On Outdoors: Deer kill down, gun season resumes
By Jim Hagerty
Although first-day deer registrations were similar to those recorded last year on opening day of the first firearm season, statewide totals were significantly off the mark.
According to Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) officials, hunters killed 66,126 deer, 5,768 fewer than last year’s total. Wildlife experts also say the next leg of the season should be more promising and are attributing the lack of success to wet weather that caused a late fall corn harvest. For the last five years, Illinois hunters have killed an average of 78,404 deer during the first three days of the gun season.
“Standing corn was a significant factor affecting hunter success for the first weekend of firearm deer hunting this year,” IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Shelton said.
Shelton said only 60 percent of corn had been harvested statewide by the first weekend. Traditionally, approximately 98 percent is harvested by deer season. The lag provided a considerable amount of cover, making hunting a bit slow. Mild temperatures are also said to have hampered the hunt.
Despite the slight slump, several hunters bagged trophy bucks. David Kolecke of Chicago took a 16-point buck near Stockton (named “Buck of the Week” by the Chicago Sun-Times), while Al Rush of Rockford filled his tag opening day (Friday, Nov. 20) by downing a 180-pound eight-pointer.
Illinois hunters return to the woods tomorrow (Dec. 3) to mark the second portion of the seven-day firearm season, which concludes Sunday, Dec. 6, at sundown. The Illinois muzzleloader-only deer season runs Dec. 11-13 while the late-winter antlerless (in select counties) hunt is open Dec. 31, 2009, to Jan. 3, 2010. Illinois hunters will also get the opportunity to take deer in select counties Jan. 15-17, 2010, to control the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD).
Archery season (closed during firearm hunt) concludes Jan. 17, 2010.
More information about deer registration and hunting licenses may be obtained by visiting the IDNR at dnr.state.il.us or calling the agency at (217) 782-6302.
Outdoors news and photos can be sent directly to Jim Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org. Glossies and hard-copy press kits can be mailed or delivered to The Rock River Times’ office at 128 N. Church St., Rockford, IL 61101. Jim can be reached at (815) 964-9767.
From the December 2-8, 2009 issue
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