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Illinois Hunting Report: Firearm deer season nears

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Conditions look very promising for the opening of Illinois' first firearm deer season on Friday, which, obviously, leads this Illinois Hunting Report.


I am getting the yips already. Last week, I touched up the deer stand. Yesterday, I washed and hung all my deer-hunting clothes.

Bowhunters are certainly having major success and are closing in on 50,000 deer reported since the season opened Oct. 1. By mid-morning Tuesday, the count stood at 49,494.

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, e-mail me at or post in the comments.


The weather forecast looks like a good fall weekend. And the deer are moving. It could be a very interesting first firearm season, Friday through Sunday.

Along with a nice buck photo, Bob Coine of Heartland Studios in Oregon sent this observation:

``It looks as though your timing couldn't be better, I think the rut peak probably will hit during gun season this year.''

The deer are certainly moving, but it varies widely.

Jason Berger, a Warrenville man who sent a very worthy BOTW, also noted,

``[I] have been seeing a fair share of moderate chasing and following for a few weeks now. It seems like over the last handful of years it has gotten harder and harder to pin point the peak of the rut. Almost like the does are going into season more sporadically.''

Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton reminded:

Be sure to wear orange, and make sure you've got all your necessary paperwork in your pocket!

I frantically worry about my paperwork every year, rooting through my bag to make sure I have the right permit. It is almost a compulsion.

Click here for the update on harvest by bowhunters through Sunday night.

LATE-WINTER: Monday is the last day to apply for permits for the late-winter hunt at site-specific areas.


In the last two weeks, a bunch of good nominations came in. I think BOTW will have a long run this year. BOTW runs on the outdoors page in the Sun-Times on Wednesdays. I usually post it here on Stray Casts on Tuesday.

E-mail nominations to


This is a good time for a reminder to participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. Click here for info, including participating processors.


There are standby possibilities at Heidecke Lake and the Morris Wetlands SFWA. The draw will be at Heidecke Lake by 5 a.m. There will be 38 hunters in the field throughout each hunting day.


One of the coolest hunting charity events around Chicago outdoors is Liv's Hunt for a Cure in the north suburbs. This year it is Dec. 3-4. Click here for details and to register.


At least in some areas, fresh birds finally arrived.

As Mike Richied, a guide with Ultimate Waterfowlers, said:

Waterfowling definitely picked up this weekend in Illinois. We are starting to see more geese and plenty of ducks make their way down due to harsh weather up north. On a side note, special congratulations are in order to Romeoville, IL native and Ultimate Waterfowlers guide Wade Walling on winning the most prestigious goose calling contest, the 2010 Champion of Champions. The contest took place this past weekend at the waterfowl festival in Easton, Maryland.

Click here for a note on Walling.

Public sites remain slow. William Powers SRA (open Wednesday-Sunday) had seven hunters blank Saturday, then eight bagged five ducks on Sunday. . . . Heidecke Lake (open Wednesday-Sunday) had 16 hunters do decently on Saturday with 21 ducks, including a pintail, but Sunday had eight hunters only bag seven.

Seasons: Duck season runs through Dec. 14; Canada geese, snow geese and white-fronted geese seasons run through Jan. 8.


Some fresh birds arrived, but not as many as I would have hoped. Remember Canada goose season is closed again.

At Braidwood (open Wednesday-Sunday), Sunday was the breakout day with 71 ducks bagged in a week that saw 131 reported. From both Mazonia units, only 11 ducks were reported.

I hunted Kankakee River State Park twice last week and heard only one volley and only saw a couple high fliers.

Duck season runs through Dec. 28. White-fronted geese open Sunday and run through Jan. 31. The second Canada goose season is Nov. 24-Jan. 31. Snow geese through Jan. 31;


Click here for the word on waterfowling at Emiquon and Merwin preserves.


Seasons: 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.


Seasons are open. Crops are out, concentrating birds and rabbits. With deer season open this weekend, I suspect this will take a bit of a back seat.

Daily bag for cock pheasant is two, for gray partridge is two, bobwhite quail, eight, and rabbit, four.


Through Tuesday mid-morning, 529 turkeys were reported harvested by bowhunters.

Applications for spring permits are being accepted.


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.


Season runs through Nov. 29.


Season runs through Dec. 19.


Hunting runs through Feb. 28.


Click here for the latest update on hunting season dates at Marseilles SFWA.


To find daily harvest reports on deer and turkey, click here.


Click here for the latest posting of Illinois' aerial waterfowl surveys.


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.


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.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on November 16, 2010 11:07 AM.

Illinois deer hunting: Bowhunters near 50,000 deer was the previous entry in this blog.

Illinois deer hunting: Official word on first firearm season is the next entry in this blog.

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