It's a mixed review for opening day of dove hunting--as expected, generally down--in this special edition of the Illinois Hunting Report. This update is probably it.
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.
Obviously, this is going up on a Thursday.
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As usual, private hunting appeared far better, but there has been some good solid hunting at public sites too. I have included a few Downstate sites with all the sites around northeast Illinois.
The surprise may be Iroquois County SWA, which had the highest average over the season last year, but was not expected to have much of an opener because of a lack of doves.
Site super Frank Snow said guys scouting over the weekend didn't see hardly any birds. I was out a couple times there in the past week or so and saw very few.
And bingo the birds showed up yesterday. Go figure. Hunters averaged 8.4 doves.
MATTHIESSEN SP: As expected, the top site near Chicago with 138 hunters bagging 1,417 doves for an average of 10.3 doves per hunter.
SHELBYVILLE: What an odd day. The West Okaw fields were incredible with an average of 11.9 birds per hunter (1,168 doves, 98 hunters). While the Kaskaskia fields were awful (30 hunters, 36 doves)
IROQUOIS COUNTY SWA: It's reputation proceeded it. More than a 100 hunters lined up for the draw. It was less than a 50-50 chance on the draw. Those who drew had shooting, the birds showed up.
Snow said 10 guys limited out and in all 58 hunters bagged 483 doves (8.4).
JIM EDGAR PANTHER CREEK SFWA: What unique here is there are basically two opening days. The odd fields, which were in worse shape, were shot yesterday, and 137 hunters only bagged 840 doves. Site staff expect more than 1,200 birds to come off the even fields today.
DES PLAINES SFWA: Slow day at what is often a top site with 90 hunters taking 347 doves.
KANKAKEE RIVER SP: As expected, a tough opener with 45 hunters taking 107 doves. Youth hunt is Saturday.
CHAIN O'LAKES SP: Better than usual here with 17 hunters bagging 33 doves. It's all perspective.
SHABBONA LAKE SRA: Disappointing day with 50 hunters taking 90 doves (1.8).
GREEN RIVER SWA: Weather likely impacted here too, about 150 hunters only bagged 280 birds.
MARSEILLES SFWA: Pouring rain probably had an impact, but 25 hunters only took 23 doves.
MAZONIA SFWA: 21 hunters, 14 doves. About usual. North Unit only. Sign in at shack by the office.
SILVER SPRINGS SFWA: Maybe one of the worst openers ever at what was once a top site with 92 hunters taking only 28 doves. Weedy fields contributed, but site super Jeff Wepprecht said the birds had disappeared.