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Illinois hunters take 147K deer in 2017 season

By Benjamin Yount 
Illinois News Network

Illinois deer hunters had a better year in 2017, as compared to the year before.

The Illinois Department of Natural Resources released its final report on deer hunting for 2017 and early 2018 on Monday.

In all, hunters bagged 147,535 deer. That’s about three thousand more deer than in 2016.

DNR spokesman Ed Cross said it may sound basic, but the weather helped drive those numbers higher.

“Animals move in weather and conditions as they are. Hunters tend to be a bit more sensitive to it,” Cross explained. “When you have better weather, you have more people out. That’s what we saw during the second firearm season.”

Western Illinois saw the best numbers, with Pike, Fulton, and Adams counties as three of the state’s four most productive counties for hunters. Randolph County is southern Illinois was the third busiest.

Cross says the harvest numbers show just how good the hunting ground in Illinois really is.

“Illinois has always been a go-to place for deer hunters,” Cross said. “Here in the Midwest, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska, we all have fantastic numbers. And we produce a lot of big deer, that generates a lot of interest from deer hunters from across the country to come here.”

Illinois has nearly a half-dozen different deer hunting seasons, but Cross said that traditional firearm season in late November is the most popular. Hunters bagged 80,021 deer, or 55 percent of the state’s total, during the two weekends of firearm hunting season. 

Illinois’ archery season is also proving popular. Hunters took 57,937 deer during the archery season that ran from Oct. 1, 2017, to Jan. 14.

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