Illinois Deer Harvest

kuff

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Peoria IL, (AP)
Illinois deer hunters took a respectable  harvest during the first weekend of gun season despite uncooperative weather.
The state Department of Natural Resources said hunters took 62,432 deer during the Nov. 16-18 shotgun season.That's down about 15 percent from the 73,359 killed during the first weekend of gun season last year.
IDNR Forest Wildlife Program manager Paul Shelton said unseasonably warm temperatures, and in some places, heavy fogworked against hunters.
"However, we got mixed reports from hunters on the amount of deer movement they were observing," he said. "Despite the lower harvest, the quality of deer brought into the check stations was impressive."
The most deer were taken in Pike County, where 2,250 were killed. The first weekend of gun season saw 15 counties each account for more than 1,000 deer.
Besides venison, the season produced tales for hunters to tell for years to come. Dustin Birkel of Bartonville was hunting with friends along the Mississippi River when the group shot a doe that leapt into the water. Birkel stripped naked and jumped in after the deer, grabbing its leg and dragging it back to the bank.
The second gun season for deer is Nov 29 - Dec 2.
 

spectr17

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Kuff, did you do any good in Illinois? We were right across the river from Pike County in Missouri. DIdn't see any whoppers, just a few decent bucks, too hot also.

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Tim Renken,  St. Louis Post Dispatch  Outdoors

Fog shrouds first three days of firearms deer hunt

11/29/2001

Is fog a handicap in deer hunting?

It seemed to be at least a minor one in the first segment of the Illinois firearms deer hunt.

Hunters bagged 62,432 deer Nov. 16-18. The total was 15 percent less than the kill for the first three days last year. Some hunters blamed the warm weather for their problems, citing the fact that deer tend to move around less in summertime temperatures.

But a bigger problem was fog that shrouded river bottoms the mornings of all three days. It was so dense in some places that hunters had trouble reaching their hunting areas in time for the critical first hour.

Otherwise, it was a good hunt with 15 counties reporting harvests of more than 1,000 for the opening weekend. Pike County, as usual, was tops with 2,250. Calhoun County had 913, Madison 904, St. Clair 871 and Jersey 685. Paul Shelton, deer biologist for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, said that the quality of the deer brought in was excellent.

The final four days of the firearms hunt begins Thursday and runs through Sunday. It is possible, with some 270,000 people hunting, that 100,000 deer will be bagged from the state's large and growing deer herd before the last of several hunts ends next month.

A number of people have asked why hunters can't use high-powered rifles for deer hunting in Illinois.

The rationale for the rule is that in the state's predominately flat terrain, rifle bullets can carry so far as to be a threat beyond the target. A rifle bullet often will go through a deer and still carry enough energy to cause severe injury or death.

Shotgun slugs carry only a short way beyond hunting ranges - typically 50 yards or less. And the blunt, large-diameter slugs usually don't pass through a deer. Still another reason for the rule is that in many parts of the state, deer habitat is limited. In some of these areas, hunter densities are quite high.

Though some hunters complain, most Illinois hunters have adapted to the rule. That's obvious from the fact that 90,000-100,000 deer are bagged by firearms each fall.

Many hunters use special slug shotguns with telescopic sights. Some have opted for muzzleloaders, the best of which are much more accurate than smoothbore shotguns at ranges out to 100 yards.
 

kuff

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Sorry it took me so long to reply - been away from the pc for a while.
I took a nice doe on the last day of first season. Passed up  several others and a few basket racks. Saw a couple monster bucks but never within my comfortable range so I didn't shoot. I did see one of them again opening morning of second season but again he was out of range. Also had 4 does and a fork pass by close early. Went to a different area of the timber the same afternoon and climbed up. It was closer to where I had seen the big buck earlier. A bit thicker there so I thought maybe he would be moving back thru towards dark. Well, about 3 o'clock I saw a deer walking the edge of the wheat field which was about 50 yards from where I was. It was pretty thick along the edge so I couldn't really tell what it was. As it passed a small opening I couldn't see a rack so I thought it was a doe. It continued along the edge of the field across from me and I kept watching behind it hoping the "big one" might be following. It ended up turning into the timber on a trail that passes right by my tree. It walked straight at me and at about 25 yards I could finally see two spikes about 10" long on top of its head. I had decided at that point to let it pass. As it got to about 10 steps from the base of my tree it stopped and layed down for a rest. I could see now it also had a nub off the right spike. As it was facing right at me I tried not to move so I wouldn't spook it and anything else that might be in the area that I couldn't see. Well, after an hour I couldn't feel my legs from being in a uncomfortable position and it was just about time to be thinking about getting down. He stood up a few minutes later and I fired. With a slug thru both lungs dropped about 20 yards away. My season is over.
This was not really the type of deer I was looking for since all I had left was a buck tag, but after watching him for an hour I thought about what he might be like next year. He was a 1 1/2 year old with a big full body but not a real well developed rack compared to other deer his age in the area. I made the decision to sacrifice my last tag for the good of the herd. Hopefully it was a decision I won't regret. Getting his genes out of there could only help. We have been real pleased with the bucks in our area that we have seen and look forward to seeing them again next year, hopefully in a bit closer. I still have an archery bow tag left so maybe I can take something else. Not sure if I can grind up horns and get my kids to eat them anyway!
In all the 4 of us in the timber took 6 deer during both seasons. Mine was the only buck. 2 of us also took 3 more so far during bow season. No shortage of deer out there that's for sure. The landowner would like more out of there so at least there would be some corn left at harvest time to pick!
Didn't mean to talk your ear off- If you're still reading this, Thanks
 

jayber

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Congrats on your deer harvest Kuff!  I wasn't able to hunt second season (wife's B-day in there), but it sounded like the deer were moving more.....at least where we hunt.  My dad took a 1.5 year old button buck thurs. morning, thought it was a big doe until he walked up on it, and a 10-pointer saturday morning.  Haven't seen it yet, but he says he's going to mount it.  Will share the pics when I get some.  Good luck the rest of your bow season.....I'll be out there right along with ya!
 

kuff

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Thanks Jayber-
Temp is in the 60's here again today. I thought this was supposed to be December! Haven't even had my brit out for pheasant yet this year with the weather the way it is.
What county were you guys in?
I hope to get out again this weekend!
 

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