If you stuck your head outside over the weekend, you already know one of the leads for this Illinois Hunting Report--the reshuffling of Canada geese after the heavy snows and re-icing of waterways. That and the new split of late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season opening later this week.
I don't know how many low-flying, seemingly confused flocks of Canada geese I saw Sunday and Monday, but it was a lot and they made enough racket that even the most oblivious had to notice.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments.
The big news this week is the new split portion of the late-winter firearm antlerless-only deer season, opens Thursday and runs through Sunday. The hope by biologists is that hunters will be able to pick up after the lowest harvest in a decade during the two firearm seasons.
I am curious how it will turn out. Weather looks passable, though borderline cold enough to slow some hunters. On a personal level, I am more disappointed that the area I hunt does not fall into the open counties list.
Eleven counties have unlimited permits, 59 other counties are open for hunting. As in other years, unfilled firearm, muzzleloader, youth and landowner firearm permits are valid for this season provided that they were issued for an open county. Check dnr.state.il.us/admin/late.htm for details.
Note that Heidecke does not offer standby hunting in the late season and Grundy County permits are not accepted.
For those who are more successful than me, may I suggest participating in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. Go to http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.
BUCK OF THE WEEK
If you have an entry for Buck of the Week, e-mail the photo and story to email@example.com. 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.
One of the neat things I meant to include before, and I realize it is too late to be anything much more than interesting this late in the year, but the Mallard Migration Map that a bunch of groups compile is at http://www.mdc.mo.gov/hunt/wtrfowl/migration.php
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
Canada goose season runs through Jan. 9. There's fresh geese all over the area. If you're a hardcore goose hunter, you've probably already have taken a few vacation days. Time is now.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31. As I said above, There's fresh geese all over the area. If you're a hardcore goose hunter, you've probably already have taken a few vacation days. Time is now.
Duck season ends today.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Duck season runs through Jan. 12. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
The snow across the northern part of the state should make for good hunting for those few who still hunt rabbits. North zone ends Jan. 8. South zone ends Jan. 22.
Hunting for cock pheasant, gray partridge and bobwhite quail ends Jan. 8 in the north zone, Jan. 15 in the south.
Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17.
Season ends Feb. 15.
Season runs through Feb. 28.
Hunting season ends March 31. Trapping reopens June 1.
Hunting ends in the north zone on Feb. 10; in the south, on Feb. 15.
Hunting ends on Jan. 31.
Trapping seasons are open across the state for all the usual furbearers: muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, weasel, coyote, badger, red and gray fox, and beaver.
Trapping for muskrat, mink, raccoon, opossum, striped skunk, weasel, red and gray fox, coyote and badger ends in the north zone on Jan. 20; in the south, on Jan. 25.
Trapping for beaver ends statewide on March 31.
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.