I think it will be a reach, but Paul Shelton believes firearm hunters will top the 100,000 mark in harvest by the time the second firearm season ends Sunday. Obviously, deer hunting leads this week's Illinois Hunting Report.
West suburban bowhunter Jim Bello sent a series of shots, including this buck with a note:
There are the three bucks we harvested on my friend Ron and son's farms in White County in Southern Illinois. Ron too a smaller 10pt and then a large 10pt and I also bagged a nice 10pt. All deer were harvested with bows -
Ron's being a cross bow as he has a bad shoulder.
This is my best deer with a bow and he will be a nice addition to my wall.
The big news in Illinois hunting overall, unbelievably, remains the slow crop harvest. Through Sunday, statewide corn harvest was 72 percent complete, only 63 in the northeast area. That impacts deer hunting, pheasant hunting and even waterfowling. At least the combines should be rolling throughout this week.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments.
As the second firearm deer season opens Thursday and runs through Sunday, remember that the last time the firearm season failed to top 100,000 was in 1999, when hunters bagged 92,196 deer.
Shelton, the forest wildlife program manager, thinks hunters will keep the string of 100,000-plus going for the 10th straight year.
He said on the possibility of the harvest dropping below 100,000:
It's not likely, but not outside the realm of possibility. Right now I'd say we're on track to end up with between 100K and 110K.
In case you're wondering, and I was, there will be no added days of firearm deer hunting;
No. We already have `special added days of firearm hunting' throughout much of the state in the form of the Late Winter Season (70 counties) or the Special CWD Season (5 counties). Those seasons were expanded from 3 days to a seven-day split season this year.
On a good note, it looks like some northern and east central areas could have at least a dusting or maybe a coating of snow by Thursday. That would be a nice touch. Though I could live without the coldest weather in nine months rolling in.
If updated bowhunting numbers come in, I will post a link here.
FIREARM DEER NOTES: The big change in regulations this year is that remaining permits will be sold over the counter up until the end of the second firearm season. . . . Winnebago County hunters need to remember the check station was moved to Rock Cut State Park. . . . Muzzleloader-only season is Dec. 11-13. . . . 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/.
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.
The deadline for the first lottery for spring turkey is today.
Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.
Will the big push of birds finally come behind the front over the next couple days? Lord knows it has been slow enough hunting in Illinois.
The DU Migration Map is posted at
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.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Goose hunting in particular has been slowed by the slow corn harvest, with a third of the corn unpicked in the northeast. William Powers had a very slow weekend.
Heidecke had a fair weekend: 20 hunters took nine ducks on Saturday, 33 hunters took 16 ducks on Sunday. The drawdown issue appears to be getting settled.
Duck season runs through Dec. 15; Canada goose season, through Jan. 9.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Braidwood hunters took 149 ducks and four geese last week. The Mazonia units had OK weeks: North, 28 ducks, six geese; south, 27 ducks.
Duck season runs through Dec. 29. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons have reopened and will run through Jan. 31. Duck season runs through Jan. 12.
The incredibly slow crop continues to impact upland hunting, especially for pheasants. Although it looks like farmers could put a serious dent into corn harvest this week.
I gave it shot Friday afternoon with my neighbor, and we managed to roust one, which squirted down a ditch before we could shoot.
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.
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.
Trapping reopens June 1.
Hunting is closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting. Hunting ends in the north zone on Feb. 10; in the south, on Feb. 15.
Hunting is closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting. CORRECT/ADD: Except for those with unfilled deer pemits, for whom coyote hunting is allowed during deer hunting hours.
Hunting ends on Jan. 31. Hunting is also closed during the two firearms deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.
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. I think they have extended crop reports into at least next week this year because of the slow harvest.