I don't think Illinois' harvest during the firearms seasons will drop off nearly as much as similar seasons in Wisconsin and Michigan did, but there will be a drop. Waiting on firearm deer totals leads this week's Illinois Hunting Report.
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.
As soon as totals are given for the firearm seasons, which ended Sunday, I will post separately and put a link here. But my guess is that it will be a reach to total 100,000. Wind was a significant factor every day during second season except for Saturday.
ADD (It was more than a reach, the harvest came up just short of 100,000 and is posted here.).
Muzzleloader-only season is Friday through Sunday.
EXTRA DEER: If you're one of those hunters who is good or lucky enough to bag more deer than you can use, 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.
A friend dropped a note Monday--``Corn's out''--and suggested we hunt Tuesday morning Downstate. Weather changed our minds, but I think a lot of us will be looking more toward upland game with deer hunting winding down and corn being picked.
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.
Is it just me or does this feel like a year to forget for waterfowling?
The good point is the major weather change coming later this week. It should bring some fresh birds, though it will also start icing up backwaters and smaller ponds and lakes.
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
CENTRAL ILLINOIS YOUTH GOOSE HUNT
Youngsters can register now through Friday for the 10th annual Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt sponsored by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on Dec. 27-28. The youth goose hunt will be held at private waterfowl hunting clubs in Peoria, Fulton and Knox counties. Young people interested in the hunt must phone 217/785-8060 to register for a lottery drawing since space for the hunt is limited. The deadline to register is Friday. Youth hunters selected will be notified by mail. First-time applicants will be given a priority over previous participants in the drawing. The hunt is open to youngsters ages 10-15 at the time of the hunt. All applicants must have successfully completed a hunter safety education course, possess a valid Illinois hunting or sportsman's license, have a Harvest Information Program (HIP) registration number, and have a 20 gauge or larger shotgun. Youth hunt participants must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who must possess a valid firearm owner's identification (FOID) card. To register for the hunt or for more information, call 217/785-8060 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.
Youth Hunt Raffle: Raffle tickets are available to support the Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt, as well as IDNR youth waterfowl hunts throughout the state. Only 500 tickets will be sold at $10 each to benefit the youth hunts. Prizes available include a shotgun and a Lifetime Hunting License (which is transferable). Raffle winners will be drawn at the Central Illinois Youth Goose Hunt banquet on Dec. 27. Raffle participants need not be present to win. For tickets or information, call 217/785-8060.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
The weekend showed an improvement, at least at Heidecke where 31 hunters on Saturday took 34 ducks. Sunday was even better with 32 hunters taking 48 ducks. Williams Powers remains very slow.
The last day of duck hunting at Heidecke is Sunday, at William Powers is Tuesday. Both sites will remain open for goose hunting (Heidecke is Wednesday through Sunday). The wild card in all this is icing, which could end things quickly, especially at Heidecke.
Duck season runs through Tuesday; Canada goose season, through Jan. 9.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Some indication of fresh birds. At Braidwood last week, 140 ducks and a goose were bagged. The Mazonia units were slow: 13 ducks, one goose.
Canada and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31. Duck season runs through Dec. 29.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Duck season runs through Jan. 12. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons reopen Nov. 29 and run through Jan. 31.
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 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 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. One came today, but I think they are about done for the year.