Statistical evidence of early signs of the rut came from bowhunters for deer in Illinois last week. And rain was the likely culprit as Illinois bowhunters finally dropped slightly off the record pace they had been on most of the fall for harvesting deer.
Here's the keys stats from biologist Paul Shelton:
Preliminary archery deer harvest totals through Sunday, October 25 stand at 21754, compared to previous year totals of 17875 (2008), 16065 (2007), 21883 (2006), and 21610 (2005). Temperatures have been great, but a continuing pattern of rain every few days occasionally dampens hunter participation (last Thursday was a good example) and frustrates crop harvest by farmers. Top 5 counties are Pike (1073), Fulton (571), Jefferson (565), Peoria (500), and LaSalle (470). An Excel spreadsheet is attached with individual county results.
As expected, harvest sex ratios have begun to shift somewhat as we move toward the rut. Sex ratios during the past week were 60.2% does to 39.8% bucks, compared to the previous three week average of 69.3% does:30.7%. Overall sex ratios to date are 67.5% does:32.5% bucks.