), Adams (850), Peoria (810), and Jefferson (764).''
Friday, Nov. 14, is the last day to apply for late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer permits in selected counties.
Archery season runs through Jan. 15, except during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
First firearm season is Nov. 21-23; second is Dec. 4-7.
SIGHTING IN SHOTGUNS
The slots to sight in shotguns at District 5 State Police in Lockport on Saturday are filled. Elgin is not open this year.
Downstate ranges at Metamora--trooper Don Filkins at (309) 383-2133--and Macomb--trooper Neal Merry at (309) 833-4046, ext. 242--are open Saturday.
BUCK OF THE WEEK
If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Season, for Sora and Virginia rails only, runs through Friday, Nov. 14.
Second season ends Sunday, Nov. 16.
Remember the changes. Canvasbacks are closed for the year. The daily bag on wood ducks increased to three. Scaup bags are split, daily bag of one, except for 20 days, in each zone. See zone reports for two-scaup dates.
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.
The DU Migration Map is posted at
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Heidecke showed a spike in success on Sunday with 39 hunters bagging 49 ducks and a goose. On Saturday, 36 hunters took 22 ducks. William Powers remained slow, only three mallards and six others between 27 hunters over the weekend.
Daily scaup bag is two until Sunday, Nov. 23, then it returns to one daily.
Duck season ends Dec. 16.
Canada and white-fronted goose seasons end Jan. 10.
Snow/blue/Ross' geese and brant seasons end Jan. 10.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Braidwood spiked on the weekend, with 38 hunters bagging 44 ducks on Saturday, then 48 hunters took 67 ducks and a goose on Sunday. Mazonia South spiked on Sunday too with 22 hunters bagging 25 ducks. Mazonia North was tough, with 23 hunters taking six ducks on Sunday.
Remember white-fronted geese doesn't open until Friday, Nov. 21.
Also remember, Canada goose hunting is closed until the second season, Monday, Nov. 24-Jan. 31.
Scaup bag is one daily, except two beginning on Tuesday, Nov. 11 and running through Nov. 30.
Duck season ends Dec. 23.
Snow/blue/Ross' geese and brant season ends Jan. 31.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Youth hunt is this weekend, Nov. 15-16.
Duck and Canada goose season opens Nov. 27.
Resident hunters may apply for the first lottery of spring wild turkey through Dec. 1. I received my mailed application on Monday, otherwise, it is available online.
First archery season ends Nov. 20; second season is Nov. 24-Dec. 3, third is Dec. 8-Jan. 15.
Seasons end Jan. 8 in the north zone; Jan. 15 in the south.
Season ends Jan. 8 in the north zone, Jan. 22 in the south.
Season ends Dec. 1.
Season ends Dec. 21.
Season ends Feb. 15, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
Season ends Feb. 28.
Season ends March 31, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
North zone hunting season ends Feb. 10, south zone season on Feb. 15, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
Hunting season for red and gray foxes ends Jan. 31, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
Raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink, muskrat, fox (red and gray), coyote and badger seasons end Jan. 20 in the north zone; Jan. 25 in the south.
Season ends March 31.
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.