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Recent entries


Through the Lens

What Do the Numbers Tell Us?

Thu, November 07, 2019

Now more than ever the R3 movement is steamrolling throughout governmental agencies and conservation. We have multiple programs, activities, and events solely aimed at Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation of hunters.

We know hunter numbers are dropping – but have you ever given much thought to the actual numbers in Illinois?

I recently became involved in conversation with a fellow waterfowler who said he simply didn’t believe it. Where he hunts, the crowds and competition for public land hunting spots just continues to grow each year.  Similar conversation with a few deer hunting friends.  These anecdotal observations didn’t seem to jive with all of the wailing and gnashing of teeth about our declining hunter numbers, and the vast sums of money being spent to address that problem in Illinois. 

So, off I went in search of some those hard numbers and found a wealth of information on the DNR website.  If you have the time – make a visit to

The information there will alternately anger you, possibly confuse you, and if nothing else, make you think and ask your self why the numbers are what they are. What can you as a hunter in Illinois do to improve our numbers? In truth, I’m still trying to unpack the numbers that came up in some of my searches and reconcile them to admittedly anecdotal information. Some seem to make zero sense. Yep..I’m still trapped in the search and filter part of this particular rabbit hole.

Here are few interesting tidbits I pulled out while perusing the data available.  What are your thoughts on these numbers, and what do you think they are really telling us?