If you hunt, you can't help but watch the weather;
and it looks promising for the second firearm deer season and for more incoming waterfowl, all leading this Illinois Hunting Report.
The photo above is Mike Resetich coming back with a black duck on a 2007 hunt along the Illinois River. I like the image, I think it captures the essence of waterfowling.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or post in the comments.
The big story is the second firearm season Thursday through Sunday.
Looking at the weather, it looks like at least some of us might have light snow or snow cover by the weekend. I always find deer hunting much more enjoyable with snow cover. Maybe it is just because I have horrible eyesight and snow helps me spot deer before they spot me.
Firearm hunters will not get reach the 2005 record, but the weather will almost certainly help them surpass last year's totals.
Meanwhile, the biggest buck so far taken in Illinois is a non-typical arrowed in Clark County green-scoring in the 240s, according to Tim Walmsley, a blogger at Heartland Outdoors. Click here for a photo and a couple graphs.
Even though some quality bucks have been taken by bowhunters, the overall bow kill is well off last year's. Through 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, bowhunters were reporting a kill of 56,193, down significantly from last year at this time (64,864). Off-hand, I am not quite sure why that would be.
NORTHEAST ILLINOIS DEER NOTE
There will be standby possibilities at Heidecke Lake again for Heidecke, Goose Lake Prairie and Morris Wetlands SFWA. The sites have produced 10-point bucks during the first firearm season. For standby, be there by 5 a.m. That's when permitted hunters must be checked in.
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
I am backed up with good nominations. That's a wonderful thing to have happen. With what I have already, 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 email@example.com
DEER AND HUNGER
This is a good time for a reminder to participate in the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program. Click here for info, including participating processors.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Some fresh birds are here.
The best example is at Heidecke Lake, which had its best weekend of the year: On Saturday, 39 hunters took 30 goldeneye, 11 mallards, two gadwalls, a black duck and a shoveler; then on Sunday, 39 hunters took 16 mallards, 11 goldeneye, three bluebills, two black ducks, two shovelers, a bufflehead and a gadwall.
On the other hand, there was William Powers SRA, where it was surprisingly slow over the weekend: zero (that's 0) ducks on Saturday and only three on Sunday.
Mike Richied, a guide with Ultimate Waterfowlers, sent this note on some of the changes:
This past weekend was basically a tale of two different weekends. Friday was extremely tough, so tough that we cancelled a few hunts on Saturday. Sunday greeted us with large numbers of birds moving, but they were extremely tough, taking tons of calling, flagging, large decoy spreads etc... We're hoping to get some good hunting weather next weekend for the cystic fibrosis event, but the weather man is saying more of the same. Hope your season is going well.
Duck season runs through Dec. 14; Canada geese, snow geese and white-fronted geese seasons run through Jan. 8.
LIV's HUNT FOR A CURE
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 Friday and Saturday. Click here for details and to register.
Some signs of an influx of fresh birds, though it could be better.
Braidwood had a big spike on the backside of the weather on Thursday with 118 ducks taken, but by the weekend it was back to about 60 a day.
Duck season runs through Dec. 28. Hunting for Canada geese, snow geese and white-fronted geese runs through Jan. 31.
WATERFOWLING AT EMIQUON & MERWIN
Duck season runs through Jan. 23. The second Canada goose season opens Wednesday, Dec. 1, then runs through Jan. 31. Snow geese and white-fronted geese hunting runs through Jan. 31.
Could there actually be some snow around northern areas to kick in some interest. Crops are out, concentrating birds and rabbits.
Daily bag for cock pheasant is two, for gray partridge is two, bobwhite quail, eight, and rabbit, four.
Through 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, bowhunters had a kill of 579, down significantly from the 820 at this point last year. Not sure why on that either.
Applications for spring permits are being accepted through Wednesday, Dec. 1.
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 Dec. 19.
Hunting 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.