I had hoped to get some photos of geese pouring into open water about sunset last night to lead this Illinois Hunting Report.
The geese cooperated. They arrived by the dozens, maybe even the hundreds, at a patch of open water on the Kankakee River at Aroma Park.
The problem was the snow was just as thick as the geese by then and none of the photos turned out worth a hoot for geese. Caught plenty of snow reflections.
But you get the idea. Find open water, find Canada geese.
We have settled into winter hunting for this Illinois Hunting Report.
Hardcores are still bowhunting for deer. With the snow cover, rabbit hunters are out, same for pheasant hunters.
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 email@example.com or post in the comments.
CONTROLLED PHEASANT HUNTING NOTE
Just a reminder for those looking for a holiday hunt. Click here for details on expanded controlled pheasant hunting, but the basics are that controlled pheasant hunting season has been extended at Iroquois County SWA until Sunday and hunter quotas have been increased at the Jim Edgar Panther SFWA.
Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton sent this update:
Through Sunday, December 19, 2010, Illinois archers harvested 58,471 deer, compared to 59,028 during the same time period last year. Harvest sex ratios to date are 50% female:50% male. Top five counties are Pike (3007), Fulton (1706), Jefferson (1326), Adams (1249), and Peoria (1153).
At this point in time, 44 counties are down to some extent (compared to last year), 1 county is exactly the same, and 57 counties are up to some extent.
Through 10:30 a.m. today, the total was 58,652 deer.
LATE-WINTER AND SPECIAL CWD DEER PERMITS
County permits for the 2010-11 late-winter antlerless-only firearm deer season and the special CWD deer season are available over the counter from DNR Direct permit sale locations throughout Illinois. Season dates are Dec. 30, 2010-Jan. 2, 2011 and Jan. 14-16, 2011. Click here to find a permit sale vendor:
NORTHEAST ILLINOIS DEER NOTE
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
Good nominations keep coming. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
DEER AND HUNGER
Click here for info, including participating processors, on the Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger program.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
Goose hunting, particularly field hunting, is good to outstanding.
Jeff Norris at Fox Valley Guide Service reported outstanding goose hunting in Kane County. On Monday, he sent this note:
We are loaded with fresh birds(many flew in today). Our fields are black.
Mike Richied, a guide with Ultimate Waterfowlers, sent this note on some of the changes:
This past weekend gave me a chance to get out on a buddy hunt with some family and friends out in Kaneville, IL near DeKalb. The action was fast and furious for geese, and I wish the duck season was open, cause we saw plenty of them too. My tip, as always, for this late in the season is scouting. Open water is the most important thing, as the geese can't survive without it. The geese tend to flock up this late in the season and they get THICK anywhere there's open water. So get out, find the birds, find some open water and have a safe hunt.
Canada geese, snow geese and white-fronted geese seasons run through Jan. 8.
Where there is open water, there is good to outstanding hunting. I saw hundreds of Canada geese over one little patch of open water on the Kankakee River at Aroma Park the other day. I heard the same for open water on the Fox and other spots on the Kankakee.
Braidwood (open Wednesday-Sunday) had an outstanding five days last week (Wednesday through Sunday) with hunters taking 275 ducks and 187 geese. Remember, Braidwood is closed Christmas Day.
Mazonia lakes are locked up.
Our blind at Kankakee River State Park has been iced out.
Duck season runs through Dec. 28. Hunting for Canada geese, snow geese and white-fronted geese runs through Jan. 31.
WATERFOWLING AT EMIQUON & MERWIN
Weather is pushing some Canada geese south in a more traditional migration. It will be curious to see if this year's results are different than recent years.
Duck season runs through Jan. 23. The second Canada goose season and snow geese and white-fronted geese seasons run through Jan. 31.
With the snow cover, upland hunters are hitting the fields big time. More snow may be coming on Christmas Eve, which could make for some interesting holiday hunting.
MAZONIA UPLAND NOTE
Upland game hunting opens in the Mazonia north unit opens Dec. 29 and runs through Jan. 8
Jan. 11 is the deadline for the second lottery for spring turkey permits for first-time applicants or rejected applicants. Non-residents may begin applying today. Click here to apply.
Through 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, bowhunters had a kill of 626.
Season runs through Feb. 15.
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.