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December 2016

Heartland Outdoors

Archery deer harvest below 2015

Mon, November 28, 2016

Through Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016, Illinois archery deer hunters harvested a preliminary total of 46,920 deer, compared to 47,970 for the same period in 2015.

Harvest to date has consisted of 43% does and 57% males (20105: 26815).  Top five counties were Pike (1786), Fulton (1304), Jefferson (1093), Adams (1087), and JoDaviess (893).  A table of county results is attached.



There are many aspects to the lower deer numbers and really probably too many for me to speak on. One thing I can tell you is I have hunted from the mid 70’s and it is plain as the nose on my face that the deer herd population came up after that as it was a true lottery system to get a permit. You were not guaranteed a permit back then as it was more about the deer than the money!

Now they will sell you as many permits as they can to a absolute dwindling deer herd. Sure there are places that have more deer than others, but around the central Illinois area those would mostly be areas that cannot be hunted, parks etc.

Heck just 10 years ago you could loose count of how many deer you saw during a hunting season, but this year I could count them on both hands!
That is NOT an lie folks and I hunted 3 different properties in three different communities.

The state will tell you that the harvested animals were just under where we were last year but they can’t tell you that the total deer saw this year by me was comparable to the amount I would see in one day years ago.

My buddy called the DNR to complain of the management of our deer and voice his concerns. He was told that the weather blah, blah, blah.

He explained he keeps a very thorough journal of all of his years of hunting and would share this information. He was told to contact his representative.

This what it has become, and I do not see it ever getting better. So just plan on spending more time in the woods each year to get your 2 year old deer until there is a time there are almost none to be seen like it was in the 60’s my friends.


Posted by kirkv on November 29

I know of 2 farms that havent allowed hunting for 2years and are seeing a MAJOR improvement in their deer herd…Instead of hunting they decided to do some land management and skip on the deermeat in the freezer…Seeing the drastic turn around on these farms is worth not hunting for acouple years.

Posted by WhitetailFreak on November 29

If all parties involved would use factual numbers in their decisions, then thier would be an explainable number that would/could keep most people happy.  Instead, the taxpayer elected officials are in bed with the insurance companies, and farm bureau.  This leaves the actual taxpayers with to little of influence in the process.
There is a lot of money spent every year in Illinois small towns because of whitetail deer, but not as much as used to be.

Posted by RBBH on November 29

” There is a lot of money spent every year in Illinois small towns because of whitetail deer, but not as much as used to be.”

Not near the money that was spent by quail & rabbit hunters when we had good populations for those two species to hunt. Every weekend from November till the first weekend in January in almost every small town there were pickups, and cars with dog boxes and filled with hunters. Most could be found at the local restaurant’s for breakfast and lunch, and many of the small town stores sold plenty of guns, ammo, clothing, and many more things to boot. This had a far bigger impact upon the local communities than we could ever imagine, and what’s sad is nobody was keeping track of the actual dollars at that time, so we may never have any real idea how much was ever lost. I bet more than what is created over just two weekends!!

Posted by Ringtailtrapper on November 29

RTT on top of that you throw in the call in system for checking in your deer the small towns have turned into ghost towns during gun seasons.  The state lets all of the out of staters come into hunt with the outfitters and they just stay in their lodging.  There used to be a line backed up for miles with people checking in their deer at the check stations that was being staffed with college kids.  It was great walking and checking out all the deer that were harvested.  What that did was bring people into town to eat buy gas and support the local economy.  Most of this was all from local hunters also.  It all comes down to politics and money.  I was over in Pike the first gun season hunting for the first time in 10 years.  Wow a completely different weekend from what it used to sound like over there.  On top of that I was surrounded by out of staters from Michigan, Pennsylvania, and New York all in pursuit of the"BIG ONE”.  Within a 3500 acre area i heard 3 shots.  Two of the hunters were hunting our fence line on a 75yd wide stretch of timber that ran a couple thousand yards.  I would hate to see what they paid to sit in that.  I still can’t believe hunters want to come to illinois to deer hunt!

Posted by muzzyman on November 30

Illinois is still on top and it is not even close:


Posted by Gobble Gobble on November 30

GobbleGobble, the stats are for the years 2000 - 2016 on your link and it has gone to shit in the last 7 years.

Posted by kirkv on November 30

I would find it hard to believe we beat Wisconsin who has 10 times the deer population we have!  Illinois still has big deer just few and far between not behind every tree like they say we do.

Posted by muzzyman on November 30

I saw more bucks during my one week archery hunt that I have seen in the past 5 plus years hunting the farm I’m at.  I think one day (maybe Nov 10th) we saw 22 different bucks between the two of us.  Never have some close to that before.  We passed on deer we would have shot 3 years ago Funny thing is we only saw a handful of does during that week hunt and most were hot.  Then when gun season came around the does were everywhere with no bucks to be seen.  I think once the seeking phase was over they came out of the thick stuff knowing they wouldn’t be harassed by bucks.

Posted by Bigb on December 01

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