The start of the rut leads this 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.
Crop harvest is complete for all practical purposes.
On Saturday, two Downstate farmers told me the same thing, deer are moving. It's just the beginning, but the rut is underway.
Tim Walmsley, Downstate bowhunting advocate and blogger for Heartland Outdoors, sent this status update for the rut:
Pretty much right on schedule- the young bucks-yearlings and 2 1/2 year olds are badgering the Does hard- Older bucks standing back watching- Cking scrapes and lot's of rubbing-The warmer weather kept a lot of the adult bucks in the timber- that's about to change right at the start of the real intense rut phase- The earliest I've ever seen Buck's actually "Doe up" to a hot Doe in Oct. 31st- and that's about here- so get ready- October was VERY quite around IL for big buck harvest- EVEN THOUGH THERE HASN'T BEEN ANY STANDING CORN! Everyone's excuse for last year- a joke-HeeHee- October was just too warm-Oct- 2009 was a slaughter for big bucks due to the rare cold month that it was-standing corn and all- Cooler weather form here on out will get the big boys killed-
Wind will keep down numbers on Wednesday, but this should be the first really big weekend for big bucks for bowhunters.
Illinois' harvest is off last year's. Through Sunday, bowhunters reported 17,745 deer, compared to 20,469 at the same time in 2009, 16,501 in '08 and 15,345 in '07, forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton said. Sex ratios were 68.5 percent female to 31.5 male. That will flip by the next update.
LATE-WINTER: Applications for permits for the late-winter hunt at site-specific areas are now available.
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
When some nominations are stockpiled, I will run them on the outdoors page in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays, and Tuesdays here on Stray Casts.
E-mail nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org
NE ILLINOIS DEER NOTES
In northeast Illinois, there are some changes.
Good stories come 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.
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.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Fresh geese are certainly needed. Hopefully, the big blow will motivate some to move.
Mike Richied, a guide with Ultimate Waterfowlers, sent this:
Just wanted to shoot you a quick update on our waterfowl season. We are up to 107 geese and 32 ducks so far. We have had to change our tactics a bit as we haven't gotten any new birds in the area and the local birds are getting smarter everyday. The trick lately has been aggressive calling and allowing fields to rest as much as possible. Hopefully we get some harsh weather and some new birds move in.
Public sites have been tough. William Powers SRA (open Wednesday-Sunday) had 31 hunters bag only nine ducks over the weekend. . . . Heidecke Lake (open Wednesday-Sunday) had another tough weekend with only 43 hunters taking a dozen ducks.
Seasons: Duck season runs through Dec. 14; Canada geese and Snow geese through Jan. 8. White-fronted goose season opens Friday and runs through Jan. 8.
The fall shotgun season ends Sunday. . . . Through Tuesday evening, firearm hunters had reported 407 turkeys. Through Tuesday evening, 255 turkeys were reported harvested by bowhunters. . . . Applications for spring permits are being accepted.
CENTRAL WATERFOWL SEASON
Waterfowl hunting opens in Illinois' central zone on Saturday. The draw at Braidwood Lake is 5:53 a.m. Weather wasn't particularly favorable for the youth hunt there with only 10 ducks and two geese bagged.
Seasons: Ducks Saturday-Dec. 28; Canada geese Saturday-Nov. 14 and Nov. 24-Jan. 31; Snow geese Saturday-Jan. 31; White-fronted geese Nov. 21-Jan. 31.
WATERFOWLING AT EMIQUON & MERWIN PRESERVES
SOUTH WATERFOWL SEASONS
Youth Hunt is 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 ends Sunday.
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.
Hunting opens Thursday and runs through Feb. 28.
MARSEILLES SFWA HUNTING DATES
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.