The opening of waterfowl hunting in the north zone leads this Illinois Hunting Report.
That's Buck the Wonder Dog, Jerry Pabst's Lab, retrieving a goose Saturday morning.
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.
Crop harvest remains absurdly fast: Corn is 93 harvested statewide, compared to 10 percent last year and the five-year average of 54. Soybeans are 90 percent harvested.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Waterfowl hunting opened in the north zone on Saturday:
Mike Richied, a guide with Ultimate Waterfowlers, reported an outstanding weekend:
We had another opener for the record books. Opening day, every hunter had his or her limit of geese with a few ducks mixed in by 7:30am. The geese seemed almost too easy. One thing I noticed was that they were really hitting beanfields hard both days. This morning, myself and 2 hunters had our limit of geese again by 7:15! While driving around scouting I also noticed that every group of geese I saw in fields were in beans. The trick for us this weekend was extremely unpressured birds, very little calling and spreading out our decoys as much as possible. If there was one negative this weekend, it would have to be the lack of ducks in the area.
On opening day, I hunted with Jeff Norris at Fox Valley Guide Service in Kane County and had a solid hunt. Norris said until colder weather sets in the geese will be concentrated in the soybean fields. it was something to see almost all the corn harvested driving back and forth.
William Powers SRA (Wednesday-Sunday) had an OK opening weekend: 75 hunters took 14 geese, 14 mallards and four other ducks
Heidecke Lake (Wednesday-Sunday) had a tough opening weekend: 101 hunters took 18 Canada geese, 13 mallards, six ringnecks, six redheads, three black ducks, a green-winged teal, and a shoveler.
Seasons: Ducks run through Dec. 14; Canada geese and Snow geese through Jan. 8. White-fronted goose season is Oct. 29-Jan. 8.
Through noon Tuesday, bow hunters reported taking 14,208 deer.
Click here for the last comparison of bowhunting numbers and the totals from the youth hunt.
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
With bowhunting for deer open, I would like to begin BOTW. If they come, I will run them on the outdoors page in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, and Tuesdays here on Stray Casts. I didn't have one this week.
E-mail nominations to email@example.com
NE ILLINOIS DEER NOTES
In northeast Illinois, there are some changes.
Some unbelievable stories are coming from the 835 huntable acres of Morris Wetlands SFWA, which is open for bowhunting for either sex of deer. Obtain a parking permit at Goose Lake Prairie SNA, then sign in and out at the inside gate off Pine Bluff Road. We hear of a big 12-point and a 17-point non-typical taken so far.
At Des Plaines SFWA near Wilmington, bowhunters no longer need a site permit. However, they need to sign in and out, and report harvest at the nearest check station: either the main office or the west parking lot of the Area B.
Biologist Dan Ludwig said the first archery deer hunt for James ``Pate'' Philip State Park will have 48 hunters spread over eight 14-day periods in six hunting areas.
Applications for spring permits are starting to be accepted as of today.
The fall shotgun season is Friday through Oct. 31, 2010.
Through Tuesday noon, 181 turkeys were reported harvested by bowhunters.
MARSEILLES SFWA HUNTING DATES
CENTRAL AND SOUTH WATERFOWL SEASONS
CENTRAL: Youth Hunt is this weekend.
Other seasons: 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.
SOUTH: 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.
The first season continues through Oct. 31.
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.
Ed Smith provided a pictorial on how to clean a squirrel for PrairieStateOutdoors.com.
Sora and Virginia only are legal. Season runs through Nov. 12. Daily limit is 25.
Season runs through Nov. 29.
Season runs through Dec. 19. Daily bag is eight.
Season is Oct. 28-Feb. 28.
ILLINOIS HARVEST REPORT
To find daily harvest reports on deer and turkey, click here.
WATERFOWL AERIAL SURVEYS
Click here for the latest posting of Illinois' aerial waterfowl surveys.
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.
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2010-11 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2010-2011 edition of the Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulation, 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.