A quick check of public sites suggests a better opener
than expected for dove hunting, despite the heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac in many areas, and the dove opener leads this Illinois Hunting Report.
In years past, I have done the IHR on Tuesdays, but I may switch it up and be more variable this year.
Teal season opens Saturday. It is always interesting whether any will be around.
DOVES: Dan at Des Plaines SFWA said they had doves in all the fields, which may explain why Des Plaines leads northeast Illinois sites.
Retired site super Frank Snow helped out with the opener Saturday at Iroquois SWA and said right before the draw a deluge came that dropped 2 inches and sent ``a river flowing'' through the waiting area. Even so, they had hunters limiting out by 2 p.m.
Kerry Novak at Shabbona Lake SRA said they had doves flying all day.
I did a check with site staff around northeast Illinois and here is opening day report.
Des Plaines SFWA: 87 hunters, 1,038 doves, 11.9 doves per hunter
Iroquois County SWA: 68, 761, 11.2
Matthiessen SP: 96, 960, 10
Silver Springs SFWA: 94, 684, 7.3
Shabbona Lake SRA: 37, 240, 6.5
Kankakee River SP: 32, 203, 6.3
Chain O'Lakes SP: 18, 13, 0.7
Mazonia SFWA: No staked hunt. North Unit only. Sign in at office.
The daily bag is 15.
Note: In recent years, there has been some different doves, other than just mourning doves, being spotted in the field more commonly. Here are the regulations on the various doves and their hunting, from the Illinois Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations:
The daily bag and possession limits include mourning doves and white-winged doves in the aggregate. There is no bag limit on Eurasian-collared doves and ringed turtle doves, but they may be taken only during the established season dates and hours and using only legal methods for mourning doves. Hunters may not remain in the field for the purpose of taking Eurasian-collared doves or ringed turtle doves after they reach their daily bag limit for mourning/white-winged doves.
TEAL: Season opens Saturday and runs through Sept. 23. The big question is the lack of water, even with some coming from the remnants of Isaac.
EARLY CANADA GOOSE: Those with access to water had some good reports. Season runs through Sept. 15. And corn harvest, at least up until the downpours from the remnants of Hurricane Isaac, is well ahead of the 5-year average meaning many more fields are picked.
WATERFOWL & BAITING CLARIFICATION: Here's the word of clarification from the IDNR via the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, on baiting definitions and regulations in this drought year:
Dear Waterfowl Hunters:
Due to ongoing drought conditions in Illinois, some farmers are mowing or tilling their unharvested crop fields to collect crop insurance payments. The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) reminds hunters that the manipulation, including mowing or tilling, of unharvested crop fields is not a normal agricultural practice for waterfowl hunting purposes. The IDNR has received guidance on this issue from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Federal baiting laws still apply, even during times of drought. Therefore, it is a violation of the baiting laws under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act if scattered grain is not totally removed 10 days prior to hunting. Hunters should familiarize themselves with baiting laws in Illinois. For more information on waterfowl baiting regulations, refer to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service website link regarding baiting regulations at http://www.fws.gov/le/waterfowl-hunting-and-baiting.html.
Questions regarding hunting crop fields mowed or tilled due to drought insurance claims;
1. If a standing grain crop is 100% void of any ears (corn field produced no ears), can the field be mowed then hunted? Yes, as long as there is no grain present in the field. A field that produces NO ears of corn will probably be a rare occurrence.
2. If a standing grain crop has any amount of grain present after it is mowed, can it be hunted? No, it is a "baited area" until 10 days after the complete removal of the grain.
3. Can a standing crop that was mowed be disked and made legal for hunting? The field can only be hunted after all exposed grain has been completely removed or buried for a period of 10 days. Hunters should keep in mind that if a dry field is tilled to the extent that no grain is visibly present, strong winds or the first rain is likely to wash off some covered grain, thus still making it a baited situation.
4. Why can a person not hunt over a mowed area? Under federal baiting regulations, mowing or tilling of a standing crop is not a "normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice" as determined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Cooperative Extension Service.
. . .
For questions about federal baiting regulations, please call 217-782-6431, Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
DEER NOTES: Running through Sept. 10, permit applications are accepted for random daily drawings for 2012 Illinois firearm and muzzleloader deer permits, Click here. . . . EHD reports are starting to mount across the state.
RAIL: Almost forgot, season opens for rail (Sora & Virginia only) on Saturday and runs through Nov. 16.
SQUIRREL: In northeast Illinois, more public sites are now open and most will remain so through September.