Illinois deer hunters had a good first firearm season, reporting close to the same number of deer as first season last year.
That was despite extreme wind, especially in northern areas, on Friday and Saturday.
There was still some rutting activity going on, so I am curious if the percentage of bucks will drop significantly during the second firearm season next week.
Hunters Take Preliminary Total of 66,501 Deer During First Weekend of Illinois Firearm Deer Season
Seven-day hunt will conclude Dec. 1-4
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 66,501 deer during the opening weekend of the 2011 Illinois Firearm Deer season on Nov. 18-20, the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) announced today. The seven-day firearm season will conclude on Dec. 1-4.
The preliminary total for the first three days of the 2011 firearm season compares with the first weekend harvest of 68,037 deer during the 2010 deer season and 66,126 deer during the opening weekend in 2009. The top county harvest totals last weekend were reported in Pike (1917), Adams (1784), Fulton (1775), JoDaviess (1664), and Jefferson (1496) counties.
Hunters harvested 98,944 deer during the entire seven-day firearm deer season in 2010. The preliminary first-season harvest figures reported for each county include those deer taken on special hunt areas within that county as well as on private land.
"Corn harvest was pretty much complete throughout the state except for some parts of northern Illinois," said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton. "Although windy weather on opening day presented a little bit of a challenge to hunters, this was fairly typical fall weather. Biologists working at northern Illinois check stations saw a number of very nice deer being registered, and we seem to be right on target as far as projected harvest."
Along with the thousands of hunters in the field this weekend, IDNR Conservation Police were also out protecting the public and wildlife while conducting compliance checks throughout Illinois. During the first weekend of firearm deer season, Conservation Police issued 547 citations for wildlife code violations and 630 written warnings throughout the state.
The IDNR has issued more than 330,000 firearm deer hunting permits to date for the 2011 season. Remaining firearm season and other deer hunting permits are available from DNR Direct vendors. Find a vendor through the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov/LPR/Pages/LicensePermitVendors.aspx
Most hunters register their deer harvest online through the IDNR web site or by phoning 1-866-ILCHECK (1-866-452-4325) by 10 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters in Boone, DeKalb, Grundy, Jo Daviess, Kane, LaSalle, McHenry, Ogle, Stephenson and Winnebago counties take their deer to county check stations (by 8 p.m. on the day of harvest) where the IDNR registers the deer and conducts sampling for chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Approximately 61 percent of the deer taken during the first weekend of firearm hunting were bucks, compared with a first-season harvest sex ratio of 60% bucks:40% does in 2010.
The Illinois firearm deer season concludes Dec. 1-4. The muzzleloader-only deer season is Dec. 9-11. The split Late-Winter Antlerless-only Firearm Deer Season and the Special CWD Deer Season are Dec. 29, 2011-Jan. 1, 2012 and Jan. 13-15, 2012. The 2011-2012 Illinois Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 15, 2012 (except closed in firearm counties during the second firearm season Dec. 1-4).