I don't know what to make of the status of the rut in Illinois, particularly northern counties. Ramblings about the rut and halleluiahs about crop harvest lead this week's Illinois Hunting Report.
In past years, hunters like these milling around waiting to begin hunting pheasants on opening day would have been the big story of the week.
I think deer may have surpassed them.
Park Ridge realtor Dave Olzeski sent this Friday:
TODAY I WITNESSED A CHANGE FROM CHECKING TO CHASING AND NOW PROTECTING.
I'VE INCLUDED PHOTOS I TOOK EARLIER TODAY. THERE WERE TWO NICE 10'S IN THE AREA AND THREE 8'S PLUS ONE DOES. ALL WITHIN 20 YDS OF EACH OTHER.
THE BUCK IN IMAGE 4534 WAS THE DOMINANT ONE AND IS PROTECTING THE DOE
ANOTHER PHOTO OF THE SAME BUCK IS IMAGE 4559
THE OTHER MATURE 10 ON IMAGE 4576 IS IN THE BACKGROUND. AN 8 IS IN THE FOREGROUND
THAT SAME 10 IS ALSO ON IMAGE 4551
IT WAS INTERESTING, AS THE BUCK ON 4534 WAS THE ONLLY ONE STANDING IN THE AREA AS ALL THE OTHERS WERE BEDDED DOWN OR STANDING AND STARING AT THE DOE AT A DISTANCE. BOTH OF THE BIG 10'S WERE HYPERVENTILATING THROUGHOUT.
A couple days later this came from Alex Kantzavelos:
Just to let you know
We've been bowhunting in JoDaviess county for the last 3 weekends. I hunting with my son and daughter who is 6 months pregnant. This last weekend we saw many bachelor bucks paling around, but no doe prowling action yet. Hopefully this week the RUT will start.
The bucks are getting bolder. I saw two of them just standing out in the field around 1:00 in the afternoon, but none of them were close enough to harvest.
The corn is still up due to the rains we had in October. I spoke to the farmer who rents our property and he said the corn should be down this week. All along route 20, there is standing corn everywhere.
Best of luck on your hunt this year.
Luck started to luck a lot better on Sunday when the farmer where I hunt made his first pass through the corn. It was all out by Monday. The beans were out some weeks ago.
Crop harvest is finally going, though corn harvest was officially only 31 percent complete by Sunday (only 14 percent in the northeast). But it is better than last week, and the real figure is much higher by now with farmers working day and night to combine. Soybean harvest is nearly complete.
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.
We very obviously have moved into a different time for deer, the time of big bucks.
As the weekly update from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton shows:
Preliminary archery deer harvest totals through Sunday, November 8 stand at 37380, compared to previous year totals of 33923 (2008), 36748 (2007), 39090 (2006), and 39343 (2005). Hunting conditions were excellent last week, and deer activity has continued to increase. However, significant amounts of unharvested corn remain in the fields, which will have a dampening effect on harvest. Top five counties are Pike (2102), Fulton (1075), Jefferson (856), Adams (835), and Peoria (822).
Daily harvest rates were much improved this week, with 1153 deer/day taken during the period Monday-Friday. Rates over the weekend stood at 1969 deer/day. While good, these rates are below the average of the previous four years. Harvest sex ratios continued to shift toward bucks, with sex ratios for the week at 37.3% does to 62.7% bucks. Overall sex ratios to date are 56.5% does: 43.5% bucks.
Remember to participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. To find a list of processors and more information go to http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.
Firearm deer season is Nov. 20-22 and Dec. 3-6 (CORRECTED). Muzzleloader-only season is Dec. 11-13.
SIGHTING IN SHOTGUNS
Illinois State Police and Department of Natural Resources
Offer Open Range Program November 14
Hunters given an opportunity to sight-in shotguns before deer hunting season
SPRINGFIELD, IL - The Illinois State Police (ISP) announced today its firing ranges will be open on November 14 to hunters for sighting in and test-firing their shotguns in a safe environment for the upcoming deer hunting season. Firing ranges in Joliet, Pontiac, Pawnee, Effingham, Pecatonica, and LaSalle will be available to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
"The Illinois State Police, in cooperation with the Department of Natural Resources, will again offer the Open Range Program to hunters to sight-in their shotguns before the upcoming hunting season," said ISP Director Jonathon Monken. "This annual program provides firearm experts from the State Police and Natural Resources with an opportunity to promote hunting safety by ensuring the safe and appropriate use of shotguns."
"The Open Range Program is another great way for hunters to hone their skills and practice safety by making sure their firearm is in proper working order and sighted accurately. We're happy to partner with the Illinois State Police on such a worthwhile program for our hunters," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.
The public is asked to call one of the ranges listed below before the scheduled date to make a reservation. Targets will be provided, and there is no charge for use of the range. Participants must possess a valid Firearm Owner's Identification (FOID) card and transport the firearm legally by having it unloaded and enclosed in a case.
District City Telephone Contact
District 5 Joliet 815.726.6377 Ext. 206 Sergeant Chris Garibay
District 6 Pontiac 815.844.1500 Trooper David Diller
District 9 Pawnee 217.786.6278 Trooper Rich Mahan
District 12 Effingham 217.347.2761 M/Sergeant Kelley Hulsey
District 16 Pecatonica 815.239.1152 Ext. 242 M/Sergeant Lisa Ditzler
District 17 LaSalle 815.224.1171 Ext. 117 Sergeant Bob Cessna
BUCK OF THE WEEK
If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to firstname.lastname@example.org. The stories and photos run in the outdoors page of the Sun-Times on Wednesday, and the expanded online version is usually posted here on Tuesday.
Second season runs through Sunday.
Season opened Saturday. The much delayed harvest made for a tough go, but that could help make this weekend, and coming ones that much better.
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
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Heidecke had an OK Saturday--32 hunters, 19 ducks--and a slow Sunday. William Powers had an OK Saturday: eight hunters, five ducks and a goose. The first Canada goose season ends Sunday in the central zone.
Talks are ongoing about the drawdown at Heidecke.
Duck season runs through Dec. 15; Canada goose season, through Jan. 9.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Last week (Wednesday-Sunday) Braidwood had 175 hunters take 96 ducks and four geese, best was last Wednesday when 48 ducks were bagged.
Duck season runs through Dec. 29. The first Canada goose season ends Sunday, the second Canada goose season is Nov. 24-Jan. 31. White-fronted geese do not open until Nov. 21.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
The 60-day duck season opens Saturday. The split 66-day Canada goose season is this weekend, then Nov. 29-Jan. 31.
Bowhunters have been having quite the year.
Here's the word from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton:
Fall turkey archery harvest has been very strong, with 556 birds harvested to date, an increase of 22.9% over the previous 4-year average. Comparable figures for the last four years are 457 (2008), 476 (2007), 446 (2006), and 431 (2005). Top five counties are Pike (22), JoDaviess (20), Jefferson (19), Fulton (16), and Knox (15).
Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.
Season runs through Friday.
Season runs through Nov. 30.
Season runs through Dec. 20
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.
Season runs through Feb. 28.
Hunting season ends March 31, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties.
Hunting statewide is open.
Trapping seasons are open across the state for the usual furbearers: muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, weasel, coyote, badger, red and gray fox, and beaver.
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.