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Heartland Outdoors cover November 2017


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Heartland Outdoors

Gun kill down from 2015

Wed, November 23, 2016

SPRINGFIELD, IL—Hunters in Illinois harvested a preliminary total of 54,452 deer during the first weekend of the Illinois Firearm Deer Season on Nov. 18-20.  Hunters took 57,870 deer during the first firearm weekend in 2015.

Illinois’ seven-day Firearm Deer Season will conclude on Dec. 1-4. 

Other deer hunting opportunities in the weeks ahead include:

Muzzleloader-Only Deer Season on Dec. 9-11;

Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (first segment) in select counties only on Dec. 29, 2016-Jan. 1, 2017;
Late-Winter Antlerless-Only and CWD Deer Seasons (second segment) in select counties only on Jan. 13-15, 2017;
Archery Deer Season continues through Jan. 15, 2017 (archery is closed Dec. 1-4 in counties open for Firearm Deer Season)

Reminder:  A new rule allows hunters with a valid Illinois firearm deer permit to use archery equipment during firearm season on private land only; archery permits are not valid during the firearm season, except in those counties closed to firearm deer hunting.

For details on deer hunting, open counties, and other information, check the IDNR website at https://www.dnr.illinois.gov/hunting/Pages/DeerHunting.aspx

A table of preliminary Illinois firearm deer harvest totals by county for the first weekend of the 2016 season, and comparable totals for 2015, is below:



so what is it standing corn, weather, moon phase, coyotes, lack of deer.  not surprised that Calhoun and Pike are down based on the shots I heard.  Actually heard more shots by duck hunters than deer hunters friday morning.

Posted by buckbull on November 23

It’s none of above. It’s greed and the power of the power of politics. There’s not another state in the nation that has as much private hunting territory and we still can’t look good on paper. I was amazed at the low number of shots. I keep forgetting that I still reside in a supposed hot spot. I can’t imagine what the counties removed from the LWS are going through. Once again…..welcome to Illinois. Same ole same ole.

Posted by bwadd on November 23

Two days of 25+ mph winds, with gusts exceeding 45, in northwestern Illinois.  Drivers were killing some, but said the deer were really spooked and running full bore when bumped.  Sitters, like me, didn’t see much.

Posted by riverrat47 on November 23

Wind was a killer first 2 days. Got a brute on Sunday. I am happy. Took 10 years to get one. I am amazed at the number of people who shoot small bucks. If it’s smaller than 8 pts, please let them walk! If you want meat, take a doe.

Posted by MLBowhunter on November 23

I was talking to the guy who farms my hunting ground.  He said they had been moving like crazy, thru Thursday morning.  When the wind picked up Thursday afternoon, they went to ground and didn’t start moving again till Sunday afternoon…which is exactly what I observed.

Posted by riverrat47 on November 23

I have to agree with RIVERRAT47. The wind was probably the biggest factor in my lack of success.  I know of others that didn’t see any deer the first two days. Very few shots heard in my area.

Posted by Eagle Phil on November 24

We are talking about an animal that its whole life depends upon its ability to smell, and hear what my endanger it, so no surprise with the wind blowing like it was, that they mostly went to bed. I will say Sunday was the best day, and plenty of deer were harvested that day, and seemed they moved during the whole day. They could have been just as tired of being bedded down, as we were of having them bedded.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on November 24

70s and wind first day: walked crp and drainage ditches saw 3 killed mature buck.

40s and wind second day: saw 6 heard 10 shots

Cold and calm third day: saw 15 deer. Niece missed big and killed 2 yr old. Finished day pushing weed patch killed doe.

Just a normal gun season, weather always a factor. Just have to adapt to the inconvenience.

Posted by chrismaring on November 24

I read where the archery harvest is down 27% as of Nov.15th. Don’t even attempt to explain this. The writing has been on the wall for years.

Posted by RussJames on November 24

The data (that archery is down 27%) that came from the Belleville News Democrat article (and ironically shared by IDNR on Facebok) was wrong. They used the IDNR inquiry system, which only compares current 2016 harvest to the total for 2015. You can’t get comparative data for the same time period. BND ran with incorrect data and published it. I’ve heard a lot of people quote that number since IDNR shared that story, but it’s wrong.

I would expect we’re now close to last year’s total at this time, or down slightly, by looking at the last archery data release from IDNR.

And I wouldn’t call this a “normal” gun season. Maybe a “new normal.” When you only compare current year to the one previous year (which has also been crappy year after year) you lose sight of how much we’re REALLY down.

Posted by Kevin C on November 24

First season totals the past several years… according to IDNR press releases at the time…

2008 - 71,894
2009 - 66,126
2010 - 68,037
2011 - 66,501
2012 - 72,111
2013 - 55,708
2014 - 51,830
2015 - 57,698
2016 - 54,452

Posted by Kevin C on November 24

It’s only half time fella’s, so hold on and see how it all plays out in the end. We could see great weather during the second season, and totals shoot up the ladder, so a wait and see approach I feel is needed for now. I have seen a ton of deer killed on the roads the two weeks leading up to this gun season, and many in the counties were they cancelled the LW season.

I wonder if IDOT keeps track of the numbers of road kill deer they remove from the roadways each year ?? Not just keeping track of those that are reported via accident reports, because we all know a large portion of them are never reported. I know this first hand from the experience my wife had involved in a deer/ car incident, and because all we had on the car was liability insurance the trooper said there was no reason for an accident report, because he knew it was not going to be turned into any insurance company. I’m sure there was a report made, but it involved the other car that was almost a total loss, and because of that vehicle getting reported the deer/vehicle incident was reported accordingly, and no need for a report from my wife. So just how many are not reported to the police, but show up dead on the road through out the year ?? is this something IDOT could report to IDNR ?? I would think so, and this could give a bigger overview of what is happening with the deer herd during times of the year when there is not a lot of data coming into the IDNR. Why should we have to wait till the kill season to determine the overall health of our deer population each year ?? We have to start thinking smarter people, and use the tools already in front of us, this is not rocket science.


Posted by Ringtailtrapper on November 25

Ever hear a deer hunter say there is too many deer?  Lol.

Hunter participation is dwindling which forces lower harvest numbers.

The Illinois deer herd is in great health and the herd numbers are bracketed by highs and lows. 

The quality of deer in Illinois is second to none:

Posted by Gobble Gobble on November 25

I’m not here to create controversy by any means but the herd where I live and hunt is better than its been in years. The increase in population and decrease in hunter success is due to large tracts of ground with limited hunting access. Hunters were complaining all weekend because of deer stockpiling into these areas.

In addition, dvas have to be on rise, I’ve seen 5 hit in last 3 weeks around my little town of 600 and I74 is littered with carcasses.

Posted by chrismaring on November 26

Chris, I frequently drive between Rock Island and Marseilles, on I-80, and have seen the same thing-more road kills than I’ve seen in at least 7-8 years. 
Am I seeing more when in the field than a decade ago?  No, but there are multiple reasons, but I’ll just cover two:
(Observations for gun season only, as I rarely archery hunt)
1)Getting longer in the tooth, I’m not in a tree stand for twelve hours.  Plus, not being as agile, I now stay on the ground, limiting my visibility.
2) As I’m aging, so are the other hunters.  When I started hunting this area, 20+ yrs. ago, there were at least four groups of drivers, one that numbered in the high teens, sometimes more.  They kept the deer moving during shotgun season.  Three of the groups are gone and the big group is down to single digits.  It’s not because of deer numbers, it’s because of aging-the drivers have aged, youngins leaving the farm…and not returning (guess the fire went out…and also with Dad when his kids left) and lost access due to leasing.  Like them or not, the drivers kept the deer moving.  When I heard a certain diesel truck go down the road, I became more alert, because I knew there would be deer passing my stand within the hour.

Posted by riverrat47 on November 27

I hunt Macon Co so we never hear the number of shots like in deer warzone counties like Pike, Adams, etc. But this is the FIRST YEAR that we went the entire 3 days without hearing a single shot around us. I know there are at least 6-8 other hunters within earshot, and most of them wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a doe or small buck. It was eerily quiet. That’s OK by me.  I saw a few does and trail camera pics showed all the resident deer were back on the property by Monday.  Weird.

Posted by Walston on November 28

RTT, are you trying to say there’s MORE not being reported now than in the past… and that the deer herd is much larger than we think because of so many unreported DVA’s?  I would argue that there have always been unreported DVA’s… so the trendline through the years really wouldn’t look much different.  The law states requires you to fill out a report if damage is over $1500 or if someone is hurt.  I’d rather that be the “official” data record.  If IDOT picks up a dead deer… how are they supposed to know if there’s already an accident report covering it?  We’d end up with double reports… and an “exploding” deer population because of all the “new” reports.
As far as the data itself… there’s no excuse for a lack of data.  I just checked with IDOT yesterday, and they said it would most likely be early 2017 before they would finalize the 2015 data and release it.  DVA’s are a good indicator of population trends… but a terrible management tool when the data is always 2 years old before you get it… and then you wait another 2 years before you believe what it tells you!

Posted by Kevin C on November 29

” deer warzone counties like Pike, Adams, etc”.  Funniest thing I’ve read in quite a while.  Them warzone days are over.

Posted by buckbull on November 29

Maybe a small exaggeration grin

Posted by Walston on November 29

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