Hunting is winding down, and looking back, I have done less than I would have liked. And we're nearing the end for the Illinois Hunting Reports for 2009-10.
Other than deer hunting, I had a down year for simply getting out hunting.
Part of that is simply my point in life with four kids at home. Time disappears. Part of it was the weird year with corn harvest being near record slow.
I can't believe it but upland game hunting here in northern Illinois ends Friday.
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 lead with deer again.
Hunters bagged a preliminary total of 9,491 deer during the initial first four-day split of the late winter/CWD deer hunting seasons, which ended Sunday.
Considering how horrifically cold it was for nearly all four days, that seemed like a high number to me, but Paul Shelton said,
No, I thought they would take at least 10,000. Until I got up Friday morning and it was one degree.
Some northern areas dropped below zero each day.
Top five counties were Pike (441), Fulton (378), JoDaviess (346), Adams (280) and Wayne (245).
The second split in the late-winter/CWD seasons is Jan. 15-17.
To participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program go to http://dnr.state.il.us/legislation/isah/.
BUCK OF THE WEEK
There's several more weeks of good entries, at least.
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.
I am somewhat ashamed to say I was out only three times: opening day for pheasants, once at Des Plaines for put and take pheasants on Thanksgiving and once with my neighbor to kick out some fence rows in December for rabbits.
It's too late now, unless I head down south. Hunting in the north zone for rabbit, cock pheasant, gray partridge and bobwhite quail ends Friday, and I will not be out before then.
Hunting in the south zone for pheasant, partridge and quail ends Jan. 15. Hunting in the south zone for rabbits ends Jan. 22.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Hunting for Canada, snow and white-fronted geese end Saturday. The wide open (no limits) conservation order season for snow/blue and Ross' geese opens Sunday and runs through March 31, but I haven't heard many reports of snows in the north zone.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL
Braidwood had a solid four days last week with 144 geese bagged. I would expect those numbers to shoot up dramatically this week with nearly all other waters icing up.
Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
SOUTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Icing is even starting to impact southern areas. Duck season runs through Tuesday. Canada goose and white-fronted goose seasons run through Jan. 31.
Monday is the deadline for the second lottery for spring hunting. Bowhunting is open through Jan. 17.
Hunting ends on Jan. 31.
Hunting ends in the north zone on Feb. 10; in the south, on Feb. 15.
Season ends Feb. 15.
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.
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.