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Non-Typical Hunter

A sluggish beginning

Tue, November 05, 2013

“Where’s all of the deer?” That’s all I hear these days. It’s starting to sound like a broken record.

I’m not sure how to answer that question. Of course, we all know the whitetail population is way done from several years ago, but how much? I’m not sure we’ll ever have that answer. One thing I know for sure; Illinois isn’t the same whitetail “Mega” state it used to be. You can argue this, or argue that, but at the end of the day you know something has to be done.

I’ve spoken with several taxidermist lately and they’re all saying the same thing: “little action”. In all fairness, I can remember a few years like the current year where all of the heads came in at once and the numbers added up. What bothers me personally is the fact that October was especially slow for many. I’ve hunted nearly every day in October and only came across 2 bucks worth shooting. Are we imagining things here or does this state need fixing?

My purpose of this post isn’t to start a fiasco or to point blame because I’ve learned from the past, it doesn’t get us anywhere. My point is to gather information from individuals from different parts of the state to compare notes. I know some parts of the state are doing well and others just flat out stink. So let’s take a survey!

Post below about the quality of your hunting area and type next to it “Stinks” or “Good”. I don’t want to know your county!  Keep that to yourself!

Regarding EHD, yep, it’s everywhere I hunted this year. 2 years back-to-back surely didn’t help. I think it’s time for some adjustments, what do you think?


Stinks-  Mature deer numbers are low.  Large bucks are not as plentiful on cams and most certainly haven’t been seeing them.  The upside is…seeing lots of young deer this year…twins, triplets, etc.  The potential is there for the population to bounce back but that takes restraint. smile

Posted by buckz-n-duckz on November 05

To late for survey. This state needs fixing. Good luck with that.

Posted by RussJames on November 05

Had good numbers up till September, then it went dead does and bucks, it has picked up this last week but no where like in the past. Not very good.

Posted by BIGPOND on November 05

I hunt areas with low deer density to begin with. Seein about the same as every year.

Posted by selfinflicted on November 05

East Central Illinois terrible outing.  Alfalfa fields that used to have 20-30 deer an evening in them now hold nothing of 2-4 deer.  Disheartening, disappointed and in hope of the DNR cutting back permits and doing away with the LATE SEASON.

Posted by whitetailkrazy on November 05

Stinks so far. Hoping the rut is just late, but it doesn’t look good this year. I’ve seen a lot of does without fawns and a lot of fawns without mothers.

Posted by phelpsy80 on November 05

Hunting Central Illinois. Absolutely horrible. Have seen no good bucks and very few small bucks . Doe"s scarce. Not a good situation. I agree, the DNR needs to quit listining to all the insurance company"s whine about clams and protect the herd. LESS permits and LESS Seasons. And yes hunters need to limit there harvest for awhile. Hunters need quit the contest on who can kill the most deer….

Posted by retired blue on November 05

Worse than last year I fear. between myself, son , brother and nephew no shooter bucks and very few mature does have been seen, Still seeing plenty of young deer but nothing else. On neihboring farms I have heard of 11 dead deer foung while harvesting crops with still most of corn to be picked. Action needs to be taken to allow the herds to make a come-back.

Posted by river51 on November 05

3 of us hunted Jefferson co Nov 1-4 and It was the worst trip ever. nothing moving . Cams show does mostly at night and Where are the Bucks. I usually have a bunch of shooters.  zippo!!!!

Posted by Buck-Man on November 05

seen more deer than last year at this point thats not saying much seen lots of does with no fawns and only two little bucks everybody keeps saying the state has to limit the permits doesn’t matter how many they sell you don’t have to buy any we just need to pass up the does for a couple of years and the numbers will bounce back

Posted by herman on November 05

Still a lot of standing corn, when it gets shelled I think you will start seeing more deer.

Posted by Schuylerboy on November 06

Stinks - Timber Only
Been out pretty much every Thursday, Friday and Saturday since opening day. All mature deer disappeared in late September. I found 16 deer dead (EHD) in the later part of September, most mature deer with one fawn. This past Sunday was the first outing that I saw two very good quality does, but so far, only small young bucks. We need a fix, too many permits; too many hunters (mainly shotgun season) with the motto if it’s brown its down. I spend hours in the woods and pass, pass, pass and pass to hopefully get the opportunity for a mature doe or bucks, don’t see that opportunity coming this year but I’ll still be in the woods..

Posted by Hunter66 on November 06

I live and sell farm equipment in western Illinois and I have talked to many farmers that are finding alot of dead deer.  One found over 25 dead deer on his farm that has a small river going through it.  Deer numbers are down overall after 2 years of summer dieoff. Sad

Posted by jdgreen on November 06

Until we can organize and present our findings in a more systematic way than anecdotes or comments spread out over Illinois, we’ll struggle to convince the DNR that they need to be more organized or structured in their approach to managing deer (or any resource for that matter).

Posted by shooter49 on November 06

Not seeing much of a change here. However, we hunt Macon County primarily, which has had historically relatively low deer densities to begin with. Seeing only 2-3 deer in 1 hunt was still considered good even 5-10 years ago. We’re still seeing an upward trend in deer sightings on our property, but no 150+ bucks at all (if that matters). Sounds like many of the issues are coming from areas that have had greater deer densities. So much is beyond our control. Best of luck to everyone.

Posted by Walston on November 06

Hunting along the Illinois river north of Henry. Only seen deer twice: Once, on the second day of season, saw 3 young ones, then end of October a young buck slipped past me. I think the corn is still up, hoping it gets brought in soon. The hunter success is down quite a bit from previous years. No less pressure though.

Posted by walksinthewoods on November 06

Stinks. Cameras show very little. On stand very little action. I am in a traditionally very good area. The prospects are not good.

Posted by Mallardmike on November 06

Not quite as bad as last year where I’m at west cental il but stinks compared to 5 years ago. I can tell you they are in the corn big time saw that for myself monday night. Still no good bucks on trail cams and doe and fawn sightings are way down.

Posted by cuttnstrut on November 06

Marc, I keep hearing that places that experienced high numbers of EHD related deaths are not reporting so many deaths this year. Doesn’t it make sense that with fewer numbers of deer, there will be a lower impact the following year? I think the solution at this point is to get manufacturers and companies with big dollars that we all support (Cabela’s, Bass Pro, ect) to lobby.  No one hunts pheasant around here anymore because there are none.  The same will happen when the deer are gone.  We as hunters don’t seem to be able to get the DNR to listen, so we need people with money and power who will suffer financially to speak and lobby for us. Money talks…after all it’s insurance companies and the farm bureau who helped increase permits to the level they are…and the greed of Illinois.  We need to use the power of money (or the loss thereof) to fight back.

Posted by full draw on November 06

Im going to say ‘Good’  definatley not great but doesnt stink either.
Are there as many deer where I hunt as there were in the years of 1995-2007, hell no, but I still think we are ok on numbers and im still seeing some deer on most every outting. I dont think that I will ever see deer numbers or experience hunting like that again in my lifetime.
Im hunting a few farms around 500-600 acres and had around 5 dead deer on them from EHD that I know of, none found or smelled on ours yet this year but locally seen a maybe 6 or 7 dead from EHD.
It would be pretty easy for me to sit on here and blame the state for selling to many permits and allowing to many seasons. But no matter how many seasons and permits are sold, doesnt mean they are all filled nor does it mean we all hunt each season… And yes I think they are way to many hunters out there today and outfitters and leasers and trail cameras make nothing a secret anymore, blah blah blah. But I also think that more people are selective today than what it was years ago. More people were shooting any deer they seen back in the 80’s/90’s than they are now….Yet those were they days we all refer to as the glory days where a big bucks were everywhere. More trophy hunters around now that arent shooting deer so how is that killing more deer??? And if we are killing to many deer then why are so many still dying? Im sure that if we didnt kill as many deer in the past couple seasons that EHD would have killed many many more, so what part of that is ours or the states fault?
Lots of finger pointing.
Hunt however you want to hunt and harvest what you want to harvest as long as its legal. Most around here are strictly managing but even the ‘if its brown its down’ hunters I know are not killing any more deer per acre than mother nature is.
I dont know how to make the hunting like it was back in the day but Id say with all the changes and advancements the hunting industry has had in the past 20 years, it may never be the same again.
However, I think that if I had not hunted 20 years ago, I might think hunting today is fantastic.
Sorry for the lenghty post Marc, first time posting this season after reading alot of stuff. smile
Good luck to all this season and treat every outdoor experience as a blessing, deer or no deer.

Posted by Brownhunter on November 06


Posted by Trap365 on November 06

EHD affects every hunter, not just head hunters.  I worry more about the “brown it’s down” crowd than I do headhunters.  Much more.

Posted by Treehugger on November 07

I don’t hunt October, only been out 3 times and had deer twice which is good for my two, small, overhunted spots. Four does first night(one I missed) and nice lil’ 6 pointer this morning. Very encouraged so far, we’ll see how it goes.

Right on brother

Posted by mohican on November 07

Fair.  After finding 11 dead deer on 60 acres last year I wasn’t expecting much this year.  Just got done hunting for 7 straight days (missed Wed morning due to rain).  Most hunts prior to the cold front last thursday produced 3 to 6 deer, all small immature does and spikes.  Thursday morning was pretty amazing (cold front moved thru that night). Had about 20 sightings of deer.  I say sightings because I’m sure I saw some more than once.  Bucks were really giving the does hell that morning.  Finally shot a doe at 10:30am that morning, out of meat from last years dismal year.  One thing is for sure, out of an entire solid week of hunting in a county with the most deer per square mile in the state, I did not see a single deer older than 1.5.  Where are the mature deer???

Posted by buckbull on November 10

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