The beginning of crop harvest headlines this Illinois Hunting Report.
Corn harvest is underway statewide, but especially across the central part of the state. As of Monday, corn harvest was seven percent complete statewide. That's pretty unusual.
Even in northeast Illinois, corn harvest is beginning. I saw my first combine in northeast Illinois (behind the rig above) picking a cornfield on Friday.
On Monday, on my way to dove hunting, I saw a combine working a soybean field in what I think was Vermilion County.
Deer hunters and pheasant hunters alike are looking forward to a much earlier crop harvest than last year. I know of several farms where the corn wasn't picked until this spring near my deer stand.
Looking at the weather forecast, I suspect farmers will put a good dent into harvest over the next couple weeks.
A guy I was hunting doves with on Monday was already fired up because he is an avid pheasant hunter and the pheasant hunting should be significantly better with crops out.
Last week was the true beginning to hunting season in Illinois. Dove and early Canada goose opened on Wednesday and teal on Saturday.
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.
On Thursday, I posted an overview of public sites, it was not a particularly glowing one. Click here. The report on private land was much better, but even that was impacted by cold front on Thursday.
I had a good hunt in Vermilion County on Monday. But the guy I was hunting with knew the pickers would be in nearby fields by today and he figured it was about the end of good dove hunting.
Of the 10 birds I cleaned last night, only two had corn in their crops. A couple had sunflowers. And nearly all had what looked like orchard grass seeds. By later this week, there will be a lot more corn in the crops of doves.
EARLY CANADA GOOSE
Season runs through Sept. 15. Daily bag is five in the Northeast, North and Central zones; two in the south. Some fields are being harvested. I saw many birds moving on Friday after the cold front dropped through Thursday, but haven't heard much from goose hunters.
Season runs through Sept. 19. Daily bag is four, possession eight. I have heard very little.
In northeast Illinois, squirrel hunting is open at Iroquois County SWA, Matthiessen SP, Marseilles SWA (Monday-Thursday), Silver Springs SFWA, Momence Wetlands and Kankakee River SP. I think all of them run until Sept. 30.
Ed Smith provided a pictorial on how to clean a squirrel for PrairieStateOutdoors.com.
The general season runs through Feb. 15, except it is closed during firearm deer seasons in applicable counties. 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.
Illinois resident deer hunters are able to purchase 2010 Illinois Archery Deer Hunting Permits (combination archery and antlerless-only archery permits) online at www.dnr.state.il.us/license.html or over-the-counter from DNR Direct permit sale locations throughout Illinois. Archery season opens Oct. 1.
Youth Firearm Deer Hunt: The Illinois Youth Either-Sex Firearm Deer Hunt is Oct. 9-10. Permits for this season are available over-the-counter from DNR Direct license and permit vendors. To link to the website, go to www.dnr.state.il.us/license.html. For a list of IDNR and public land sites open for hunting during the youth firearm deer hunt in 2010, go to this link: www.dnr.state.il.us/admin/pdf/YouthDeer2010SitesOpen.pdf.
COYOTES AT SILVER SPRINGS
Here's another new opportunity later this hunting season to keep in mind. After the close of bowhunting in January, coyote hunting will open at Silver Springs SFWA.
PROPOSED WATERFOWL SEASONS
Youth Hunt Oct. 9-10
Ducks Oct. 16-Dec. 14
Canada geese Oct. 16-Jan. 8
Snow geese Oct.16-Jan. 8
White-fronted geese Oct. 29-Jan. 8
Youth Hunt Oct. 23-24
Ducks Oct. 30-Dec. 28
Canada geese Oct. 30-Nov. 14 and Nov. 24-Jan. 31
Snow geese Oct. 30-Jan. 31
White-fronted geese Nov. 21-Jan. 31
Youth Hunt Nov. 13-14
Ducks Nov. 25-Jan. 23
Canada geese: Nov. 25-28 and Dec. 1-Jan. 31
Snow geese Nov. 25-Jan. 31
White-fronted geese Nov. 25-Jan. 31
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2010-11 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2009-10 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.