A surprisingly good squirrel report 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.
I didn't expect much from the opening of squirrel hunting on Monday, What it was pushing the mid-90s and felt like soup outside. I know I decided the smart thing was to wait a day or two before doing my annual wander through the summer woods with a shotgun over my shoulder.
Well, just to be thorough, I checked with Frank Snow, the veteran super at Iroquois County SWA--the one nearby site open in August--for his opening day report.
And I couldn't believe it. Eight hunters reported 25 squirrels. I often hunt the opening week there and it's odd when there's more than a handful shot.
``I have never in 30 years had that many squirrels taken on opening day,'' Snow said.
Archery deer, turkey and firearm youth deer permits are on sale over-the-counter.
Applications may be made for free upland permits. This is the coolest hunting program run by the IDNR.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL
The line for goose hunting between the central and north zone in northeast Illinois was returned to I-80. The duck line remains the one gerrymandered five years ago in Grundy, Will and Cook counties.
The fourth zone was approved by the feds late last week.
Season opens, as usual, on Sept. 1. Free dove permits phone-in period began today.
EARLY CANADA GOOSE SEASON
Season is Sept. 1-15. Regs remain the same.
Season is Sept. 3-18.
BUCK OF THE WEEK PHOTOS
I know this is early for the traditional BOTW for hunters, by only two months though, 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 on Wednesdays.
E-mail nominations to email@example.com
CONTROLLED PHEASANT HUNTS
Here's the word from the IDNR:
Illinois Controlled Pheasant Hunting Reservation Information Now Available Online
Online applications for IDNR-managed sites begin Aug. 1
SPRINGFIELD, IL -Controlled pheasant hunting opportunities will be available at 19 Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) sites this fall, and the 2011-12 season dates and permit reservation information are now available online.
Fifteen of the sites are operated by the IDNR, while four other sites will continue to be operated in a public/private partnership arrangement between the IDNR and concessionaire T. Miller, Inc.
"The controlled pheasant program provides an upland game hunting experience for thousands of hunters in Illinois each year and is a great opportunity for young hunters to have success," said IDNR Director Marc Miller. "We hear frequently about how much the program is appreciated and we are pleased to be able to continue it another year. Now is the time to check the website and make plans for the upcoming season."
The online permit reservation system for the 15 IDNR-operated sites opens on Aug. 1 and permit information, season dates, and other information are now available. Detailed information and permit reservations are now available for the four sites managed by T. Miller, Inc. Hunters need to review the application instructions and season information accessible online prior to submitting an application.
On IDNR-operated sites, controlled pheasant hunting fees will remain the same for the 2011-12 season. The daily permit fee for the controlled pheasant program is $25 for resident hunters and $35 for nonresident hunters. The daily permit fee applies to each hunter. Hunters will be required to pay for reserved permits in advance over a secure online system using an American Express, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa credit card. The credit card account will be billed when hunters submit an application. A transaction fee of $2.50 will be assessed for each application, except for applications submitted for the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt.
The public/private partnership controlled pheasant hunting areas are Chain O'Lakes State Park in Lake County, Silver Springs State Fish and Wildlife Area in Kendall County, Ramsey Lake State Recreation Area in Fayette County, and Horseshoe Lake State Park in Madison County. Information about controlled pheasant hunting at these sites is available on the concessionaire's website at www.tmillerinc.com or via a link on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov.
Of the 15 sites operated by the IDNR, five offer only the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt opportunity for young hunters between the ages of 10-15. Those five sites are the Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area in Tazewell County, Clinton Lake State Recreation Area in DeWitt County, Edward Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area in Logan County, Sangchris Lake State Park in Christian and Sangamon Counties and the World Shooting and Recreational Complex in Randolph County.
Nine sites provide lengthy hunting seasons for hunters as well as special hunting days for young hunters. Those nine sites are Johnson Sauk Trail State Recreation Area in Henry County, Des Plaines State Fish and Wildlife Area in Will County, Kankakee River State Park in Kankakee County, Iroquois County State Wildlife Area, Moraine View State Recreation Area in McLean County, Sand Ridge State Forest in Mason County, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area in Cass County, Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area in Clinton County, and Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area in Jefferson and Franklin Counties.
Green River State Wildlife Area in Lee County provides 15 days of controlled pheasant hunting during a season that extends from early November until just before Christmas.
At Des Plaines, Moraine View and Eldon Hazlet, hunting opportunities are available for hunters with disabilities where special vehicles are provided to assist with the hunt.
Online permit reservations for the first drawing period on IDNR-operated sites will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 1 through 1:00 p.m. on Aug. 8. Two additional one-week drawing periods are scheduled thereafter. Hunters need to review the application instructions and season information on the controlled pheasant hunting website prior to submitting an application. To navigate to the controlled pheasant hunting website once the IDNR website www.dnr.illinois.gov has been accessed, hunters should follow these directions:
• Click on "Upland Game" from the drop down menu under the "Hunting/Trapping" button on the toolbar
• Then click on "Controlled Pheasant Areas" under the "Quick Links" heading
IDNR-operated controlled pheasant hunting sites will continue to have a portion of their hunter quota allocated to standby hunters. Standby hunters acquire permits and pay permit fees at the site hunter check station on the day of the hunt. For those sites involved in the Illinois Youth Pheasant Hunt, standby permits are only available at Edward Madigan State Fish and Wildlife Area, Mackinaw River State Fish and Wildlife Area and Sangchris Lake State Park.
Hunters without computers are encouraged to gain access to the controlled pheasant hunting online reservation system by checking with family or friends with a computer or by using a computer at their local public library. Completing a permit reservation online takes less than five minutes.
ILLINOIS HUNTING ONLINE
For IDNR hunting info, click here.
For the Illinois 2011-12 Digest of Hunting & Trapping Regulations, click here.
Waiting on the 2011-12 edition of the Digest of Waterfowl Hunting Regulation.
For the 2009-10 Illinois Public Hunting Areas Report, click here. The 2010-11 version should be out shortly.
For Illinois crop reports (generally posted Monday afternoons, holiday weekends are the exceptions), click here.