It came down to sunflowers. the sandy soil at Iroquoic County SWA allowed sunflowers to be planted on time. And Green River had several hot fields in the northwest. Jeff Lampe of PrairieStateOutdoors.com, pulled some of my numbers and his from central and western Illinois and he put Iroquois County SWA third (12.02 doves per hunter) behind Edward R. Madigan SFWA (14.7 dph, 30 hunters, 441 doves) and Horseshoe Lake SP Madison County(12.96 dph).
Here is a breakdown in rough order of sites near Chicago.
IROQUOIS COUNTY SWA: As expected, the sandy soli paid off here, allowing them to get their sunflowers in on time. And 69 hunters bagged 830 doves. That included 36 hunters who took limits. ``A lot of the sites didn't get their sunflowers in on time [because of the wet spring],'' site super Frank Snow said. ``[Even so], I really surprised they did so well with the two nights of cold weather.''
GREEN RIVER SWA: Staff said five fields were good, but overall the site had 115 hunters bag 833 doves, which is about average. But at least one field was so outstanding that Barrington's Mark Pawlowski raved:
I thought I was in Argentina. Birds flying left & right, buzz bombs flying over all day. Couldn't even eat my lunch. I got my limit of 15 at about 3:00PM.
MATTHIESSEN SP: 100 hunters took 821 doves, which is actually a little less than average for them.
MARSEILLES SWA: Site super Ted Love was justly satisfied with 35 hunters bagging 224 doves, a good solid afternoon.
KANKAKEE RIVER SP: Forty hunters took 170 doves,
SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: 111 hunters took 316 doves.
DES PLAINES SFWA: Ouch, this is usually the area's big shooter. Not Tuesday, when 109 hunters only took 181 doves, about one fifth of a normal year.
CHAIN O'LAKES SP: About 15 hunters took 25 doives
SHABBONA SRA: Site staffer Molly Haseman asked, ``Are you sitting down? I kept thinking, `Do I have all the sheets?' '' Ouch, 60 hunters only took 54 doves.
MAZONIA SFWA: 26 hunters, 6 doves