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Heartland Outdoors

Bow season starts strong

Tue, October 05, 2010

The reports are the same from bowhunters all over Illinois: Cold weather has had deer moving.

And while we have not yet seen a glut of monster bucks reported, bowhunters are enjoying some success in the timber.

Archers shot 5,304 deer over the first three days of the Illinois bow season according to Paul Shelton. That’s better than the past five starts, which went as follows: 4,186 in 2009, 3,577 in 2008, 2,158 in 2007, 3,323 in 2006 and 4,245 in 2005.

“That’s amazing given that there are (no deer) out there any more,” Shelton joked, in obvious reference to heated online discussions about perceived declines in deer numbers.

Shelton also noted that comparing the totals is not easy, since most of those other years did not include a weekend opener. But he said conditions have been close to ideal for bowhunters.

“It’s been perfect hunting weather. It’s been beautiful. What more can you ask for? You’ve got nice temperatures, a large amount of crops out and a heck of an acorn crop this year,” he said.

So far hunters have shot 72.3 percent does.

Despite the fast start, Shelton isn’t predicting an overall record harvest.

“I say that for a number of factors. One is the deer herd hasn’t been growing,” Shelton said. “I was giving a talk the other day and said I know the popular perception out there is that Illinois’ deer herd is growing uncontrollably. That’s just not the case.

“In that case, it was a central Illinois county and the peak of population there was probably five or six years ago.”

“That’s been the goal. In a lot of places we haven’t been seeing growth and that’s a good thing.”

Youth shotgun hunters take to the timber this Saturday and Sunday for the youth hunt. Permits are available over the counter.


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