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Buck stories everywhere

Sat, October 23, 2010

You can’t walk out of the house right now without hearing a story about a big buck.

Whether just a sighting, a close encounter or an actual kill, bowhunters are seeing plenty of rutting action in the timber right now.

Typical of the stories being told is this one by Brian Davis of Elmwood.

He was in the stand for 20 minutes on Thursday. It was the first time he had hunted that stand this year so he was making a fair amount of noise getting set up and clearing vines etc. At about 4:20 p.m., he spotted a buck “thrashing a tree” nearby. After tearing up the tree, the buck kept coming closer, eventually stopping close enough for a good shot.

Similar stories are being told all over the area. Cell phone pictures are flying. The time to sit in front of a computer has long since passed. It’s time to hunt. And it will be interesting to see how harvest totals increase. At present, bowhunters are at 16,301.

All that said, rain forecast for much of the state today (and falling right now) will put a damper on deer harvest. But we need the rain—particularly those of us who have duck hunting areas in need of some water!



After a ridiculously slow start this season, I saw a few last night just before last shooting light.  I took one out for BBQ sticks at Pottstown.  You’re right about the rain this morning, Jeff.  Just as my son and I got into our stands the winds picked up and the rain started.  It was miserable.

Posted by Treehugger on October 23

The pre-rut will really get going this coming thursday. I haven’t seen much for rubs or scrapes, and all the bucks I’ve seen near Peoria have small necks.

The question I have is…. last year everyone was saying that deer populations were down and their aren’t any deer and the DNR was messing up the herd, bla bla bla…...... and now this year its complete opposite! My oh my how the early corn harvest really changes the picture!

Posted by SpikeBuck on October 23

I agree, SPIKE.  Though it has been a very slow start for me, I have many more trail cam pics/vids than I did last year (my cameras are almost all set up i the timber, not field edges).  The vids are still almost all in the middle of the night, but they’re getting closer and closer to shooting hours as the days and weeks pass.  I do think we have a few more deer this year than last though, simply because they had more hiding places last year and more chasing went on in the corn than usual.  All that being said, I do wish that we had a few more deer in Illinois.  I think too many tags are being issued to both residents and non-residents alike.  I like the two-buck limit, I just think we need to take it easy on the baby makers.  Sure, some properties are overrun with does, but I think we could handle that with nuisance permits…old school.  Too many antlerless permits allow the “if it’s brown it’s down” crowd to overkill…not to mention how many button bucks they take out of the woods.  I remember years ago when we had to take our gun deer to Jubilee State Park to get them checked in and you’d see a line of 50+ trucks loaded with deer.  While waiting, I’d walk the line just to check out the deer and I’d see so many button bucks and 1.5 year old bucks, all the while listening to the hunters complain about the lack of good bucks in our area.  The answer seemed so obvious yet I don’t think the got it.  I haven’t been a trophy hunter all that long, but when I did decide to only shoot mature bucks (3.5 and older is my goal), my property changed for the better fairly quickly.  It doesn’t mean there’s a trophy behind every tree now, but I certainly have more of them showing up on trail camera videos.  They’re still just as difficult to find and shoot, but my chances have increased.  I can’t wait to see what the next couple of weeks brings my way.  Maybe I’ll get skunked, but maybe not.  Man, I love bowhunting.  Good luck to all in the next couple weeks!

Posted by Treehugger on October 24

Well, for what it’s worth, my taxidermy studio is FULL of big necked monsters! The smallest buck I have taken in this season is a 152” typical 8 pointer! This is definately earlier than last year. Having said that, I didn’t see anything in the timber yesterday…at all! If last year’s crop harvest wasn’t so late, I don’t think we would have seen such a good start this year. Illinois is still low on deer quantity in many regions of the state, so it definately helped out. I was glad they had a place to hide in the corn or we would have had a pathetic year! In fact, it’s not over yet, so we’ll see.

I did find some massive rubs and scrapes this weekend though, so now I’ll be watching those. Haven’t found any turkeys yet but I still have a week to do so. Bring on the colder weather!

Posted by Marc Anthony on October 24

When you get right down to it, the weather is probably a bigger manager of the Illinois deer herd than the DNR. Late crop harvests one year mean more survial for the following year as it affects both bow and firearm. Same way with the firearm harvest, but to a lesser degree since there are two firearm weekends. Some years the weather conditions really put a downer on the firearm harvest numbers for one of the two weekends (but seldom does the weather hit bad on both weekends). If you ever had the “Perfect Storm” of late corn harvest and bad weather on both firearm weekends, the following year would be the dream season, regardless of DNR permit issue. Last year was late corn harvest + two decent weather firearm seasons = .333 batting average. Still good enough for the major leagues.

Posted by The Colonel on October 25

Colonel, I agree that weather is a major factor across the board, but it is the DNR’s job to manage the herd…correctly.  Other than the weather, it is ultimately our (hunters) job to manage the herd.  I’d love to see fewer antlerless tags issued, but the large number of tags issued wouldn’t affect a thing if we wouldn’t buy them or use them.  As I’ve said before, ultimately it is up to us hunters.  Only we can determine how many deer get taken.

Posted by Treehugger on October 25

For 2 days in a row this past weekend I had a group of does and a decent 8pt pass me by while I was in my stand at about 5:30 am. With the full moon (or nearly full moon) it’s easy to tell deer apart at this time, but definitely too early to shoot. All were within 15 to 25 yds. Talk about frustrating to just sit there and watch these dark masses walk on by!  Trail cams positioned down the trail confirmed that he would have been a definite shooter if he would have waited 30 more minutes or so. . .

Posted by Walston on October 25

Agreed Treehugger, with it is ultimately the hunters that control the shots. I would go so far as to say it is ultimately the hunters who contral what the DNR does, IF we are willing to step up and take them on when we do not like their direction. I believe that this year will be an example of that with a prediction that deer permit sales will be down by a pretty decent number. A lot of hunters who bought a fist full of tags at $15 per tag in past years, will be voteing with their wallet this year and not buying as many. Even the high demand counties of Pike, Adams, Brown, and Calhoun have full season either sex permits available as of today. The biggest demand drop though is in the doe tags statewide. Over 32,000 doe tags remain unsold as of this morning. That fee increase will affect a lot of things….......... total firearm harvest, doe/buck kill ratios. donations to food pantries etc.

Posted by The Colonel on October 25

You know, every year I’d buy 8 tags (4 sets) and shoot 5-6 deer.  I had no problem at all eating a couple tags.  This year I have four tags…2 landowner and two purchased…well actually 6 tags if you include my two landowner gun tags.  Either way, I purchased two fewer tags this year.  My reason for not purchasing any extra tags is because we all found out that our tag money doesn’t go where it was said to go.  If they would put my tag money into more habitat and public hunting areas for non-landowners, I’d buy extras without a problem as I have for decades, but not anymore.  If I gave my kid money for school text books and found out that she spent it buying a new purse (or a saddle in her case) I wouldn’t give her that money anymore.  I’ll start giving extra money as soon as the DNR shows some responsibility again.  In the mean time, I’ll decide how many deer should be killed on my property.  If I have a low head count next year, that’s my fault and I’ll pay the price.  I like it that way.  I like being responsible for myself and my actions.  It’s rewarding when I see some positive changes on my ground and it’s due to my actions.

Posted by Treehugger on October 25

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