By Jim Moran
SPRINGFIELD – The overall deer harvest for this year’s firearm season was slightly less than last, according to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.
IDNR spokeswoman Rachael Torbert says there could have been a number of issues contributing to the numbers being down. She said later farm harvests, the weather, and the timing of the firearms season all could have been factors.
“But I don’t think our numbers are strikingly off,” Torbert said.
According to a release from the IDNR, the preliminary total for this year’s firearm deer season was 75,349. The seven-day season ended on Sunday, Dec. 8. Last year’s total was 80,957.
Josh Phillips of Dupo, Illinois, started hunting deer 23 years ago, when he was 11 years old. For the past six years, he’s gone to downstate Randolph County for deer season. He says the hunters in his camp had fewer deer this year than last, but overall it looked like other hunters did well. The IDNR says Randolph County saw the largest number of deer harvested this year, compared to other counties across the state. For both firearms seasons this year, a total of 2,253 deer were harvested in Randolph County.
Phillips said there may have been another factor for his group, coyotes.
“They weren’t helping us any, that is for sure,” he said.
There are still several remaining deer hunting seasons left for this winter. The Muzzleloader Only season is this weekend, starting Friday, Dec. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 15.
The Late-Winter Antlerless-Only Deer Season and CWD Deer Season runs Dec. 26 though Dec. 29, then again from Jan. 17 through Jan. 19. According to the DNR, the Late-Winter season is designed to provide additional hunting in counties with surplus deer.
A Chicago area radio news veteran, Jim Moran covers statewide issues for The Center Square. Previously, he has worked as a news reporter/anchor and traffic reporter for numerous radio stations across Illinois and the St. Louis metro area.