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Heartland Outdoors cover November 2017

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Jeff
JEFF
LAMPE

Scattershooting

Illinois deer harvest down

Wed, November 22, 2017

I remember my first few times hunting an Illinois shotgun deer season, years ago. As legal shooting time approached, shots rang out in the timber all around me.

The same thing happened toward dusk, as deer started moving again and hunters fired.

That was on private land. Crazier yet was a deer hunt one year at the Mackinaw State Fish and Wildlife Area, where hunters seemed to be crawling all over one another and kept deer moving all day. There too, shots fired out frequently.

Compared to those long-ago memories, last weekend was pretty quiet in the corner of Knox County we were hunting for the first weekend of shotgun deer season. There were occasional shots, but nothing like the barrages of old.

The most shooting we heard was likely nearby hunters sighting-in their guns Friday afternoon.

Given that and given Saturday’s inclement weather, it comes as no surprise that deer hunters shot just 51,365 deer in the first Illinois firearm season, down from 54,452 last year.

To me, there’s another factor at work here, too: the legalization of crossbow hunting.

Statistics show that more and more Illinois hunters are picking up the crossbow, with 28.86 percent of the archery harvest done with crossbows so far. An impressive 11.8 percent of those folks are new bowhunters and many are no doubt converted gun hunters.

Plus, it’s nice to have a long season that allows you to pick and choose when you hunt – instead of being forced to hunt in driving rainstorms, thunder and cold weather, as many endured this past weekend.


COUNTY
2016 Total
2017 Total


ADAMS
1642
1408
ALEXANDER
283
291
BOND
390
441
BOONE
87
82
BROWN
645
663
BUREAU
704
632
CALHOUN
482
505
CARROLL
529
425
  County
2016
  2017
CASS
475
429
CHAMPAIGN
165
133
CHRISTIAN
420
360
CLARK
715
775
CLAY
784
760
CLINTON
457
495
COLES
388
382
CRAWFORD
656
673
CUMBERLAND
494
478
DEKALB
79
67
DEWITT
192
180
DOUGLAS
105
96
EDGAR
387
365
EDWARDS
282
273
EFFINGHAM
589
580
FAYETTE
1050
1008
FORD
72
64
FRANKLIN
807
854
FULTON
1344
1270
GALLATIN
296
282
GREENE
660
641
GRUNDY
214
157
HAMILTON
786
779
HANCOCK
1079
1082
HARDIN
605
646
HENDERSON
372
319
HENRY
404
356
IROQUOIS
326
297
JACKSON
1562
1487
JASPER
675
663
JEFFERSON
1276
1328
JERSEY
444
410
JODAVIESS
1306
1155
JOHNSON
1166
1091
                           
  County
2016
  2017
KANE
18
19
KANKAKEE
125
118
KENDALL
67
52
KNOX
820
697
LAKE
5
3
LASALLE
537
431
LAWRENCE
375
394
LEE
359
328
LIVINGSTON
293
246
LOGAN
256
206
MACON
170
150
MACOUPIN
967
945
MADISON
444
493
MARION
1051
1081
MARSHALL
382
424
MASON
305
231
MASSAC
367
282
MCDONOUGH
597
525
MCHENRY
168
151
MCLEAN
363
324
MENARD
238
226
MERCER
605
518
MONROE
704
661
MONTGOMERY
551
509
MORGAN
508
452
MOULTRIE
134
138
OGLE
538
443
PEORIA
639
524
PERRY
814
815
PIATT
75
69
PIKE
1346
1187
POPE
1096
1092
PULASKI
281
221
PUTNAM
213
232
                           
County
2016
2017
RANDOLPH
1582
1603
RICHLAND
528
481
ROCKISLAND
552
455
SALINE
618
618
SANGAMON
385
391
SCHUYLER
901
871
SCOTT
264
196
SHELBY
782
733
STARK
136
135
STCLAIR
480
477
STEPHENSON
597
417
TAZEWELL
351
333
UNION
1060
977
VERMILION
392
330
WABASH
131
123
WARREN
382
328
WASHINGTON
672
695
WAYNE
1035
977
WHITE
547
497
WHITESIDE
390
393
WILL
168
153
WILLIAMSON
1060
1048
WINNEBAGO
217
161
WOODFORD
417
404
TOTAL
54452
51365

Comments

I see some good thing in these statistics (or at least I try to find them).  First, the Late winterless and CWD totals were 65% of what they were last year.  While I’d like to see that at 0% of last year, it’s a good start.  Unless you are absolutely loaded with deer or had absolutely no luck during the gun season, I don’t see a reason why you want to shoot a doe this late.

The percentages say that more bucks were shot.  Since we are concentrating on rebuilding the herd, the more does that make it, the better.  This really helps. 

The weather was pretty much ideal for the first gun season this year (when most deer are shot) and we had just a slightly better harvest this year.  Maybe the state will have to come up with another excuse since weather was the reason for the low harvest last year.  I know the second season weather wasn’t to great but it couldn’t get much better than opening day this year.

It seems like bow hunters may have had some voluntary restraint since the bow harvest was down.  I have a feeling most bow hunters want to grow the herd while a bit more gun hunters aren’t in tune with deer numbers and just shoot whatever they have tags for.

I’m curious what the IDNR’s statement is going to be for the low numbers this year.

Posted by Bigb on January 22

2013 ... 75,714 bucks were killed (50.9%)
2013 ... 72,900 does were killed (49.1%)
Using 2014 #‘s 145,804 at 53%/47% buck/doe
2014 .. ~77,276 bucks were killed (53%)
2014 .. ~68,528 does were killed (47%)
+ 1,562 more bucks were killed this year vs last
- 4,372 less does were killed this year vs last
Of the -4,372 does taken
- 2,039 less does taken in this bow season vs last
~2,800 less does were taken during this years LWS/CWD season. Caused by the drop of 20 counties from the LWS
This leads us to believe that the regular firearm season, did NOT account for any drop in does killed.

Posted by Lynn on January 22

What’s all the doom and gloom about???  There were 145,000 deer killed in Illinois this year!  The harvest is only slightly down from the 148,000 killed last year!  Cheer up deer hunters, geesh!  Here is a reason why the majority of Illinois deer hunting articles of late are doom and gloom.  This slight reduction we see from 2013 is ANOTHER statistic to show how low the whitetail population is in Illinois.  We aren’t comparing to a good year in 2013 folks, in fact, its the worst year in the last 2 1/2 decades!  The slight decline cements the 2014 season as the worst harvest rate in what, 23 or 24 years?  The Illinois public was sold a bag of lies by the DNR and the deer reduction task force.  The agreement was a 14% reduction statewide and without studying the numbers too close, we have AT LEAST doubled that reduction, if not tripled it in most areas of the state.  Its time for the new folks in charge at the DNR to fix this and its EASY.  Put one rule in place: 2 deer limit for all resident hunters all seasons, and a 1 deer limit for non-residents, PERIOD.  For those of you that want to whine because you cant continue to shoot 3, 4, 5, 6, 7….. deer, I don’t want to hear it.  Your time will come.  If our populations rebounds, a new set of people in charge will eventually remove the limits and the killing can resume.  Until then, just make the damn changes.

Posted by CCHUNTER2024600 on January 22

BigB, the drop in the LWS is good, but that’s mainly due to the 20 counties that were removed from it this year.  Only problem is… a few counties just made up that difference in the regular firearm season.  Working from memory… Adams County was up in their firearm harvest this year.  They will only NET about 30 fewer deer in total because they simply killed those does from the LWS… in the regular firearm season.
****
Good info from Lynn… proves what we suspected from the day the IDNR released their big changes last year.  The permit “reductions” meant nothing.  They cut permits that were never sold.  They pretty much kept selling the same number of firearm permits… just reduced the number of days… and moved those kills into another season.  Then they kept the entire archery season as unlimited.  Good thing some people showed some restraint.

Posted by Kevin C on January 22

im with cchunter, just make the changes

Posted by cuttnstrut on January 23

I’m not a biologist or anything but I think deer numbers are down

Posted by Andy Meador on January 23

Kevin, I completely agree.  I was just trying to find some positives since we seem to have a lot of negativity lately towards deer hunting.  I’m just trying to make the glass 1/100 full rather than the 99/100 empty like the IDNR has turned our deer her into.

Posted by Bigb on January 23

Just talked to a non-resident acquaintance who called to inquire about a mutual friend. In the conversation I asked him if he had hunted Illinois last year. He stated that Illinois over the past half-decade has fallen off the places he’d prefer to hunt for trophy whitetails. He eluded to two problems: “too many non-resident hunters” and the “dwindling antler quality.” Mind you…this guy was a NR himself and recognized the problem of too many fellow NRs. He mentioned that he had been to an Eastern Deer Classic and that Illinois outfitters where still bragging up Illinois, claiming quality and quantity. He stated that Illinois’ permit system allows for too many shyster outfitters who would blatantly lie about their operations. If the Rauner/Rosenthal IDNR administration does not step up to the plate, quickly, and change Illinois’ deer herd for the better, the revenue this resource used to bring in will completely dry up along with resident hunters and their money. And it’s tough to start a new generation of deer hunters when they have so many other activities in their lives. Mr. Ruaner, Mr. Rosenthal…it’s now or never!

Posted by loveofthehunt on January 24

Here’s a couple changes I’d like to see:
If you’re not going to reduce the 2 buck limit - at LEAST restrict the harvest of bucks to one prior to gun season.
Eliminate ALL LWS’s - period.
Eliminate the split deer seasons.  Make it from the Sat BEFORE Thanksgiving to the Sunday AFTER.  A week sooner for the northern counties - Suggest splitting the state into two deer zones at about Springfield.
One Doe - period - YOu have too many deer?  Get some nuisance permits as needed to control your population or invite others to come hunt your properties.

Those would be my first changes made.

Posted by RiverRat on January 26

BB, ideal weather?  South of Rock Island, we experienced 20-40 mph winds on Friday.  Friends driving across from LaSalle to Rock Island on I-80 experienced everything from light rain/sleet to torrential downpours and buffeting winds that had people pulling over. 
Saturday, it was raining from at least 4 AM to past Noon.  No torrential downpours, but steady and a miserable day.
But, yes, Sunday was a decent day, but not much moving after 7:30 A.

Jeff, when I started hunting my present location, in 1992, there were numerous large groups that did drives.  I’d see the drivers heading into the field at 5:30-6:00; the standers were already in place.  They got the deer moving way early. Not only were the standers and drivers shooting, but they also got deer moving past the likes of me, in a tree. 
By 1997, we started losing the big groups of drivers.  Now, we have one that numbers less than a half dozen, as opposed to 6 or more groups with 10 or more in each.  Aging and access are the reasons I keep hearing for the diminishing numbers of drivers.
I noticed that as the number of groups dwindled so did the shooting, especially the morning barrage and the evening volley.   

Posted by riverrat47 on November 23

If the Rauner/Rosenthal IDNR administration does not step up to the plate, quickly, and change Illinois’ deer herd for the better, the revenue this resource used to bring in will completely dry up along with resident hunters and their money.

Loveofthehunt and all others,  Rauner and Rosenthal have already shown that they don’t care about the deer herd but signing off on using a crossbow for the entire archery season..I guarantee in the next couple of years you will see the archery kill #‘s go up and regular bow hunts get pushed out or just quit because woods will be full of gunbow arrow shooter…At some point there could be a revenue drop ? ...my 2$ and My opinion….   

Posted by Mazakbill on November 23

I saw quite a few deer on Friday.  Lots of bucks still exhibiting chasing behavior.  No monsters, actually the only decent buck was a 120inch 8pt.  I even saw a button buck giving chase to a doe.  The cold front came through my area about 30 minutes past shooting light Saturday morning.  It seemed to completely shutdown the deer for Saturday and Sunday.  I Only saw a 3-5 very small deer on Saturday and Sunday.  Sitting in the stand when that front came thru was pretty cool.  I have never seen so many leaves fall from the trees; visibility was maybe 40 yards.  Looking forward to 2nd season; I won’t be as picky.  I’ve been out of burger for about 2 months; need to restock.

Posted by buckbull on November 24

Forgot to mention, I heard more shots from duck hunters than I did deer hunters.  A first for me.

Posted by buckbull on November 24

While I still don’t think deer numbers are where they use to be…they are definitely getting much better. I think the decline of harvest numbers isn’t because of lack of deer, but because folks are finally showing some restraint. The days of the meat hunters are behind us. Everyone I talk to shows patience and doesn’t shoot the 1.5yr old bucks. I think the times are a changing, and in a couple years it will start to show.

Posted by FULLDRAW on November 25

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