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Guest Blog

Deer hunters helped Rauner win

Fri, November 14, 2014

By DON HIGGINS

As I sat in my stand in the pre-dawn darkness on Nov. 5, waiting for the sun to rise on another day in the whitetail woods, I felt the familiar vibration of my cell phone. Getting a text message from another deer hunter in the early morning hours is not uncommon but this time it was still dark. I knew the message must be urgent.

I retrieved my phone under a couple of layers of clothes to find that my good friend Kirk Kvitle of Quincy had sent me a very special message indeed; “Got a new governor!!!! Yahoo!!” When I had gone to bed the night before Governor Quinn was leading the race over Bruce Rauner and I figured it was Illinois politics as usual.

WRONG! This election has the potential to be a very positive game-changer on a lot of fronts, including Illinois deer hunting.

As I mentioned in an article earlier this year, Gov. Quinn had a real opportunity to appease a state full of angry deer hunters by implementing some much needed regulation changes before the hunting season started and before the election that would decide his fate. For whatever reason, he and his administration ignored Illinois deer hunters and they continue to lead our deer herd down a path to ruins. It is a mistake that surely cost him votes.

While it would be impossible to say just how many votes were cast on the issue of Illinois pathetic deer management, make no mistake, the typical Illinois deer hunter did not cast a vote for Quinn in the election.

I have been involved at various levels with the political side of managing the Illinois deer herd for nearly 20 years. I have gotten my hopes up in the past when we had a changing of the guard at IDNR. In fact I attended two meetings with current Director Marc Miller in the first weeks of his tenure. The first left me very hopeful while the second left me concerned. In the end I was highly disappointed.

I have a feeling this time is different because Rauner is different. When a candidate has those in his own political party trying to undermine his attempts to get elected even after winning the primary, you know he is not your typical politician. He represents the kind of real change that some politicians from both parties don’t want to see.

I truly hope governor-elect Rauner is the real-deal. Time will tell.  I am honestly tired of writing negative articles regarding the management of Illinois deer herd. I want so badly to write something positive and give IDNR a well-deserved pat on the back; the key words here are “well-deserved”. When that praise is finally earned I will be there to give it. It has been a long time coming and a lot of Illinois deer hunters long ago gave up hope of ever seeing the kind of change that is needed.

I sincerely hope that governor-elect Rauner and his new IDNR director, whoever that may be, realizes the tremendous opportunity that lies before them in regards to the Illinois deer herd. With some bold regulation changes during his first year in office, Illinois hunters could realistically be hunting the best managed whitetail deer herd on the planet in four years when Rauner seeks reelection. Illinois has some great whitetail habitat growing on some of the earth’s richest soils along with some great whitetail genetics. All that is lacking for Illinois to be the envy of the entire deer hunting world is some wise management policies and regulation changes. It really is that simple.

Governor-elect Rauner promised to “shake up Springfield”. If that includes the whitetail management staff working at IDNR, then Mr. Rauner can count on an army of deer hunters supporting him at the ballot box again four years from now. I trust him to get the job done and will be anxiously waiting for the opportunity to write my first positive article regarding the management of Illinois deer herd.

If you are not yet a member of the Illinois Whitetail Alliance, you can sign up for free membership on their website – www.ilwhitetailalliance.com. Some of the leaders of IWA met with governor-elect Rauner while he was on the campaign trail last summer. I expect IWA will have an opportunity to voice their concerns and desires with the new IDNR leadership at some point in the future.  By becoming a member of IWA you have the opportunity to voice your concerns and give clout to the organization working to improve the Illinois deer herd for everyone.

Comments

With a 170,000 vote difference in the election totals, one could indeed credit deer hunters for getting rid of Quinn and Miller. There is many good, well-qualified people in the IDNR today, but none of them are near the top. I hope Rauner cleans house like he’s promised. And it’s true, in four short years we could be back to better times in the whitetail woods.

Posted by loveofthehunt on November 14

I voted for Rauner and I hope that I can say my vote helped to better Illinois and our deer herd!

Posted by Gohunt88 on November 14

Missouri Announces possible deer hunting changes for 2015

MO. DNR will hold Public meetings throughout the state in the summer of 2015.

Items being discussed: Moving their gun season back one wk out of peak rut to the same wkend as Illinois.

Eliminating Late antlerless seasons

Going to a One buck limit

This on top of state wide antler point restrictions already in place.

Quote: “Biologists will consider feedback from public meetings held over the summer to draft poccsible changes by next year”.

Something that IL. Biologists Shelton and Buhnerkempe have NEVER done-

 

Posted by walmsley on November 14

tim, has illinois made any regulations that would result in less deer being killed in the last 15 years?

Posted by clintharvey on November 14

No doubt deer hunters did their part in our state elections.  But I think Obama’s miserable existence in the White House had as much to do with it as anything else.

No question it had a massive effect on elections around the rest of the country….given the unbelievable amount of seats gained by the GOP in the Senate.

Posted by bw on November 15

You know the tide has turned when I write an article that appears on Heartland Outdoors and 48 hours later nobody has insulted me. Yep, Illinois deer hunters are ready for a change!

Posted by Don Higgins on November 15

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