Great Outdoors: Big weekend for hunters in Illinois

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More than 200,000 hunters will take to Illinois’ woods and fields for the first firearm deer season Friday through Sunday.

With the latest possible firearm season, the rut will be less of a factor. Weather looks to moderate significantly on Saturday and Sunday. Remaining firearm permits are available over-the-counter through Dec. 7.

So far, bowhunters remain ahead of the harvest rate for last season. Through Sunday, bowhunters reported 44,003 deer, compared to 43,670 at the same point last season.

I would love opening-day updates by Friday evening at @BowmanOutside on Twitter, Dale Bowman on Facebook or straycasts@sbcglobal.net.

◆ Last day to apply for the Late Winter Deer Special Hunt Area lottery is Monday.

BUCK OF THE WEEK

Chicagoan Tom Warren went pink with an arrow in his quiver in memory of his mother, who passed in the past year, and for a friend diagnosed with lymphoma. He proceeded to arrow his biggest buck (green-scored at 173 1⁄8) on Nov. 8 in Brown County, then on Friday arrowed his largest eight-pointer (138).

“I truly feel that I was blessed from up above,’’ he emailed.

Submit nominations on Facebook (Dale Bowman), on Twitter (@BowmanOutside) or by email (straycasts@sbcglobal.net).

WATERFOWL: A push of ducks came with the weather. Site superintendent Mark Meents said hunters averaged 65 ducks a day Wednesday through Sunday at Braidwood Lake. From Friday through Sunday at Heidecke Lake, 84 hunters took 137 ducks (28 mallards). On Sunday, 20 hunters took two mallards and 17 other ducks at William W. Powers State Recreation Area.

Ice-up is making access iffy. At Heidecke, site superintendent Joe Giacone said the east side was iced up; but the shack will be manned Wednesday morning. At William Powers, as of Tuesday, the northeast boat ramps and Clear Lake were froze and the double boat ramp was open but the south side is iced.

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