As expected, the stretch of warm or hot weather for the last week dramatically slowed deer harvest by bowhunters, though the weekend youth hunt had solid numbers.
As to the drop from opening weekend, one of the greatest ever, my gut says the heat impacted hunter effort more than the deer or deer movement.
Here are the latest numbers from forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton:
Archery: Through October 9, archery deer hunters in Illinois harvested 8872 deer, compared to 8936 last year during that same period. After a very fast start to the season, a series of 85 degree days seems to have put a damper on hunter participation and success, so last weekend was a little on the slow side. Harvest sex ratios to date have been 71% female to 29% male. Top five counties are Pike (334), Fulton (233), Vermilion (232), Jefferson (224), and Peoria (188).
Youth: Youth deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 1851 during the October 8-9, 2011 Youth Season. This compares to the preliminary total of 1534 deer taken during last year's season. Harvest sex ratios were 48% female to 52% male. Top five counties were Pike (103), Jefferson (53), Randolph (53), Adams (51), and Fulton (48). The record harvest for this season occurred during 2009, when 2409 deer were taken.