Illinois bowhunters are ahead of last year's harvest rate for deer, and the shift toward more bucks is but one indication of the early stages of the rut.
That shift toward the rut is the best news in Illinois outdoors.
Here's the word from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton:
Illinois archery deer hunters have taken a preliminary 17,744 deer through October 23, compared to 17,008 during that same period last year. Harvest rates picked up somewhat beginning Friday last week as wind speeds subsided. Hunters are beginning to take more bucks as the season progresses, with harvest sex ratios near 60% female/40% male over the weekend. Cumulative harvest sex ratios to date have been 69% female/31% male. Top five counties are Pike (704), Fulton (491), Jefferson (413), Vermilion (398), and Peoria (380).