Chicago Sun-Times
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Illinois Hunting Report: Record deer and north zone waterfowl

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The opening of the north zone waterfowl seasons headline this week's Illinois Hunting Report, as well as a record youth deer hunt, a continued record pace in bowhunting for deer and a continued slow crop.


If you found a harvested field, like this one, you likely found Canada geese using it. There aren't that many harvested fields around, especially in northeast Illinois.

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. We're cutting it close again tonight.

If you have suggestions, email me at or post in the comments.

The overview of hunting, especially in northern Illinois, go back to a nearly bizarrely slow harvest. I can't find the updated harvest report for the week, but it can't be a whole lot more than it was last week outside of Chicago.

Though I have started to see some fields picked over the last few days in counties south of Chicago.


The weekend youth hunt recorded a record harvest of 2,304, more than double the 1,007 of last year, according to biologist Paul Shelton.

Bowhunters continue on a record pace with 11,945 reported through Sunday. Only one year was close to this pace, the 11,841 bagged in same period in 2005.

With all the deer being harvested, this is a good time for a reminder to participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. To find a list of processors and more information go to

On another front, the Boone and Crockett Club reported Illinois is leading all states or provinces for entries into the record book for whitetail bucks. Click here.

Firearm deer season is Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7. Muzzleloader-only season is Dec. 11-13.


If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to I will probably start running the feature at the end of October or early November, depending on the photos that come in.


Remember the daily bag is now six ducks not to include more than four mallards (two of which can be hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two scaup (entire 60 days this year), one canvasback (full 60-day season), one black duck and one pintail (full 60-day season).

The daily bag on Canada geese is two.

The DU Migration Map is posted at


The 60-day duck season opens Saturday. The Canada goose season opens Saturday and runs through Jan. 9.

The weekend front was expected to bring in some fresh birds, but ground reports are so-so. Only one mallard was bagged in the youth hunt at Wolf Lake over the weekend. There were some better reports on the DU Migration Map.

State waterfowl biologist Ray Marshalla said he had not had much confirmation of a major flight.


The youth waterfowl hunt is Oct. 24-25. The 60-day duck season opens Oct. 31. The Canada goose season is an odd split: Oct. 31-Nov. 15 and Nov. 24-Jan. 31.


The 60-day duck season opens Nov. 14. The split 66-day Canada goose season is Nov. 14-15 and Nov. 29-Jan. 31.


The season opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 30.


First season runs through Oct. 31.


Open to Sora and Virginia only. Season runs through Nov. 13


Season runs through Dec. 20


Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties (Nov. 21-23 and Dec. 4-7).


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.


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.

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Waterfowl activity has increased significantly over the past few days in Illinois. A significant number of puddle ducks and divers have left North Dakota and begun the migration south over the past 5 days (confirmed by Delta Waterfowl staff). The first flights of bufflehead arrived in McHenry County this week, along with gadwall, widgeon and ringed-neck ducks.

With the corn and soybean harvest so far behind, the ducks may not hold with the limited feeding opportunity. Opening day will be best on larger bodies of water that offer diver shooting and the rivers where ringed-neck ducks frequent.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on October 13, 2009 9:51 PM.

Fish of the Week: Chicago shore laker was the previous entry in this blog.

Midwest Fishing Report: Trout opener and white bass (adds) is the next entry in this blog.

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