This week marks the true start to hunting in Illinois outdoors for the 2011-12 season and leads this Illinois Hunting Report.
During the hunting seasons, the extended online version of the IHR, which appears most weeks during the hunting season in the outdoors page of 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.
Season opens, as usual, on Thursday, Sept. 1. Plenty of doves are being seen on private ground. The reports on public sites in northeast Illinois are spottier.
Here's my ranking of the main NE Illinois sites: Matthiessen SP: Permit site, some standbys will get on. Good sunflowers. Many doves. Should be a top site in state again. Iroquois County SWA: Draw site (11 a.m.). Good sunflowers. Many doves. Expect another good opener. Des Plaines SFWA: Permit site. Decent sunflowers; fair doves on site, plenty in area. Silver Springs SFWA: Permit site. Decent sunflowers; fair doves on site, plenty in area. Kankakee River SP: Fair sunflowers, some doves. Shabbona Lake SRA: Fair sunflowers, few doves. Chain O'Lakes SP: Burnt wheat. Fair prospects. Mazonia SFWA: North unit only. Sign in at office parking lot. Poor prospects. Marseilles SFWA: Fields did not turn out, so no draw. Hunters may sign in, walk on.
EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASON
Season opens Thursday and runs through Sept. 15. Regs remain the same. Trick is finding open fields to hunt.
Season is Saturday through Sept. 18. Aerial surveys were to be flown today or tomorrow. I have not seen results yet. Nor have I heard many reports. But the weather change Friday night could be good for fresh birds.
Applications may be made for free upland permits through Wednesday. This is the coolest hunting program run by the IDNR.
In August, Iroquois County SWA is one site open in northeast Illinois. In September, many more sites open, such as Silver Springs SFWA and Kankakee River SP after Labor Day.
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
It is early for the traditional BOTW for hunters, by only a month, but some nice buck photos are starting to arrive BOTW: Unplugged, the weekly celebration of live big bucks around Chicago outdoors.
BOTW runs Wednesdays and BOTW: Unplugged on Sundays on the outdoors page in the Sun-Times.
E-mail nominations to email@example.com
Resident and non-resident Illinois Youth Firearm Deer permits are available over-the-counter (OTC) from DNR Direct license and permit vendors, by phone at 1-888-673-7648 (1-888-6PERMIT), or online at www.dnr.illinois.gov through Wednesday. It's OTC only after Wednesday.
The second lottery deadline for the Illinois 2011 Public Duck and Goose Hunting Area Permit program runs through Sept. 13 for those unsuccessful resident applicants from the first lottery, residents who didn't apply in the first lottery, and non-residents. All initial applications must be made online at www.dnr.illinois.gov/duck or www.dnr.illinois.gov/goose.
Archery deer, turkey and firearm youth deer permits are on sale over-the-counter.
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2011-12 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
For the 2010-11 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here.
The 2011-12 edition of the Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulation is now online, click here.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.