Only a few days ago, a brutal winter was setting in and Canada geese were being pushed south toward traditional haunts.
Yeah, that's me (right) and Jim DaRosa after we had collected goose decoys last Tuesday morning in Will County. Don Dziedzina of Illinois Outdoors couldn't resist snapping this shot to illustrate the point. DaRosa feared that might be the end of goose hunting at his Will County sites.
Then things changed over the weekend with the rains and warmth.
Jeff Norris of Fox Valley Guide Service in Kane County sent this Monday afternoon:
``Yo-yo mode is in effect. Good numbers of Canada geese have returned from points south to infest the flooded cornfields of the Fox Valley. It's party time.
Come kill geese!''
The ground was so brown and barren by Sunday afternoon I nearly missed this flock that had returned to a cornfield on the Iroquois/Kankakee line.
During the hunting seasons, the 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.
If you have suggestions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments.
Full report follows.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
As noted above, Canada geese have returned with the retreat of snow and ice. However, in the north zone, Canada, white-fronted and snow/blue/Ross' goose seasons and brant seasons end Jan. 10.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
It was an odd week at Braidwood, where nearly all 25 hunters limited on Dec. 24 (46 geese) and 34 took 36 on Dec. 26. The lake was closed Saturday and Sunday by the weather.
Canada goose, snow/blue/Ross' geese, brant and white-fronted goose seasons end Jan. 31.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Duck season ends Jan. 25. Canada goose, snow/blue/Ross' geese, brant and white-fronted goose seasons end Jan. 31
The daily scaup bag is one for the rest of the season.
We're late into the year for deer hunters and more are reaching the point for donating a deer to the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. For a list of processors or more information about ISAH check the IDNR web site at http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.
Archery season runs through Jan. 15, except during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
The Late-Winter Antlerless-only firearm deer season and the Special CWD deer season are Jan. 16-18, 2009.
BUCK OF THE WEEK
If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to email@example.com. This may be the last week for BOTW, unless I receive a bundle of worthy nominations.
Season for cock pheasant, bobwhite quail and gray partridge ends Jan. 8 in the north zone; Jan. 15 in the south.
Season ends Jan. 8 in the north zone, Jan. 22 in the south.
Third archery season runs through Jan. 15.
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.
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.