Considering the weather, it's not surprising that the arrival and movement of Canada geese leads this week's Illinois Hunting Report. The problem is the weather is also locking most shallower waters into thick ice.
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.
There was a major influx, especially of Canada geese into northern Illinois late last week.
A couple days ago, friend and guide Jeff Norris of Fox Valley Guide Service dropped a simple note: ``The geese are here. Big time.''
Actually, you don't even have to be a guide to notice that. At one point on Friday, there was so many geese flying overhead that I could bearly talk with my kids.
Geese are everywhere there is open water. I would expect Braidwood to become one of the top hunting spots in Illinois for the next couple weeks, though the goose numbers were not quite as high last week there as I had expected.
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
Duck season ends today Canada goose season, through Jan. 9.
Field hunting for Canada geese should be on fire to end the season.
Heidecke froze up late last week, and it is unlikely goose hunters will be able to get out this week.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Icing is becoming a problem, even in central areas. Most of the Mazonia units will likely be locked in by the weekend.
But that icing is one reason Braidwood should become a top spot. Weather limited hunters at Braidwood to Friday through Sunday and they bagged 300 ducks and 39 geese. Mazonia units reported 40 ducks and two geese.
Duck season runs through Dec. 29. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Duck season runs through Jan. 12. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
(ADD) The numbers for muzzleloader season are posted here. If archery numbers come, I will post separately.
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 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.
Corn out means more pheasant hunters are getting out. Ditto with snow, at least some times, for rabbit hunters.
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, except it is closed during the firearm deer seasons in those counties open to firearm deer hunting.
Season ends Sunday.
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. 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. I was surprised to receive an updated crop report this week, but it will soon end.