On Outdoors: Deer harvest falls short

By Jim Hagerty

Staff Writer

As feared by some, the Illinois firearm deer hunting season harvest total fell short of the 100,000 mark for the first time in a decade. According to Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) officials, hunters killed 99,419 deer.

In some areas, hunters came home from both legs of the seven-day season empty- handed. On others, camps produced good numbers as this year’s totals only ended up 6,176 from the 105,595 deer taken in the 2008 gun season.

“Harvest during the second season was nearly identical to last year,” said IDNR Forest Wildlife Program Manager Paul Sheldon. “We did experience a slow start during the first firearm season.”

The slow start was blamed largely on wet weather, resulting in a late corn harvest. Sheldon said there is still opportunity for successful hunting during the muzzleloader-only, expanded archery and late-winter firearm season.

Asian carp report

Thursday, Dec. 3, a single Asian carp was discovered in a canal leading into Lake Michigan near Chicago. The fish, an immature 22-inch specimen, was found beyond an electric barrier near where other fish were killed in an operation in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. The measure was meant to help reduce the number of harmful fish in the Great Lakes.

Asian carp (bighead and silver), although fun to catch, are harmful to the ecosystem as they rob the waters of plankton and other essential organisms. The fish is marked by low-set eyes and small scales. Asian carp can grow to about 4 feet in length. Fish and game officials are urging anglers to help eliminate the fish by killing them and eating them. The fish is considered a delicacy.

Questions about where to locate Asian carp and how to help control their population can be answered by calling the IDNR at (309) 968-7531. More information is also available at www.iiseagrant.org/asiancarp.

Outdoors news and photos can be sent directly to Jim Hagerty at jim.hagerty@rockrivertimes.com. 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 Dec. 16-22, 2009 issue

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