Upland game hunting ends today in Illinois' north zone and there's an update on archery deer hunting; those are the leads for this Illinois Hunting Report.
It's been a few weeks since I pulled together a IHR, so will catch up on a few things.
UPLAND GAME: Hunting for pheasants, rabbits, quail and partridge ends in the north zone today. Biggest stories of the season were the early crop harvest, but on the down side there was virtually no snow cover. Those hunters, who contact me regularly during the season and have access to good farm cover, did well. It is no secret that habitat is the key. Have habitat, have upland game. Others did not, or did not even get out and try.
For myself, I was out twice and had one pheasant (brought a couple others home) on a farm in Will County, yes, with good cover. I drew a free upland permit to Green River SWA (above) and our group had a good hunt, though we only put two birds in the bag. Again, good cover near food.
Pheasant, quail and partridge hunting next Tuesday in the south zone. Rabbit season in the south runs through Jan. 22. The south zone actually has had better snow cover than the north zone.
DEER: Over-the-counter sales of remaining late-winter firearm antlerless-only and CWD deer season continues. That second season is Jan. 18-20.
Forest wildlife program manager Paul Shelton sent this update on archery deer hunting through Sunday:
As of January 6, 2013, Illinois archery deer harvest stood at 56,904, compared to 59,176 taken during the same time period last year. Two weeks of hunting remain in the season.
Sex ratios of the harvest to date are 49.5% female:50.5% male, and harvest during the past three weeks has been >60% female.
Top five counties to date are Pike (2679), Fulton (1918), Jefferson (1312), Adams (1283), and Peoria (1110). A table of individual county harvest results is attached.
One additional weekend of firearm hunting remains in select counties (please check regulations), with the Late Winter Deer Season and the concurrent Special CWD Deer Season on January 18-20, 2013.
Over-the-counter sales of remaining resident archery deer permits is ongoing. Archery season runs through Jan. 20.
Click here for info on donating your deer meat.
BUCK OF THE WEEK: Email nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org. With show season beginning, BOTW is about done for the year. I have about two more I would like to squeeze in. One of them I still need the details on. But if there is a monster or a masterful tale out there, bring it on.
TURKEYS: The deadline for the second lottery for spring turkey permits is Friday. Click here to apply online.
Archery season is open. Click here for details on the over-the-counter sales of remaining fall archery turkey permits.
NORTH ZONE WATERFOWL: The ducks season was very slow. Staff at William Powers SRA said it was their slowest in memory. At least there was virtually no freeze-up. Unfortunately, until the end, that was also true to our north. . . . With the cold, Canada geese, of which there are plenty around, have been flying later. Lack of snow has not helped to move around birds. Season runs through Jan. 17.
CENTRAL ZONE WATERFOWL: The duck season ending on Christmas was no gift. May have fared slightly better than the north zone, but it looks like a down year. At least there was virtually no freeze-up. Unfortunately, until the end, that was also true to our north. . . . There's some Canada geese around, but the lack of serious snow has not helped to move birds around. Canada geese season runs through Jan. 31.
SOUTH CENTRAL WATERFOWL: Duck season ends today. I have no feel for how well the seasons went there. There was some icing up in the final week plus. . . . Canada geese season runs through Jan. 31.
SOUTH WATERFOWL: Duck season runs through Jan. 20. By the sounds of the forecast, waters should be wide open this weekend. . . . Canada geese season runs through Jan. 31.
AERIAL WATERFOWL SURVEYS: Click here to see the results of aerial waterfowl surveys.
OUTDOORS ACCESS FOR YOUTH TURKEY HUNTING: Here is the word from the IDNR:
Apply Now for Outdoors Access for Youth Turkey Hunting: The Illinois Recreational Access Program (IRAP) is now taking applications from young hunters for 2013 spring turkey hunting. Youth hunters will be assigned a hunt site in one of the 23 counties in which private property has been leased by IDNR. Most assigned hunting areas are at least 40 acres in size and all have been evaluated for turkey activity and the high possibility of a good hunting experience for the youth. Eligible youth hunters must be under the age of 16 at the time of the hunt and must have completed a hunter safety education course. Applicants can apply for two of the three turkey seasons for which IRAP has leased sites for the spring of 2013 - Youth Season, 3rd Season and 4th Season. For more information, go to www.dnr.illinois.gov/conservation/irap. Youth are encouraged not to miss out and apply early.
HUNTING WORD AT MARSEILLES: Here is the word on hunting at Marseilles SFWA:
Marseilles SFWA Hunting Hours: Marseilles State Fish and Wildlife Area in La Salle County will be open again this year Wednesdays through Sundays for programmed hunting opportunities. The site will be closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Site hours will be 5:30 a.m. - 6:30 p.m. During the Firearm Deer Season, the check station will be opened at 4:30 a.m. Detailed specific information can be found on the Marseilles SFWA web page on the IDNR website at www.dnr.illinois.gov. For more information, contact Illini State Park at 815-795-2448.
SQUIRREL: In a couple weeks, it will basically be back to hunting for squirrels or Canada geese.
TRAPPING: Click here for info on trapping of river otters, which runs through March 31, same as beaver trapping.
Trapping for raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink, fox (red and gray), coyote in the north zone runs through Jan. 20; in the south zone, it is through Jan. 25. . . . Beaver trapping runs through March 31.
CROWS: Season runs through Feb. 28.