Deer program biologist Tom Micetich said he expects a bowhunting deer harvest similar to the 2008-09 season, second highest on record. Those numbers and others on deer lead this Illinois Hunting Report as bowhunting for deer and turkey opens Thursday.
During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the IHR, 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 email@example.com or post in the comments.
The IDNR continues to list the estimated deer herd as 750,000-800,000. In 2008-09, Micetich said 158,000 bowhunters pursued deer. That's second only to the 203,000 that hunted deer with firearms. There is much overlap with the two groups with a estimated total of 278,000 deer hunters in Illinois.
The record bow harvest was 66,095 in 2005. The harvest of 64,920 in 2008-09 was the second highest.
Asked if he thought bowhunters might near the record, Micetich said,
``It's hard to say. Weather, standing crops, drop in permit sales/participation, will all affect harvest. I would expect harvest to be similar to last year.''
But the big number, at least for early season hunting this fall, remains the slow harvest.
On a good note, I did see my first fields being harvested in northeast Illinois Tuesday. However, Monday's crop harvest report (which is through Sunday) listed corn as 2 percent harvested, compared to the five-year average of 28; soybeans remained at 1 percent, compared to the five-year average of 21.
Bowhunting opens Thursday.
Firearm deer season is Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7. Muzzleloader-only season is Dec. 11-13.
To participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program, find a list of processors and more information http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.
BUCK OF THE WEEK
The photo above was a fine 13-point Buck of the Week Chris Fitzgerald arrowed in Kendall County the evening of Nov. 1, 2008.
If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to firstname.lastname@example.org. However, it will probably be the end of October or early November before I begin running the weekly photo feature. Of course, that depends on the photos that come in.
Bowhunting opens Thursday.
First season runs through Oct. 31.
Open to Sora and Virginia only. Season runs through Nov. 13
Season runs through Dec. 20
The northeast Illinois sites now open--Iroquois County SWA, Marseilles SWA, Kankakee River SP, Silver Springs SWFA and Momence Wetlands--will close Wednesday, Sept. 30.
Season ends Feb. 15, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties (Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7). Squirrel hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The daily limit is five squirrels with a possession limit of 10.
Trapping season ends Wednesday, Sept. 30. Hunting season ends March 31, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2009-10 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2009-10 Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulations, click here.
For the 2008-09 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.